The earliest indication that news departments would one day have their own organization in Illinois came in the form of News Clinics, the predecessor to today’s conventions. The Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) and the University of Illinois School of Journalism held the first News Clinic on Oct. 19, 1948, at the University of Illinois, with 51 attendees. There was no fee for attending News Clinics other than for meals. One of the coordinators was Don Brown, who later would become the first Executive Secretary of the INBA in 1955.
The format was very similar to later INBA convention formats, except limited to one day. For example, the schedule on Oct. 25, 1949, went from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with sessions on practical tips on local coverage, radio news research, editorials, news directors and the cash register and problems confronted by radio newsmen. All sessions were radio-oriented at that time. The Associated Press and United Press held their meetings at the end of the day.
The News Clinics expanded to one-and-a-half days by 1952 and were moved to the spring on Thursday evening and all day Friday. The agenda for 1952 included cultivating local news sources, writing readable copy, using the tape recorder for maximum interest, weather news and access to government news sources.
By the spring of 1954, the News Clinics moved to Friday/Saturday sessions concluding at noon on Saturday. Sessions now were designed for both radio and television newsmen and were still sponsored by the IBA and the University of Illinois. The cost for three meals and one night of university lodging was $8.
With the formation of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association on Jan. 22, 1955, the INBA became the News Clinic co-sponsor along with the university. There was no reference to IBA participation. The event was still known as a clinic and was held in the spring and fall. These would be the last News Clinics, all held at the university. The first reference to convention was the April 20-21, 1956, joint convention in Rock Island between the INBA and the Iowa Broadcast News Association (IBNA) and would be the beginning of the rotation of convention sites around the state.