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Stadelman: Local journalism vital to communities of every size

newspapers 031020SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) is taking action to ensure that local journalism survives in Illinois’ small towns and mid-sized cities.

“As a former journalist and news anchor, I know how important it is to have access to truly local news,” Stadelman said. “People deserve to know what’s happening in their communities, regardless of where they live.”

Senate Bill 3457 would create the Local Journalism Task Force, which would be made up of 10 individuals representing print and broadcast media, journalism schools, and state and local government. They would be charged with conducting a study on communities underserved by local journalism and making recommendations on how to preserve and restore news coverage in these areas.

“Your address should not dictate the quality and type of information you have access to,” Stadelman said. “This measure is meant to start a conversation and provide new ideas to help address shrinking press coverage in local communities.”

Declines in advertising revenue and circulation have meant that nearly half of the newsroom jobs at newspapers that existed in 2004 have since disappeared—and more than 2,000 thousand papers around the country have closed over the past 15 years.

If passed, the task force would be required to submit the findings from its study to the governor’s office, as well as the General Assembly, no later than January 1, 2022.

Sen. Steve Stadelman

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34th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Financial Institutions; Higher Education; Public Health; Revenue; Telecommunications & InfoTechnology (Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Worked as a news anchor/reporter for WTVO-Channel 17 for 25 years, In 2003, his coverage of the state's death penalty earned him an Associated Press award for Best Documentary.

Associated Representatives:
John M. Cabello
Maurice A. West II