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Sen. Stadelman introduces bill aimed at keeping journalism profession thriving in Illinois

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A former Rockford TV news anchor has introduced a bill in Springfield that would help insure his former profession stays alive and thrives in small towns and mid-sized cities throughout Illinois.

State Senator Steve Stadelman’s measure would create a state-wide journalism task force . It would be made up of 10 members of print and broadcast media, journalism schools, and state and local government. The group would conduct a study on communities underserved by local journalism, and make recommendations on how to preserve and restore news coverage in these areas.

“Since 2004, more than 2000 newspapers across the country including this state have closed,” said Stadelman. “A lot of newsrooms have lost jobs. As a former journalist and news anchor, I know how important it is to have access to local news. People deserve to know what’s happening in their community regardless of where they live.”

If signed into law, the task force would be required to submit the findings from its study to the governor’s office and the General Assembly no later than Jan. 1, 2023.

“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 our communities.”

Senate Bill 134 passed the Senate Commerce Committee without opposition and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.

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