Send us your vintage photos

We are looking for interesting photos of newspaper life from the past 50 years, for a presentation during NINA’s Fall Conference on Oct. 18. Does your publication have anything that would make a good addition?

If so, pick 1-3 of your best photos and email them, in JPG format, by Oct. 1 Oct. 5 (deadline extended), to Jim Killam, jimkillam(at)gmail(dot)com.


Fall Conference features watchdog, nostalgia, awards

NINA’s 50th anniversary celebration features lots of nostalgia, a respected government watchdog and our annual awards presentation – including a special journalism prize worth $1,000 to the winner.

The Fall Conference will be held Thursday evening, Oct. 18, at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center in DeKalb. The keynote speaker is Andy Shaw, longtime Chicago newspaper and TV news reporter and currently president and CEO of the Better Government Association.

“Andy Shaw has long been one of Chicago’s most prominent journalists — in television and print before that,” said Dirk Johnson, NINA executive secretary. “He now shines a bright light on the unsavory and shadowy in Illinois government. NINA is honored to welcome him in discussing the role of journalists in watching the foxes near the chicken coops.”

Shaw spent 37 years covering politics, business and education and general assignments for City News Bureau, the Chicago Sun-Times, NBC 5 and ABC 7. He was ABC 7’s political reporter, retiring after the Obama inauguration in 2009. He’s an Evanston native and an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The BGA “works for integrity, transparency, and accountability in government by exposing corruption and inefficiency; identifying and advocating effective public policy; and engaging and mobilizing the electorate to achieve authentic and responsible reform,” according to its mission statement. The association’s Investigative Unit tackles waste, fraud and corruption in local and state government, and publicizes the results through local media partnerships.

Special guests and a multimedia presentation will look back on NINA’s 50-year history, beginning with its founding in 1962 by Dr. Donald Grubb, founder of the NIU journalism department.

Judging is complete and we’ll award the annual winners in 23 categories for both daily and nondaily publications. Plus, we’ll announce the winner of the NINA Excellence in Journalism Award. This special contest rewards what our judges panel considers the best single work of journalism over the past year. The winner gets $1,000 in cash from NINA.

The dinner is being subsidized this year both by NINA and by the NIU Department of Communication. That means the evening’s cost, including dinner and program, is just $15 a person for NINA members and employees of member publications. Registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 5. Register HERE.


NINA 2012 Fall Conference

50th Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012
NIU Convocation Center
1525 W. Lincoln Highway
DeKalb, Illinois


6 p.m. Cash bar

7 p.m. Dinner

7:45 p.m. Keynote speaker Andy Shaw

8:15 p.m. Awards

Cost: $15 for NINA members and employees of member publications. $25 for nonmembers. Payable at the door. Please register by Friday, Oct. 5.

Parking is free in the NIU Convocation Center lot.

For more information, call 815-753-0707.

Editors and publishers: We can tell you in advance who from your staff won awards, but we can’t tell you what place they won.

NINA future: Your ideas wanted

2012 NINA President

As we draw closer to NINA’s Fall Conference and celebration of its 50th anniversary, work still is being done to keep NINA relevant for another 50 years.

You might recall that in this space earlier this year I announced that a task force was going to tackle an examination of our organization. Task force members include myself, Sauk Valley Media Executive Editor Larry Lough, Ottawa Times Managing Editor Lonny Cain, Suburban Life Publications Publisher Mark Colosimo, former Northern Star Adviser Jim Killam, The Observer Features Editor Sharon Boehlefeld, Kane County Chronicle Editor Kathy Gresey and Rock Island Argus Managing Editor Roger Ruthhart.

The goal: Determine what NINA is, what it wants to be and how its structure can better reflect the organization’s membership and mission. To this point, discussions have focused on the following areas:


The amount of money media organizations spend has been cut. The number of editors and reporters in newsrooms has been cut. With no money and fewer people, training has taken a backseat. We’re examining ways to develop meaningful training and make sure people receive that training. One possibility is to bring our training sessions to members. Another possibility is more webinars. What do you think?


It is becoming more difficult to for media organizations to find quality journalists coming out of college. That’s partly because it’s becoming more difficult for college newspapers buy personal narrative essay to find students interested in journalism. We’re examining ways to get more involved in journalism education at the high school level.


Socializing and making connections with peers in our industry also has taken a hit as newsroom budgets have decreased. Networking, however, can help spur the sharing of ideas, the recruiting of talent and the building of friendships. We’d like to bring networking back to our business.


As government continues its assault on the state’s revised Freedom of Information Act, it’s clear many public officials would rather do the public’s business without the public interfering. We’d like to take a larger role in advocacy of issues pertaining to journalism and serve as a watchdog.


Each year, it seems the same handful of member organizations are the only ones to enter NINA’s annual contest to recognize outstanding journalism. We are looking at ways to make the NINA contest relevant and increase participation.

The task force is scheduled to have an all-day meeting Sept. 28 to tackle these issues. It is our goal to have our work done – or nearly done – before the Fall Conference on Oct. 18. If you have any ideas that fall into five areas, please email them to me for consideration.

Jason Schaumburg is executive editor of Sun-Times Media’s Pioneer Press newspapers and websites. If you would like to weigh in on the future of NINA, email Jason at

Board minutes, 9-7-12

NINA Board minutes

10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, 2012

Northern Star Office, NIU-DeKalb

Present: (12) Larry Lough, Marc Colosimo, Jim Killam, Jim Slonoff, Sharon Boehlefeld, Kathy Gresey, Roger Ruthhart, Jason Schaumburg, Penny Wiegert, Jason Akst, Dirk Johnson, Wally Haas

Guests: Shelley Hendricks, Patrick Boylan

Absent (6): Randy Swikle, John Etheredge, John Puterbaugh, Lonny Cain, Jeff Wisser, Nick Swedberg

Three board seats are open.

Schaumburg called the meeting to order 10:05 a.m.

July 20 minutes were approved unanimously. (Wiegert motion / Ruthhart second)

Treasurer’s Report

Slonoff reported balances of $10,084.27 in checking and $5.94 in savings. The checking balance reflects expenses of $800 in scholarships to high school seniors and $1,000 in scholarships to NIU students; and revenue of $335 in dues and miscellaneous conference fees.

Executive Secretary’s Report

Johnson reported that plans are set for the Oct. 18 Fall Conference. Keynote speaker will be Andy Shaw, president of the Illinois Better Government Association. Annual awards will be announced, along with the winner of the NINA Excellence in Journalism Award. The 50th anniversary event will be held at the NIU Convocation Center, with dinner to precede the program. The event will cost $15 for NINA members and employees of member organizations, and $25 for others. This reflects the NIU Department of Communication’s offer to subsidize the cost in order to keep prices down.

President’s Report
Schaumburg said the task force retreat is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at the Northern Star. This involves eight board members and will focus on NINA’s mission and how the organization should be structured to meet that


Committee Reports

Program Committee

Lough reiterated Fall Conference plans for Oct. 18 at the Convocation Center.

The evening’s program is:

6-7 p.m. cash bar

7 p.m. dinner

7:45 program, with keynote speaker Andy Shaw

8:15 awards

Killam will put together a music/slide show for the evening, to mark NINA’s 50th anniversary.

Education Committee

No report

Membership Committee
No report

Resource Committee / Communication Coordinator

Killam will produce the fall newsletter and have it ready to be mailed and published online by late next week.

Old Business

The board discussed how to notify the winner of the Excellence in Journalism Award, which carries a $1,000 prize. At issue was whether to notify the winner in advance or to name finalists in advance and then announce the winner at the banquet. Ruthhart moved that the board notify the winner in advance and invite him/her to the dinner and to speak briefly about the winning work. Motion was approved 11-1.

After the banquet, Killam will send a press release to various trade publications about the contest and the winner.

New Business

Patrick Boylan, publisher of the Welles Park Bulldog in Chicago, asked NINA to write a letter to the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor regarding a Freedom of Information Act dispute between the Bulldog and the Chicago Public Schools. The dispute is over whether Local School Councils are public bodies and subject to Illinois’ open records law. The board’s consensus was to not write a letter because it would have no bearing on the Attorney General’s action, but to encourage the Bulldog to go ahead and file an opinion request with the Public Access Counselor, cc’d to NINA President Schaumburg. Boylan will keep in touch with Schaumburg as this process moves forward.

Boylan also suggested that NINA consider developing resources to improve objectivity and professionalism of online publications. He’s also talking with the Chicago Headline Club about this, and will keep NINA informed about progress.

Next meeting: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, prior to Fall Conference at Convo

Adjourn 11:10 a.m.