New Blood! Meet NINA’s 2018 Officers (PLUS: Why YOU Should Be a Board Member)


Some new faces will help lead the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association this year.

I’m proud to take the reins from past President Jay Dickerson and help lead NINA during 2018. The first and second vice president slots will be filled by Jim Fuller and Margarita Mendoza, respectively. These terms are for one year.

Here’s a little background on our new officers:

Jim Fuller, 1st VP

“Fuller And The Bean” (Blame Nagel for the caption.)

Fuller earned his first byline as an undergrad working for the Daily Egyptian student newspaper while getting his journalism degree at SIU Carbondale. From there he spent half a year in the former Washington Semester in Politics and Journalism program.

While in Washington, D.C., he worked for what was then Donrey Media. The flagship paper served by the D.C. bureau was the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Fuller came home to get his master’s degree from UIS in the Public Affairs Reporting program, and during that effort he interned for the Chicago Sun-Times.

He finished his degree and started work at the Daily Herald in 2001, and is now a senior writer focusing on government, politics and news features.

Mendoza, 2nd VP

The Observer

Mendoza, Margarita-2016

Mendoza is the editor of El Observador, the newspaper in Spanish from the Diocese of Rockford.

She’s also director of the Latino Film Festival Elgin, founded Colombia Hoy, a public relations company that publishes positive news through Panamericano Hoy, and is an author in the book  “Today’s Inspired Latinas.”

Tammie Sloup, President

Tammie Sloup headshotAs for me, I earned my journalism degree from Eastern Illinois University in 1999, and started as a beat reporter at Star Newspapers in Tinley Park before moving on to a reporter position at The Times in Ottawa in 2002.

In 2008 I was promoted to news editor and in 2015 moved into the managing editor role after longtime editor and former NINA board member Lonny Cain retired.

Other Members of Our Motley Crew (Nagel’s Subhead)

NINA’s other officers include Treasurer Jim Slonoff of The Hinsdalean, Past President/At-Large Member Jay Dickerson of The Galena Gazette, Communications Coordinator Shelley Hendricks of the Northern Star and Executive Secretary Jason Akst of Northern Illinois University.

NINA NagelWhile our officers serve an essential role, the heart of NINA is with its committees, which have hit the ground running planning future training events and scholarship programs, among other tasks.

This year’s group includes Training Committee Chair Dickerson, Outreach Committee Chair Rick Nagel (parts unknown), Education Committee Chair John Etheredge of Kendall County Record Newspapers and Contest Committee Chair Roger Ruthhart of The Dispatch-Argus.

Join The Borg! … Um, Board! (Resistance Is Futile)

Last year, the board lost a couple longtime members, and we’re hoping to fill those voids soon with new members. That’s right, we’re looking at YOU!

bestofbothworldstwo414“But I don’t have time!” you say. We all lead busy lives. We’re all journalists, so we get it. But we’re not just another board! We have board members who are freelancers, reporters, editors, and educators. The networking alone is worth your time.

Here are some of the nuts and bolts of a board membership: While we meet at Northern Illinois University, you don’t need to be an alum. The board meets five times a year, plus the annual dinner/contest, and you can choose which committee suits your interests — Training, Outreach, Education or Contest.

Sometimes ad hoc committees are formed as a result of a specific NINA issue, but not often.

The requirements? A passion for journalism and a willingness to be active on the board. (We’re a very welcoming group, I promise).

So please, consider lending your voice and support to our mission of enhancing the integrity and credibility of journalism in Northern Illinois.

If you want more information on the board or are ready to step up, please email me at




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