Education, news

Campana Named 2020-21 NINA President

Dan Campana, a communications professional and a longtime newspaper reporter and editor, has been named 2020-21 president of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association.

Campana is the senior manager for communications with the Emergency Nurses Association. He spent nearly a decade in suburban Chicago newsrooms at the Daily Chronicle, Kane County Chronicle and The Aurora Beacon-News primarily covering crime, courts, local government and everything else community newspapers typically cover

In 2010, he set out on his own as a freelance writer and communications consultant. In the last decade he has written for numerous magazines, local publications and clients. He joined ENA in 2017 as its member magazine’s assistant editor and, in 2018, moved into his current role overseeing internal and external communications, including media relations.

Campana said at today’s (Friday, Dec. 4, 2020) board meeting that NINA’s 2021 efforts will focus on a theme of community journalism as a way to better support NINA members and the communities they serve every day.

“I grew up in journalism at community newspapers in DeKalb, Geneva and Aurora,” he said. “Some 20 years later, and long since I left daily newspaper life, I haven’t lost sight of the continued importance of local journalists and publications. That’s why I remained a member of NINA and am proud to lead it in 2021.”

Look for a column from Campana in an upcoming blog post.

Campana follows Margarita Mendoza, who wrapped up her year as NINA president. Among the highlights of the year were the July 23 webinar on Defending Journalism and the Oct. 29 virtual awards banquet with guest speaker Matt Dietrich of the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Mendoza remains a NINA board officer as immediate past president.

Other officers this year are 1st Vice President Patricia Szpekowski, a freelance journalist; 2nd Vice President John Lampinen, editor of the Daily Herald; Treasurer Jim Slonoff, publisher of the Hinsdalean; Executive Secretary Jason Akst of the NIU Department of Communication; and Communications Coordinator Shelley Hendricks, the Northern Star student newspaper adviser at NIU.

Scroll down for a full list of board members.

Board of Directors



Dan Campana

  • Contact:
  • Term expires 2020

1st Vice President

Patricia Szpekowski

  • PR Strategies & Communications
  • 847-468-0210 /
  • Term expires 2021

2nd Vice President

John Lampinen

  • Daily Herald
  • Term expires 2022


Jim Slonoff

  • The Hinsdalean
  • Contact: 630-323-4422 /
  • Term expires 2021

Past President

Margarita Mendoza

  • El Observador, 555 Colman Center Drive, Rockford, IL 61108
  • Contact: 815-399-4300;
  • Term expires 2021

Executive Secretary

Jason Akst

  • NIU Dept. of Communication
  • Contact:

Communications Coordinator

Shelley Hendricks

  • Adviser, Northern Star, NIU
  • Contact: 815-753-4239 /

NINA Board members

Dennis Anderson

  • Shaw Media
  • Contact:
  • Term expires 2022

Tammie Sloup

Joe Biesk

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Contact:
  • Term expires 2023

Jay Dickerson

  • The Galena Gazette, Galena
  • 815-777-0019 /
  • Term expires 2021

John Etheredge

  • Kendall County Record Newspapers
  • Contact: 630-385-4409 /
  • Term expires 2023

James Fuller

  • Daily Herald, Arlington Heights
  • Contact: 847-608-2726 /
  • Term expires 2021

Phil Jurik

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Term expires 2023

Cristi Kempf

  • PCMA executive editor
  • Term expires 2021

Rick Nagel

  • Formerly of Kane County Connects and The Beacon-News
  • Term expires 2022

Tom Parisi

  • Northern Illinois University Division of Marketing and Communications
  • (815) 753-3635 /
  • Term expires 2022

Roger Ruthhart

  • The Dispatch / The Rock Island Argus
  • (309) 736-3517 /
  • Term expires 2022

Penny Wiegert

  • The Observer, Rockford Diocese
  • (815) 399-4300 /
  • Term expires 2023


2021 NINA Committee Chairs

Contest Committee

  • Chair: Jay Dickerson

Education Committee

  • Chair: John Etheredge

Membership Committee

  • Chair: Jim Fuller

Outreach Committee

  • Chair: Pat Szpekowski

Training Committee

  • Chair: Tom Parisi

NINA Board Terms

Bylaws: No fewer than 15, each to serve 3-year terms

Class of 2023 (6)

  • Penny Wiegert
  • John Etheredge
  • Dan  Campana
  • Joe Biesk
  • Tammie Sloup
  • Phil Jurik

Class of 2022 (5)

  • Roger Ruthhart
  • Tom Parisi
  • Margarita Mendoza
  • John Lampinen
  • Dennis Anderson

Class of 2021 (5)

  • Jim Slonoff
  • Jay Dickerson
  • Pat Szpekowski
  • Rick Nagel
  • Jim Fuller
  • Cristi Kempf

Jason Akst and Shelley Hendricks are appointed to their positions and do not serve terms.