A New Vision For The Northern Illinois News Association

Last year, the Northern Illinois News Association changed its name. Now, the 60-year-old journalism association has a new vision.

NINA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously on Jan. 19 to adopt the following vision statement:

“We aim to be the leading advocate in northern Illinois for reliable and factual local journalism – teaching what it is, celebrating its achievements, spreading its virtues and defending its role in society.”

NINA President John Lampinen, a recently-retired editor at the Daily Herald, said the new vision statement is a significant step because it clearly states what the organization stands for and where it aspires to go.

“Journalism is under threat today on various levels – diminished resources that have shrunken coverage, political attacks designed to undermine credibility, search engines that too often fail to distinguish between amateur and professional practitioners, the rise of infotainment and ideological coverage, analytics that reward media that inflames rather than explains, challenges to public access, an erosion of objectivity,” he said.

“Given the important role journalism plays in self-government, in society, this threat also is a threat to the health of our democracy and should concern us all.”

In October, NINA 2022 President Patricia Szpekowski announced that NINA had changed its name from the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association to the Northern Illinois News Association. Szpekowski said dropping the “paper” suffix not only acknowledges the changing times but underlines that the association’s commitment “is not to a particular medium but to the integrity of news in any form.”

The new vision statement works in harmony with the existing NINA mission statement “to advance the quality, integrity and credibility of journalism and journalism education in northern Illinois.”

Lampinen said it also signals a subtle change and stronger focus on championing “reliable and factual local journalism” and standing up to threats against democracy, accuracy and truth.

“NINA is not going to eradicate this threat,” Lampinen said. “But the questions we are asking ourselves as an organization is: What can we do to encourage and promote good journalism here in northern Illinois? And then, what can we do to advocate for it?”

NINA membership is open to any individual or organization that subscribes to the values of the new vision statement.

To join the organization, please register online or contact communications coordinator Shelley Hendricks at 815-753-4239 or shendricks@niu.edu. Annual membership is $25 for individuals, $75 for single, non-daily newspapers and online-only publications, $150 for daily and weekly-newspaper groups with circulation up to 20,000 and $250 for dailies and groups with circulation of more than 20,000.