NINA News, People

Former Daily Herald Editor John Lampinen Chosen To Lead Northern Illinois News Association

2023 promises to be a special year for the Northern Illinois News Association under the leadership of legendary Daily Herald Editor John Lampinen.

After announcing a name change from “newspaper” to “news” association in late 2022, NINA kicked off the new year by adopting a new vision statement and setting goals to broaden the organization’s reach and relevance.

“This is a year of recalibration for NINA,” Lampinen said. “In 2023, we want to focus on what that means. Journalism is re-imagining itself in exciting ways but it also is under siege in various ways that threaten the health of democracy. As an organization, how can we promote good journalism in northern Illinois and what can we do to help strengthen the practice of that journalism and the credibility that is essential to its impact?”

This isn’t Lampinen’s first news-organization rodeo. 

Recently retired as editor of the Daily Herald Media Group and senior vice president of its parent company Paddock Publications, he has served as a past president of the Illinois Associated Press Managing Editors executive board and is a current member of that board.

He also holds or has held memberships in the American Society of News Editors, the Chicago Journalists Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Midwest Press Institute, and he has been an adjunct professor for the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Lampinen has been a member of the NINA Board since 2021.

A native of Waukegan and graduate of the University of Illinois, he devoted virtually his entire career to the Arlington Heights-based Daily Herald. He began there as a reporter and moved up the ranks at the news organization, where he was named executive editor in 1998 and editor in 2001, retiring at the end of 2021. He has won numerous honors, including the Chicago Headline Club’s Ethics in Journalism Award. 

In 2019, he was inducted into the prestigious Lincoln League of Journalists by the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors and last year, he was presented by the Illinois Press Association with its James C. Craven Freedom of the Press Award for his lifelong commitment to the principles of a free and open press.

In his role as editor of the Daily Herald, Lampinen led efforts to build on its mission of public service and to educate the public through the newspaper’s Facts Matter campaign. Under his leadership, the Daily Herald won numerous Public Service and Community Service awards and was a frequent recipient of NINA’s James S. Copley Award.

2023 NINA Officers

As NINA president, Lampinen succeeds Pat Szpekowski, an award-winning freelance writer and president of PR Strategies & Communications, Inc./PmS Advertising, Inc. in Elgin, IL, who led the organization during its 60th anniversary year.

Cristi Kempf has been selected as NINA’s first vice president. Kempf is a former associate managing editor with the Chicago Tribune who now leads her own communications company.

NINA’s second vice president is Jim Killam, a managing editor-training for Wycliffe Global Alliance and a longtime student publications adviser for Northern Illinois University.

Other NINA Board of Director officers include Treasurer Dan Campana, Executive Secretary Jason Akst and Communications Coordinator Shelley Hendricks.

NINA’s newly adopted vision statement is “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 welcomes new members!

To join the organization, please register online or contact communications coordinator Shelley Hendricks at 815-753-4239 or 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.