Foundation hires 3 reporters to cover state government for Capitol News Illinois news service

SPRINGFIELD - Capitol News Illinois, the Illinois Press Foundation's news service providing state government coverage to Illinois newspapers, has hired three full-time reporters for its launch Jan. 28.

Rebecca Anzel, Peter Hancock and Jerry Nowicki have been hired as reporters for Capitol News Service Illinois. Grant Morgan will work full-time this spring as an intern. IPF Director Jeff Rogers will serve as the Capitol News Illinois bureau chief.

Rebecca Anzel joined the Capitol News Illinois reporting team on Jan. 7. Anzel previously reported from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s Statehouse bureau, where she pitched, reported and wrote pieces on state government, covering legislative efforts, committee hearings, courts and lawmakers for Illinois’ legal community. She earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield, and is a graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism on Long Island, New York, where she focused on multimedia techniques.
Peter Hancock will join the Capitol News Illinois reporting team on Jan. 21. Hancock has covered Kansas state government for much of the past two decades. For the past 4 years, Hancock has been the statehouse reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World. He provided year-round daily coverage of the Kansas Statehouse, state government, appellate courts, elections and Kansas’ congressional delegation. He previously worked for 8 years as a statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, and with the Kansas Health Policy Authority and the Kansas Education Policy Report.
Jerry Nowicki joined the Illinois Press Foundation’s reporting team on Jan. 2. He is the former editor of the LeRoy Farmer City Press, which won the 2016 David B. Kramer Memorial Trophy for Illinois’ best small weekly newspaper. For the past 2 years, he served as a legislative aide to state Sen. Steve Landek. He grew up in Chicago’s southwest suburbs, has lived in five Illinois counties and now resides in Springfield. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Illinois State University and will obtain his master’s degree in communication from Purdue University in May 2019.
Grant Morgan began his internship with Capitol News Illinois on Jan. 7. He is an Ohio native and holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, political science, economics and English from The University of Akron. There, he worked for 4 years at his student newspaper, including a stint as editor-in-chief.

"I am excited about the news team we have hired, and we're eager to get to work," Rogers said. "There's a good mix of youth and experience, and they all share a passion for the Foundation's mission with the news service, which is to bolster a Statehouse press corps that has been significantly depleted over time."

The Capitol News Illinois news team will begin providing daily coverage of state government on Jan. 28, when the schedule for General Assembly sessions picks up in pace. Content (stories, photos, video and audio recordings, and newspaper graphics) will be made available on a Capitol News Illinois website, which the Foundation is working with a local third-party provider to develop. Member newspapers will be able to access content on the website with a username and password.

Capitol News Illinois plans to provide not only daily content, but also coverage of state government tailored for the 300-plus weekly newspapers that are IPA members. Coverage emphasis will be placed on legislative sessions, committee hearings, state agencies and the Supreme Court.

As the Capitol News Illinois team prepares for the official launch, reporters will work on stories about the General Assembly’s new lawmakers. Those stories will be emailed to each member newspaper in the lawmaker’s district over the next few days and weeks.

If you have any questions about Capitol News Illinois or coverage suggestions, email Jeff Rogers at

IPF News

IPF Board of Directors award scholarships

At its December board meeting, the Illinois Press Foundation Board of Directors awarded three $1,200 scholarships to University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting graduate students: Cassandra “Cassie” Buchman, Grant Morgan and Lindsey Salvatelli.

“In talking to all of these kids, they’re really passionate about journalism,” IPF Director Jeff Rogers said. “They all have passion. Having been in journalism for nearly 30 years, it’s refreshing to see.”

Buchman is a May 2018 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, holding a bachelor’s degree in journalism. As a freshman, she joined the staff of the Daily Eastern News as a reporter, and then rose through the ranks to become editor-in-chief.

She also served as an intern with the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights during the summer of 2016. In the spring of this year, the IPF sponsored Buchman to serve as a National Newspaper Association Foundation news fellow. She traveled to Washington, D.C., to report on issues of national importance.

As one of seven fellows from college newsrooms across the country, she had the opportunity to meet with policymakers and policy influencers during her time in the city. She also met with Illinois’ congressional representatives.

“All of these experiences showed me how vital journalism, especially at the local level, is to people,” Buchman wrote in her scholarship application. “People look to newspapers to shed light on what is happening, to answer the questions they have, and to make sure public officials are being held accountable for their decisions and actions.”

She continued, “Becoming a reliable, responsible reporter who is able to help readers better understand the world around them is my ultimate goal.”

Buchman will spend her PAR internship at the Capitol reporting for The State Journal-Register (Springfield) and GateHouse Media. She aspires to work at a daily newspaper upon graduation.

Morgan is a graduate of The University of Akron in Ohio, holding bachelors’ degrees in philosophy, political science, economics and English. Morgan served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Buchtelite.

During his tenure at the Buchtelite, Morgan served as a reporter, arts editor then news editor before being named editor-in-chief.  His dogged coverage of administration resulted in the resignation of the university’s president.

“It was a fulfillment unlike any I had known, to hold those accountable who would do their best to deceive us,” Morgan said in his scholarship application.  “Our work was recognized by major parts of the region, and even used in investigative pieces by the Akron Beacon Journal and the Devil Strip magazine.”

He also worked as a staff assistant to a member of Canadian provincial parliament while spending a summer at Oxford University, publishing his senior project there.

Grant will be spending his PAR internship with the IPF’s new statehouse reporting bureau, Capitol News Illinois. He will be covering legislative sessions and committee hearings, while also handling various enterprise projects.

Salvatelli is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, holding degrees in journalism and political science with an emphasis in international relations.

“I truly believe in the purpose of a free press and holding elected officials accountable for their actions, or sometimes inactions. I believe my work is much larger than myself; it’s what keeps citizens informed about the decisions being made for them,” Salvatelli wrote in her scholarship application.

While at NIU, Salvatelli worked as the news editor for the student newspaper, the Northern Star, and also interned with the Rockford Register Star.

Salvatelli will intern with the Illinois Times this spring.

The IPF Board annually awards scholarships to the PAR graduate students at its holiday board meeting in December. Last year, the Board voted to increase the scholarships from $1,000 to $1,200 each due to the rising cost of tuition.

“While the scholarships will be greatly appreciated by the recipients, they represent only a small part of the assistance our program has received from the state’s newspapers over the years,” said Charlie Wheeler, PAR director and IPF Board secretary. See photos from the holiday luncheon here.

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