Thursday, August 5, 2010

Watchdogs flee Springfield

George Ryan, Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn and potentially Bill Brady. The Statehouse press corps has watched them all, but with each new governor fewer and fewer eyes make up the group of journalists in the Capitol who observe, investigate and report on Illinois government and the General Assembly.

Charlie Wheeler, former Statehouse reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and now the director of a Statehouse reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield, says the decline in the last 10 years is an extension of a gradual decline that’s taken place over the last several decades. Earlier bureau closings, however, were a result of newspapers going out of business entirely, he says. “That was not somebody deciding, we’re an ongoing operation, we just don’t care about Springfield anymore, which in the case of Rockford, that was their decision. And should Arlington Heights not fill this, that would be their decision too, that we don’t care enough about Springfield and state government to bother having a full-time presence.”

Wheeler's comments were featured in a August 5, 2010, article in the Illinois Times.

Download a PDF of the article