Monday, November 8, 2010

Bernard Schoenburg: Familiar folks

The BILL MILLER Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame is inducting three new members on Nov. 15. The hall honors graduates of the PAR graduate program at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The honorees are SUSAN CORNWELL, 55; BARBARA HIPSMAN, 59; and JOHN O’CONNOR, 47.

Cornwell, now a Capitol Hill correspondent for Reuters, was raised in Metropolis and Edwardsville, and long ago worked with me at The Daily Illini in Champaign-Urbana. Her first full-time reporting job — when her name was still Susan Jay Smith — was with The State Journal-Register in 1977-78. She went on to report from several countries. In 1996, she won the Merriman Smith Award for presidential reporting on deadline, given to one journalist a year by the White House Correspondents’ Association.

Hipsman has been an associate professor of journalism and mass communication at Kent State University in Ohio since 1987 and received the Distinguished Teaching Award there in 1994. She earlier taught at Bradley University in Peoria and for six years was Statehouse bureau chief for the Belleville News Democrat when that paper had a full-time Springfield presence. Her husband, BOB SPRINGER, is a former Associated Press reporter at the Statehouse.

O’Connor, an AP political writer stationed at the Statehouse since 1998, continues to give politicians fits. He’s the guy who wrote stories about the secret prison early-release program and the staff pay raises in the Quinn administration. O’Connor, who won the AP’s Oliver S. Gramling Journalism Achievement award this year, complete with $10,000, is also an amateur actor and was featured in recent local productions of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Annie.”

The awards were featured in Bernard Schoenburg's November 7, 2010, column in The State Journal-Register.

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