Monday, May 21, 2012

Student reporters get practical experience

During this busy and historic time at the state Capitol, 15 graduate students are reporting on the developments for Illinois readers along with the Statehouse press corps.

These students are from the University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting program, which began in 1972 and is unique in providing hands-on experience in internships each spring.

The one-year master’s program, directed by former Chicago Sun-Times state government reporter Charles Wheeler, begins with a fall semester preparing students for what will come in the second semester when they join news organizations like The State Journal-Register.

“We give them the background to be able to function at the Statehouse,” said Wheeler, whose curriculum takes students through reviewing budgets, and learning about property tax, education funding, pensions and other issues.

The students work with reporters and find out quickly how things work, or don’t work. They’re now in place to report on the outcomes of this session, with the pension and Medicaid issues in play along with the state budget.

The PAR program was featured in an May 20, 2012, article in the State Journal-Register.

Read the article online