It's rare to see additional faces in the few remaining bureaus in the state capitol these days. But WEEK/HOI's parent company is bucking that trend.
Quincy Media announced the opening of a new capitol bureau Monday. Mike Miletich, a former reporter and producer at WEEK-TV, is now the capitol bureau chief for Quincy's five Illinois television stations and its one news radio station. He's joined by photojournalist William Hatfield.
The stable of reporters reporting on state governments nationwide has shrunk considerably over the last few decades. Illinois is no exception. As major newspapers across the state slash staff, reporters stationed remotely in Springfield are often among the first on the chopping block.
Lee Enterprises, the parent company of The Pantagraph, and the suburban Daily Herald have both cut their statehouse bureaus in recent years.
Chad Mahoney, the news director of Quincy's WGEM-TV, will oversee the bureau.
“What happens in Springfield impacts every Illinois resident who watches or listens to our six stations in the state,” Mahoney said in a press release. “It’s our goal to offer reporting that digs deeper, provides context and leaves people better-informed of state government and its impact on them.”
In addition to WEEK-TV and Heart of Illinois ABC, the new statehouse bureau's work will broadcast on WGEM-TV and WGEM-FM (Quincy), WREX (Rockford), and WSIL (Carbondale).
This means Central Illinois will now be served with a healthy helping of statehouse news, at least on the television airwaves. WMBD/WYZZ parent company Nexstar also operates a statehouse bureau headed by Mark Maxwell based out of WCIA (Champaign).
Speaking of statehouse news...
As newspapers have scaled back statehouse coverage, the Illinois Press Foundation has stepped up to fill the void with Capitol News Illinois. Launched a year ago, the Springfield news operation works as a free wire service for newspapers across the state.
Reporter Jerry Nowicki's promotion to bureau chief was announced Monday by Capitol News Illinois. He came to Springfield from the LeRoy-Farmer City Press.
This year, Capitol News Illinois will begin distributing its work to certain college newspapers. It's also hiring on additional reporting muscle through a Report for America grant.
Full disclosure: Tim Shelley is a former employee of WEEK and HOI.