FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: November 28, 2000

Contact: Lezli Austen

Eight public affairs reporting students at UIS receive scholarships

SPRINGFIELD Ė Eight graduate students in the public affairs reporting (PAR) program at the University of Illinois at Springfield were presented with scholarships for 2000 at a reception November 28 at the UIS Public Affairs Center restaurant. Joseph F. Biesk, Shawn K. Johnson, and Jeannine L. Koranda are recipients of the Robert P. Howard scholarships; Benjamin R. Kieckhefer, Jennifer L. Flath, and James M. Fuller are recipients of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association (ILCA) scholarships; Crystal L. Dothager is the recipient of the Milton D. Friedland Scholarship; and Mary E. Massingale is the recipient of the Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarship.

The scholarships are awarded to PAR students who have demonstrated strong interest and potential in the field of government and political reporting. The Howard scholarships are presented in memory of the late Robert P. Howard, Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune from 1957 until 1970 and a noted historian. Howard was the author of several books and numerous articles on Illinois history, including the books Illinois: A History of the Prairie State and Mostly Good and Competent Men: Illinois Governors, 1818-1988. Biesk is the son of Ralph and Diane Biesk of Lombard. He received a B.A. in journalism and Spanish from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, this year. Before enrolling at UIS, he was a reporter for the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb. While at NIU, he held a variety of positions, including editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Northern Star, where he won awards for investigative reporting and for spot news reporting from the Illinois College Press Association. Also at NIU, he served as a correspondent for The Daily Herald in Arlington Heights and was a contributor to the Chicago Tribune and The Beacon News in Aurora. Biesk also holds an associate in arts degree with an emphasis in Spanish -more- from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. He will be interning with the Chicago Tribune. Johnson is the son of Donald and Susan Johnson of Sheridan. He received a B.S. in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this year. Currently, he is working with WUIS/WIPA/Illinois Public Radio. Before enrolling at UIS, he was an assistant producer and web producer during an internship at WBBM-AM in Chicago. While at UIUC, he was a reporter for the student newspaper, The Daily Illini. He also interned as a sports reporter with WCMY-AM in Ottawa. Before enrolling at UIUC, he earned an associate in arts degree in journalism from Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, where he was a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. While at IVCC, he was a reporter and assistant editor for the student newspaper, The Apache, where he won awards from the American Scholastic Press Association and from the Illinois Valley College Journalism Association. He will be interning with WUIS/WIPA/Illinois Public Radio. Koranda is the daughter of Dr. Frank and Diane Koranda of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. She received a B.A. in print journalism from the University of Minnesota. Currently she is employed in the UIS Visual Arts Gallery. Before coming to UIS, she was communications manager for the Kansas City Jewish Museum in Overland Park, Kansas. She also was a freelance writer with work published in the Johnson County Medical Society Journal in Overland Park and KUMed, a publication of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. While at UM, she was a writer for the online edition of the student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily. She will be interning with Lee Enterprises. The ILCA scholarships are named after several people with close ties to both the PAR program and the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association, which is composed of the news media outlets represented in the Statehouse pressroom. Kieckhefer, son of Robert and Janice Kieckhefer of Oak Park, is the recipient of the ILCA Burnell A. Heinecke Scholarship, established in 1979 to honor the former ILCA president and long-time Statehouse reporter. Heinecke was a 23-year veteran of the Chicago Sun-Times and that dailyís first permanent legislative reporter at the state capitol. One of the founders of the PAR program, he served for many years on both its program and selection committees. -more- Kieckhefer received a B.A. in English from DePaul University in Chicago in 1999. Before enrolling at UIS, he was a reporter for United Press International in Chicago and a media consultant with Serafin & Associates, a public relations and communications firm. He will be interning with Copley Illinois Newspapers. Flath, daughter of Robert and Sharon Fuller of Carterville, is the recipient of the ILCA Bill Miller Scholarship. Miller retired in 1993 after 19 years as director of the PAR program. During his tenure, the program established a national reputation for preparing journalists to cover government and politics. Before that, Miller was an award-winning reporter with WTAX in Springfield and with the Capitol Information Bureau, predecessor of the Illinois Radio Network. Flath received a B.A. in radio-television from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale this year. Currently, she is an anchor/reporter for WTAX-AM in Springfield. While at SIU-C, she was student news director at WSIU-FM and a reporter, producer, and floor director at WSIU-TV. She also had a reporting/producing internship with WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky. In addition, she served as president of Students in Illinois News Broadcasters Association (SINBA) and was awarded the Virginia Marmaduke Memorial Scholarship, the Frank Stanton Scholarship, and a SINBA scholarship. She was SIU-Cís student worker of the year and was named one of SIU-Cís Top 25 Seniors. She will be interning with the Illinois Radio Network. Fuller, son of Pamela Peszynski of Waukegan, is the recipient of the ILCA Memorial Scholarship, given in memory of deceased Statehouse reporters, many of whom provided guidance and assistance to the PAR program. Fuller received a B.S. in journalism from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1999. Before enrolling at UIS, he was at the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism, where he was a reporting intern in the Washington Bureau of the Donrey Media Group. While at SIU-C, he was a reporter, assistant desk editor, and editorial page editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Egyptian. He will be interning with the Chicago Sun-Times. Dothager, daughter of Larry and Sandra Dothager, is the recipient of the Milton D. Friedland Scholarship. The Friedland scholarship is presented in memory of the late Milton D. Friedland, the -more- founder and general manager of WICS-TV in Springfield. In addition to being a broadcast pioneer in central Illinois, Friedland was a former community relations associate for the campus and a long-time friend and benefactor of Sangamon State University, as UIS was formerly known. Dothager received a B.A. in radio-television from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1999. While at SIU-C, she was a reporter, producer, and anchor for WSIU-TV and a reporter/anchor for WSIU-FM, both in Carbondale. She also had reporting internships with KABC-TV, Los Angeles, and with WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky. In addition, she served as president of the Students in Illinois News Broadcasters Association and was named one of SIU-Cís Top 25 Seniors. Before coming to SIU-C, she earned an associate in arts degree from Kaskaskia College in Centralia. She will be interning with WCIA-TV. Massingale, daughter of Howard and Nancy Massingale, is the recipient of the Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarship. The Hahn scholarship is presented in memory of the former Statehouse correspondent for The State Journal-Register and United Press International. Massingale received a B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Western Illinois University in Macomb in 1993. Currently, she is working as a reporter for The State Journal-Register. Before coming to UIS, she was a copy editor/page designer at The Pantagraph in Bloomington. Prior to that, she was a reporter for The Star Courier in Kewanee, where she won an Illinois Press Association award for investigative reporting, and a correspondent for the Daily Ledger in Canton. She earned an associate in science degree from Spoon River College in Canton. She will be interning with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. UISí public affairs reporting program is a one-year masterís degree program focusing on state government news coverage. In addition to academic work, students serve six-month internships with newspaper, magazine, radio, television, wire service, or audio news service bureaus in the Statehouse pressroom in Springfield. -30-