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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

WUIS statehouse reporters win national awards

November 16, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - Two reporters for Public Radio WUIS (91.9 FM)/WIPA (89.3 FM) won top honors in the fifth annual Excellence in State Government Coverage awards program sponsored by the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. Winners were announced November 12 at the association’s annual conference, held in Columbia, South Carolina. The ACRE awards honor the best Statehouse reporting by print, TV, radio, wire, and online journalists in the country.

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First and second places in the Radio Beat Reporting category went to WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Bill Wheelhouse and Statehouse reporter Sean Crawford, respectively.

“Many people, political junkies and not, tell us they couldn’t go very long without the coverage of state government that Bill and Sean provide,” said WUIS General Manager Brad Swanson. “These seasoned reporters provide a balanced view and unique spotlight into the work of our elected officials.”

Wheelhouse’s winning entry included reports from the past year on medical malpractice, the death of Paul Simon, Illinois’ history of corrupt governors, prescription drugs, and Governor Rod Blagojevich’s internal battle with the State Board of Education.

Crawford’s award recognizes his stories from the past year on the Illinois Republican party’s nomination of Jack Ryan for Senate, Governor Blagojevich’s call for a tax on farmers, the proposal for expanded gambling in Illinois, stem cell research, and the sale of Illinois Power.

Wheelhouse has served as the station’s Statehouse bureau chief since 1995.  In 1999 he traveled to Cuba with then-Governor George Ryan and provided coverage from Havana. He is also an adjunct professor in the Public Affairs Reporting master’s degree program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Crawford, a radio professional for more than 20 years and a Statehouse reporter since 1997, has won numerous awards. Crawford and Wheelhouse are both panelists on the weekly talk show State Week in Review, which originates at WUIS and is broadcast to public radio stations statewide. 

Handing out the awards, ACRE President Holly A. Heyser noted, “Statehouse journalists face different challenges than our brethren on other beats, from the sometimes frenetic pace of news to the challenge of gathering information from bodies that often exempt themselves from disclosure rules.”

For more information, contact WUIS News Director Rich Bradley at 206-6524. More information about WUIS news coverage and programming is available on the station’s website at www.wuis.org.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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