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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Bill Miller Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame established at UIS

October 16, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – Kathleen Best, the assistant managing editor at The Sun in Baltimore, and Bill Lambrecht, Washington bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, are the charter inductees into The Bill Miller Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Best and Lambrecht will be honored at a reception and ceremony to be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Monday, November 13, at the Inn at 835, 835 S. Second St., Springfield. NPR national correspondent Peter Overby will deliver a keynote address.  Tickets to the program are $30 per person. To make reservations, call 217/206-6084 no later than November 3.

The Bill Miller Hall of Fame was established by Illinois Issues magazine and public radio station WUIS – both units within UIS' Center for State Policy and Leadership – to recognize the contribution the university's Public Affairs Reporting program has made to journalism and to the state of Illinois, as well as to honor those program graduates who have had distinguished careers in journalism. The award will be given every other year. Inductees' names will be inscribed on a plaque permanently displayed in the Illinois Statehouse Press Room.

The Hall also pays tribute to the late Bill Miller, who served as director of the PAR program at Sangamon State University/UIS for 19 years until his retirement in 1993.

Related sites

Illinois Issues
WUIS Public Radio
Public Affairs Reporting

Best, a member of the PAR class of 1979-80, joined The Sun in 2005. As assistant managing editor of Sunday, national, and foreign news, she directed the paper's coverage of Hurricane Katrina and helped shape the reporting on the war in Iraq and on a number of major domestic issues. Previously a reporter and editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she both covered and directed coverage of the Illinois Statehouse. She moved to the paper's Washington, D.C., bureau in 1992. Best also spent five years as a reporter and editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer covering, among other news stories, the World Trade Organization riots. Her first full-time reporting job was at the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa. She moved to that paper's Illinois capital bureau in 1981.

Lambrecht has been a national correspondent for the Post-Dispatch since the mid-1980s. He is the author of two books, including Dinner at the New Gene Café, about genetically modified food, and he is co-founder of the Bay Weekly in Annapolis, Maryland. He has covered politics and the environment since his student days with the PAR program’s first class in 1972-73. He has been on the campaign trail for every presidential election since 1984 and has written extensively on the global politics of biotechnology and the politics of water. His first newspaper series on genetically engineered food, published in 1986, accurately predicted the political storm that would erupt a decade later when this technology was approved for commercialization in the United States. In the late 1990s, he traveled extensively for the Post-Dispatch while reporting about the global uprising that greeted the arrival of these genetically modified crops.

The Public Affairs Reporting program was founded in 1972 by former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon. Miller took over the reins in 1974 and under his guidance the program established a national reputation in preparing journalists to cover government and politics. Before coming to UIS, Miller was an award-winning reporter with WTAX radio in Springfield and with the Capitol Information Bureau, a predecessor of Illinois Radio Network. He passed away in November 2003.

PAR is a one-year master's degree program focusing on coverage of state government news.  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 Press Room in Springfield. Through 2005, the program has awarded 522 master’s degrees; approximately half of the members of the Illinois Statehouse press corps are now PAR alums.

For more information, contact Peggy Boyer Long, executive editor of Illinois Issues, at 217/206-6559.

    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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