Monday, October 26, 2009

WUIS 2009 fall fund drive reaches record goal

Listeners helped set a record fundraising total for WUIS this fall as over $150,000 has been raised to support programming costs at the media outlet. The record goal was necessary to cover cuts in state arts grant funding. AFSCME Council 31 provided a challenge match to start the fund drive. Over 100 volunteers helped reach the goal.

The final total for listener support will be over $150,000 as pledges are still being made online at

WUIS’ two annual fund drives are the station’s largest source of revenue, covering 35 percent of the WUIS budget. This is the portion of the budget that pays for program fees and production.

WUIS listeners continue to support the unique news and entertainment programming the station provides to Central Illinois. Many listeners cite state and local government news coverage, along with NPR’s in-depth coverage of national and international news as critical to their support. The mix of classical and jazz music is also cited.

This fall’s drive also marked the debut of a second channel of programming at 91-9 HD2. WUIS Exponential features an eclectic blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country which is also available through streaming at It is the first HD2 channel in Springfield.

WUIS is Central Illinois’ source for NPR (National Public Radio). WUIS content is available from Springfield at 91.9 FM, 91.9 HD1 and 91.9 HD2; in West-Central Illinois at 89.3 FM; and worldwide at The listener-supported media outlet’s mission is to enrich Central
Illinois through independent journalism, programming and community outreach.

For the program schedule, events, and other information, call the station at (217) 206-6516 or visit

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

UIS staff and alums take top honors in national competition

Several staff members at the University of Illinois at Springfield, as well as several alumni of UIS' Public Affairs Reporting program, were among the winners of the annual competition sponsored by Capitolbeat, the national organization of journalists covering state and local governments.

The awards -- honoring excellence in Statehouse reporting in print, broadcast and online media -- were presented at the organization's annual conference, held this year in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Bethany Jaeger, Statehouse bureau chief for Illinois Issues magazine and a 2004 PAR alum, took first place in the magazine columns category for her "State of the State" column, which appears in the print and online versions of the magazine. Jaeger's winning columns touched on such subjects as gun control, feuding Democrats, Cook County property taxes, and the outlook for state policy.

Jaeger also received a second place award in the single report category for magazines for her September 2007 article "Clinic in a school," which analyzed state and national policies that contribute to the demand for health care centers in high schools, yet hinder their growth.

Daniel C. Vock, a writer for and a 2000 PAR alum, won a third place award in the same category for his Illinois Issues article on why Illinois is a friendly place for immigrants.

Sean Crawford, Statehouse bureau chief for Public Radio station WUIS, won a third place award for radio beat reporting for stories he covered ranging from the deterioration of trust at the state Capitol to more lighthearted fare such as a plan to create a special a license plate for NASCAR fans.

Amanda Vinicky, WUIS Statehouse reporter and a 2005 PAR alum, won a third place award in the radio single report category for "The Truant Legislator," which focused on Rep. Rich Bradley (D-Chicago), his chronic absences during the legislative session, and the resulting impact on his district.

Together, Crawford and Vinicky won a third place award in the radio in-depth reporting category for "Making Little Cents," a series of reports on Illinois' problems in getting a budget put together.

PAR alums Ray Long (1981) and John O'Connor (1986) were also among those honored.

Long, of the Chicago Tribune, shared a first place award in beat reporting for wire services and newspapers over 75,000 circulation.

O'Connor, of the Associated Press, received an honorable mention in the single report category for wire services and newspapers over 75,000 circulation.

Capitolbeat, formerly called the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, has nearly 300 members across the country. Illinois Issues is a not-for-profit monthly publication focusing on analysis of public policy. WUIS is listener-supported public radio for central and west central Illinois. Both Illinois Issues and WUIS are part of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS.

UIS' Public Affairs Reporting program 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 pressroom in Springfield.

For more information, contact Dana Heupel, executive editor of Illinois Issues, at 206-6507.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lincoln Legacy lecture discusses presidential elections

By Courtney Westlake

In the midst of one of the most important presidential elections in decades, the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series drew parallels between the presidential campaigns of 1860 and 1864 and the current campaign on Wednesday evening.

The topic of the 2008 Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series, which was held on Wednesday, October 15, in Brookens Auditorium, was "Lincoln and Presidential Campaign Politics." The Lincoln Legacy lectures bring Lincoln scholars and experts from around the country to Springfield to discuss issues and topics relevant to society today as well as in Lincoln's era.

Dr. Jennifer Weber, assistant professor of History at the University of Kansas, discussed "How Lincoln Handled the Anti-war Movement." Dr. Silvana Siddali, associate professor of History at St. Louis University, spoke about "Lincoln and the Constitution in Civil War Era Presidential Campaigns." Illinois State Historian Dr. Thomas Schwartz served as moderator for the event.

Lincoln faced harsh criticism from the outset of the Civil War. Weber discusssed some of Lincoln's qualities that Americans today believe made him a great leader.

"Those same qualities, had the North lost the war, would be the qualities I think that we would cite for Lincoln being a failed president," Weber said. "What it comes down to, a lot of Lincoln's reputation rests on the victories of the military armies."

Siddali examined the relationship between the Constitution and presidential campaigns. Presidential campaigns of the time caused American voters to consider a number of crucial issues, including the issue of slavery.

"The Civil War era elections changed the Constitution and were in many ways an important referendum on the U.S. Constitution," she said.

The biggest similarity between the current presidential election and the election of 1864 is the impact of the election on the future of the country, Weber said.

"The great comparison at this point with the election of 1864 is this: we are in a nation that is experiencing a profound economic crisis, and everyone in the country is aware of that. Likewise, everyone in the country is aware that however they cast their ballot in this election is going to decide the future of this country for at least the next generation," Weber said. "It's a transformative election."

Both speakers commended UIS for hosting the Lincoln Legacy series.

"I've been to Springfield many times, and I love it every time I'm here; it's a joy to be here," Weber said. "I think the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series is a terrific idea, and there's no better place to have it."

The speakers agreed that the relevance of the topics were crucial at this point in time in the country's history.

"We're facing one of the most important presidential elections, certainly the most important of this century. It's going to be a crucial decision," Siddali said. Remembering Lincoln's ongoing legacy during this time is important, she said. "We have to remember that Lincoln was the president who made the United States what it is today because the Civil War endangered the union of the states, and what better place to honor his legacy than Springfield."

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