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Rockford lawmaker creates bill to help keep journalism alive in small Illinois towns

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WREX) — An Illinois lawmaker has created a bill which focuses on keeping journalism alive in small towns and mid-sized cities in the state.

Sen. Steve Stadelman (D) of the 34th District (Rockford), introduced Senate Bill 3457, which would create the Local Journalism Task Force.

“As a former journalist and news anchor, I know how important it is to have access to truly local news,” Stadelman said. “People deserve to know what’s happening in their communities, regardless of where they live.”

The Local Journalism Task Force would be made up of 10 individuals print and broadcast media, journalism schools, and state and local government.

The task force would be charged with conducting a study on communities underserved by local journalism and making recommendations on how to preserve and restore news coverage in these areas.

"Your address should not dictate the quality and type of information you have access to,” Stadelman said. “This measure is meant to start a conversation and provide new ideas to help address shrinking press coverage in local communities."

If passed, the task force would be required to submit the findings from its study to the governor’s office, as well as the General Assembly, no later than January 1, 2022.

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Andrew Carrigan

Andy Carrigan is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team as a photographer in 2016 after graduating from Northern Illinois University.

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