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Earn Your Press Pass: A free, turnkey way to train community members to be journalists at your newspaper

Earn Your Press Pass: A free, turnkey way to train community members to be journalists at your newspaper

SPRINGFIELD – Today’s publishers have a tough time hiring experienced journalists for their newsrooms — particularly those in smaller markets. The result: Rookie employees with no formal training or professional experience struggling to learn on the job with minimal guidance. Now there’s free help available to ease that learning curve.

The Illinois Press Foundation has contracted with Kansas Publishing Ventures (KPV) to provide Illinois newspapers with access to a free, self-paced online training course entitled “Earn Your Press Pass.” The course is designed is to help prospective and rookie reporters who have solid reading and writing skills by teaching them solid journalistic skills.

“The labor shortage is real, and finding former journalists or recent journalism school graduates to move to smaller communities is nearly impossible,” KPV majority owner Joey Young said. “The purpose of the course is to give the basics to a solid candidate who just needs a little bit of training to make a good reporter.”

Illinois Press Foundation Executive Director Jeff Rogers said the program is a good fit for today’s newspaper environment.

“Our members are finding it tougher than ever to hire experienced journalists,” Rogers said. “Publishers and editors are looking for efficient online training aimed at teaching the basics to newcomers and honing the skills of those already on staff. The ‘Earn Your Press Pass’ program offers high-quality online content presented in user-friendly, self-paced segments.

“I think there also are opportunities for a local newspaper to share the course with readers and with scholastic journalists in their area to enhance news literacy.”

Lindsey Young, co-owner of KPV and a practicing journalist, teaches the course. A former high school journalism and public speaking teacher, she has been immersed in community newspapering since Joey and Lindsey purchased their first community newspaper, The Clarion, in 2014.

“I wanted to create something that feels more like a conversation with a well-informed friend than a traditional class,” Lindsey said. “There aren’t any homework assignments or quizzes. Instead, the ‘test’ for Earn Your Press Pass users will be becoming a part of their community newspaper and writing about local issues.”

As someone who has both a teaching background and practical real-world newspaper experience, Lindsey is able to teach the basics to a new or potential hire so an overworked editor can focus on other tasks.

“We needed an on-demand solution,” Joey said. “So we came up with what we would want a new hire to know, and Lindsey started working on the curriculum.”

Lindsey teaches simple interviewing steps to make new reporters more successful. Additionally, the course outlines basics like newspaper jargon, editing and basic photography.

“My hope is that people who go through the course will come out the other side with all the fundamentals and a list of questions for their editor or publisher so they can have meaningful, well-informed discussions about expectations and the nuances of their own community,” Lindsey said.

Joey said newspapers are increasingly relying on new hires who "are naturally curious and have decent writing ability,” but have no training or journalism experience. The solution, he said, is to “train them up."

"We need bodies who can go to these things, cover it, and feel competent. That’s what Lindsey set out to do, …to help people feel a little more confident.”

“We just want people to use it,” Joey said. "I really believe this is something to bridge the gap for papers that struggle to recruit."

The training syllabus is now available to all members of the Illinois Press Association. To sign your newspaper up to participate in Earn Your Press Pass, contact Rogers at jrogers@capitolnewsillinois.com.

The Youngs will be giving a presentation at 10 a.m. June 8 during convention about the online course and how newspapers can incorporate it into their recruiting processes.

Press Releases


Contact Information:
Craig Baumberger

Fly with the 'Sky Soldiers'

Coming Aug. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation in Creve Couer, Missouri, will bring its Bell UH-1 “Huey” and AH-1 “Cobra” helicopters to the Greenville, Illinois, Airport Airstravaganza. The public will be able to purchase rides on each of these historic warbirds. This will be a unique opportunity for people to get a close look at two of the most important aircraft utilized by the US Army during the Vietnam War and in the years following. Vietnam veterans will be able to recall their experiences when they flew, rode in, worked on, or were supported in combat by these warbirds.

The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding, restoring, and flying Army aviation aircraft from the Vietnam era up until the 1990’s. Its vision statement:

"Empowering the past to inspire the future, the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum envisions a world where the courageous legacy of Army Aviation pioneers lives on, igniting the spirit of innovation, service, and excellence in generations to come. Through dynamic preservation, immersive educational experiences, and community engagement, we honor the bravery and sacrifice of those who charted the skies before us, while fostering a deep appreciation for the evolution of flight, military service, and the critical role each has played in shaping history. Guided by our commitment to preserving heritage, educating minds, and inspiring hearts, we aim to be a beacon of excellence, enriching lives, and building a bright and patriotic future for our nation."

There are three chapters nationally with the local chapter based at Creve Couer Airport in Creve Couer, Missouri. They welcome visitors at their hangar on Thursdays and Saturdays. Membership is open to the public and not limited to veterans or pilots. 
The UH-1 was first developed by Bell Helicopter in the 1950s to fill the need for a utility helicopter for the US Army. They were manufactured in large numbers starting in the early ‘60s and played a major role in enhancing the mobility of infantry in Vietnam. Seven thousand saw action in Vietnam with an estimated three thousand destroyed. They continued to serve the Army well into the 1980s anywhere troops might be deployed. They were replaced by the Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk.

Bell also developed the AH-1 Cobra. It was designed as an armed escort for the UH-1 transporting troops in Vietnam. It was developed around 1965 and entered service in 1967. It played an important role in protecting the lightly armed and armored UH-1s as they delivered troops, supplies and especially performed their famous Medevac role in Vietnam. The Cobra could respond quickly to suppress ground fire from the enemy. The Cobra had various armaments, most common being pod mounted rockets and nose mounted mini gun. Over a thousand were manufactured for the US Army. Three hundred were lost in combat. It was replaced by the AH-64 Apache.


Ticket prices
Huey $125
Cobra $800
To purchase advance tickets: Go to “armyav.org
For “Airstravaganza” information, call or text 618-322-3532
For questions about the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation:
Gateway (MO) – Army Aviation Heritage Foundation or call 636-362-4839
“Airstravaganza” is hosted by: EAA Chapter 1382/Greenville Pilots Association



Contact Information:
Alison Maley, government & public relations director
(217) 299-3122

Illinois Principals Association names new executive board and board members

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The Illinois Principals Association, which serves more than 6,500 educational leaders throughout the state of Illinois, announces the following school leaders to serve as the Executive Board for the IPA, effective July 1, 2024. 

President – Cris Edwards, Richland County Elementary School, Olney 
Immediate Past-President – Dr. Paul Kelly, Elk Grove High School, Elk Grove Village   
President-Elect – Dr. Angie Codron, Normal West High School, Normal 
Treasurer – Shaun Grant, South Elementary School, Chillicothe  
Secretary – Dr. Courtney DeMent, Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove  

Other new board members include: 

– Diversity & Equity Chairperson – Sonia Ruiz, Jane Addams Middle School, Bolingbrook 
– Dr. Jennifer McCoy, principal of Lexington High School, Lexington, as state director for the Corn Belt Region 
– Dr. Rebecca Gabrenya, principal of Marquardt Middle School, Glendale Heights, as state director for the DuPage Region 
– Mandy Hughes, principal of Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook, as state director for the North Cook Region 
– Doug Owens, principal of Tri-City Elementary School, Carterville, as state director for the Shawnee Region 
– Heather Baker, assistant principal of Northview Elementary School, Peru, as state director for the Starved Rock Region 
– Nick Stoneking, assistant principal of Edison School, Macomb, as state director for the Western Region 

For information about other board members and IPA regions, please visit www.ilprincipals.org/board and www.ilprincipals.org/regions.  

The Illinois Principals Association mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders. For more information about the IPA, please visit www.ilprincipals.org





Contact Information:
Purple Wave Auction
Ph: (866)-608-9283

Purple Wave Auction announces new territory sales manager

Greg Ditch to serve Purple Wave as a territory sales manager in Northern Illinois

MANHATTAN, KANSAS (June 24, 2024) - Purple Wave Auction is pleased to announce that Greg Ditch has joined the company as a territory sales manager. Purple Wave Auction is a leader in online, no-reserve equipment auctions, serving the agriculture, construction, government, and fleet industries. The company provides opportunities for customers to buy and sell equipment with confidence.

In his role as territory sales manager, Greg will facilitate relationships with new sellers while also connecting with current sellers in his market. He will work closely with the sellers to evaluate their assets, help them through the auction process from start to finish, and share equipment with potential bidders.

Prior to Purple Wave, Greg worked for Purple Wave’s strategic partner, Copart, where he was the assistant general manager at its Chicago North yard. He brings more than 20 years of experience in the automotive and power sports industries, having held various roles, including owner, sales manager, and finance manager.

"I would like my customers to know they are more than customers; they are friends and can count on me to help them achieve their goals. Don't be afraid to call, email, or text. I am here to help solve problems and create opportunities", says Greg.

Greg Ditch

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Purple Wave Auction was founded in 2000 and has become a leader in online equipment auctions. The company provides the easiest, most straightforward way to buy and sell equipment in the marketplace. Purple Wave is committed to the core values of trust, team, care, and passion and delivers those values throughout all offered services to bidders, buyers, and sellers.



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