INBA Rescinds Hastert Honor

Photo credit: Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune

   The Illinois News Broadcasters Association is rescinding the Illinoisan of the Year honor presented to former Speaker of the US House Dennis Hastert in 1999.   At the time, Hastert was serving as Speaker, and had represented Illinois’ 14th Congressional District since 1987. He retired from Congress in 2007. In 2015, he was indicted for numerous financial crimes related to repeated instances of child molestation, from the time that he was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.  He plead guilty and served 13 months in prison. Currently he is scheduled for a July jury trial in Kendall County, in a lawsuit alleging that he has not kept up with agreed-upon payments to one of his accusers.

  The decision to rescind the Illinoisan of the Year honor was approved by the INBA Board of Directors at its Winter Board Meeting, after input was gathered from 20 of the organization’s Past Presidents.  This is the group that nominates and votes on the award each year. 

  “We clearly should have done this sooner,” said Immediate Past President Laura Trendle Polus.  “But about six months ago someone noticed Hastert’s name on a plaque that we display at our conventions and brought it to a board member’s attention. That started the process.  The vote to rescind was unanimous, with several pointing out that we shouldn’t just take his name away, because we should never forget or overlook what he did.”

  The part of the plaque that bears Hastert’s name will be re-engraved to add “Rescinded 2020.”

Aaron Eades

As a student, it's often difficult to picture what working in the real world will be like. For me, the INBA bridged that gap by giving me the chance to talk to professionals who used to be in the same shoes I'm in now.

Alexis McAdams

INBA played a huge part in preparing me for my broadcasting career. The INBA conventions connect students with on-air talent and news directors who give feedback on now to improve your work. Through relationships I made at those conventions, I was able to obtain my first on air reporting job.

Bob Roberts

INBA is as much about friendship and as it is about achieving common goals. It provides two things individual newsrooms cannot: in-service training, and the ability to speak out on issues affecting the profession. But most of all, it brings newspeople together.

Mike Miletich

Joining the INBA was one of my best life decisions. I met some of the best broadcast journalists while I was still a college student. Plus, I ended up getting a job through the connections I made!

Jeff Bossert

When I was working in radio for the first time, I had no idea whether I could truly handle the demands. But INBA made me curious and want to improve. Even now, when I’ve maybe worked a lot of hours or planned some stories that didn’t come together for one reason or another, what I learn from an INBA conference gets me re-invigorated about the business.

Jennifer Fuller

INBA is not only a great networking tool, it also provides advocacy and support for journalists in an ever-changing world.

Andrew Tanielian

INBA taught me how to network in a meaningful way. The scholarship process taught me how to endure a hard job interview and thrive.

Molly Jirasek

One of my top goals in my career was to get to Chicago. Thanks to INBA I met Margaret Larkin. She remembered our great conversations about Chicago and first alerted me to a job opening in the city I might be interested in. Lo and behold, I got that job! INBA helped me reach my dream.

Nora Baldner

The support INBA gives to student journalists is vitally important as we all discover how technology is changing news dissemination, INBA monitors and actively encourages truth, transparency and accountability from students and their universities.

Brian O'Keefe

One of the greatest benefits for me has been getting to see and know other parts of the state. I’m not from Illinois and traveling to spring and fall conventions over the years has transformed dots on a map to memories of places that enhance my story telling process.

Ryan Denham

“I recently attended my first INBA conference—and it won’t be my last. The combination of professional and student journalists learning together is electric. Everyone learns from each other and walks away with new friends (and LinkedIn connections). I know I did.”

Michelle Eccles McLaughlin

INBA is an organization that really caters to continuing education for professionals. It offers a relatively inexpensive way to learn new things, reinforce best practices and network.

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