Republished from NPR Illinois
Three Springfield educated journalists are the newest inductees into The Bill Miller Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois Springfield. Trif Alatzas of Baltimore Sun Media; Patty Culhane of Al Jazeera; and Natasha Korecki of Politico are the 2019 inductees. The award-winning journalists’ experiences range from bridging print to digital, to reporting from the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and covering the criminal trials of two consecutive Illinois governors.
Trif Alatzas is publisher and editor-in-chief of Baltimore Sun Media. A 1989 graduate of the PAR program, he interned in the Illinois State Capitol with United Press International and Gannett News Service. Under his leadership, Baltimore Sun Media has been recognized with more than 40 national awards, including being named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times during the past four years.
Patty Culhane joined Al Jazeera in 2009. Before joining, she worked as a correspondent for MSNBC/ NBC covering the Bush administration. She has been a journalist for 24 years, working in Iowa, Illinois and Norfolk, Virginia, where she covered the U.S. military, travelling extensively through the Middle East covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is a 1995 graduate of the PAR program.
Natasha Korecki is a national correspondent for Politico, covering the 2020 presidential race. Before that, she authored and launched Politico’s Illinois Playbook. She previously worked as chief political writer at the Chicago Sun-Times covering federal courts and law enforcement during a golden age of political corruption prosecutions in Chicago. Korecki reported on the criminal trials of two consecutive governors – George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich – and created the “Blago Blog,” which drew a national following. She is the author of “Only in Chicago” (Agate), based on the Blagojevich probe and trials. Korecki is a 1997 graduate of the PAR program.
An induction ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 29 in the Conservatory Room of the Inn at 835, located at 835 S. Second St. in Springfield. Register at go.uis.edu/PARHallofFame2019 or call 217-206-7163. Charles N. Wheeler III, the retiring director of the PAR program, will make closing remarks on the status of state government reporting.
The PAR Hall of Fame honors program graduates who have had distinguished careers in journalism and recognizes the contribution the UIS PAR program has made to journalism and to the state of Illinois. The PAR Hall of Fame is named in honor of Bill Miller, an award-winning journalist who served as the PAR program’s director for 19 years. The PAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is sponsored by NPR Illinois, the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, Illinois Times, the Illinois Press Association, and the UIS Office of Advancement.
The UIS Public Affairs Reporting program is a one-year, professionally-oriented master's degree program that prepares students to become working reporters covering public affairs in its broadest sense — informing readers, listeners and viewers about ongoing events and activities that impact the public.
For more information, contact Nichol Timms with the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership at 217-206-7163 or email@example.com.