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More than 500 newspapers are members of the Illinois Press Association, making it the largest state press organization in the country. The IPA continues to provide professional education, government access and newspaper advertising promotion to members. They also provide assistance for Newspapers in Education and literacy programs, education and promotion of the First Amendment, information on evolving technology and new media, and "hot button" seminars.



A Brief History of the IPA

19th Century Illinois Newspapers

Who Starts Illinois Newspapers



A Brief History of the IPA


Lovejoy & Early Illinois Journalism
Bailey Urges Publishers' Association
Newspapers Build Business, Political Savvy
Educating Tomorrow's Journalists
IPA Strengthens Professionalism
IPA Moves To Springfield
Members Build A Home


Since its beginnings as an organization for Illinois publishers, the Illinois Press Association has grown to serve a diverse group of family and chain newspaper owners, editors and reporters, clients and advertising representatives, and editorial writers and politicians. That's quite a balancing act.

The scales remain level because of IPA and Illinois Press Foundation programs that support educational efforts in journalism, its lobbying efforts in the state legislature, and its movements to raise the standards of writing, editing and advertising through professional seminars and workshops.

These missions did not appear over night. They evolved with the help -- and sometimes the prodding -- of Illinois newspaper publishers for more than a century.

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Lovejoy & Early Illinois Journalists

Turbulence characterized the political climate of the mid-1800s in Illinois. Abolitionists argued with pro-slavery forces throughout the very state that claimed Abraham Lincoln as its favorite son.

Elijah P. Lovejoy was the epitome of the activist publisher prevalent in the 1800s. After being driven out of St. Louis for his views, the Presbyterian minister launched the crusading Alton Observer in 1837 with one mission: to agitate for the abolition of slavery.

Lovejoy had been driven from St. Louis the year before because of his abolitionist ideas. As his circulation grew from 500 to 2,500 in six months, vandals destroyed his printing presses three times. Even his friends suggested Lovejoy temper his publication.

"I cannot surrender my principles, though the whole world besides should vote them down," Lovejoy wrote. "I can make no compromise between truth and error, even though my life be the alternative."

His words proved prophetic. On Nov. 7, 1837, Lovejoy and his followers locked themselves in a warehouse as a mob assembled to attack his fourth press. The group set the warehouse roof on fire, and shots were exchanged. Lovejoy and a rioter named Lyman Bishop were both killed; seven others were wounded before the mob succeeded in tossing Lovejoy's press into the Mississippi River.

Lovejoy was buried on Nov. 9, 1837 - his 35th birthday. Seven men were later charged in the attack; only one saw trial, and none were convicted.

But Lovejoy's belief in speaking his mind was embraced by others. Publishers at newspapers in Jacksonville, Springfield, Macomb, Galena, Quincy, Lacon, Joliet and Mt. Carmel openly advocated their political views, sometimes at the threat of blows by readers. Newspapers many weeks old were read whenever they reached a distant town, and copies were safely stored as family records.

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Bailey Urges Publishers' Association

Turbulence characterized the political climate of the mid-1860s in the state. Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, and President Abraham Lincoln returned to his beloved state for burial after being shot by John Wilkes Booth. New publications sprang up around the state, fueled by political agendas and the desire to mold communities around like ideas. By the start of the Civil War, Illinois had at least 60 newspapers.

In 1863, John Withnal Bailey of Ohio acquired ownership of a 16-year-old newspaper called The Bureau County Republican in Princeton where Lovejoy's brother, Owen, had relocated. Soon after picking up his Princeton pen, Bailey began to urge the creation of a statewide coalition of newspaper people. By the end of the Civil War, other editors had been enlisted into the preliminary work of forming the IPA. Bailey advocated that publishers band together for concerted action in such matters as lobbying for legislation, eliminating unprofitable business methods and developing professional ideals and standards.

In the fall of 1865, Bailey was joined by Enoch Emery and William Rounseville of Peoria, Olive White of Toulon, George Smith of Jacksonville, James Shoaff of Decatur, W.R. Steele of Wilmington, John Merritt of Springfield, A.N. Ford of Lacon, Louis Taft of Salem, C.R. Fisk of El Paso, J.H. Burnham of Bloomington, J.W. Bush of Pittsfield, J.R. Flynn of Centralia and D.S. Crandall of Champaign.

About 80 daily and weekly publishers attended the first Illinois Press Association convention on Feb. 22-23, 1866, where Merritt was elected as the first president of the IPA. Membership cost $1 a year, establishing a trend of economic membership rates that continues today when dues account for less than 13 percent of the association's operating revenue.

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Newspapers Build Business, Political Savvy

Stability following the Civil War led many of Illinois' newspapermen to become little more than commercial printers with a town publication. Their concerns to increase production and get more outside jobs were justified; these tasks were the bread and butter of the business. Their publications had outlived their lives as political papers as the times became more tame.

Publishers meeting in 1886 were economically driven with programs on patent advertising, determining the cost of newspaper production and strategies for advertising sales.

"The newspapers of today, especially the country papers, are not only growing in power and influence, but they are improving in a financial way," said 1903 IPA President C.W. bliss of the Montgomery County News in Hillsboro. "They are no longer 'organs' of scheming politicians, but they are strictly business propositions." Within 15 years, however, many publishers began to recognized the need to be included in the politics of Illinois through effective lobbying.

"There is no class of people in the world who do so much for the general public for nothing and who sit quietly by and see their own interests go unprotected," said 1915 IPA President J.M Page of the Jerseyville Democrat.

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Educating Tomorrow's Journalists

More than 20 colleges and universities in Illinois now teach journalism and related classes. At one time, however, there was no formal educational opportunities for Illinois' aspiring journalists.

In 1927, the IPA drove the creation of a School of Journalism at the University of Illinois. Publishers began to focus on community roles that went beyond being good businesses.

"It was a dedication to the importance of journalism in the state and to newspaper publishing as a profession rather than job printing as a political handout," said Charles Flynn of The News-Gazette who also taught journalism at the U of I.

In 1930, the IPA Hall of Fame was established at the U of I. Still visible in Gregory Hall, bronze busts of eight journalistic pioneers were unveiled:

Owen Lovejoy.

Victor F. Lawson, the first publisher of the Chicago Daily News and a founder of the Associated Press.

Joseph Medill, an architect of the Chicago Tribune.

Henry Clendenin, editor of the Illinois State Register in Springfield.

David Barkely, longtime editor of the Wayne County Press in Fairfield.

William Davis, editor-publisher of The Pantagraph in Bloomington.

Edward Scripps, founder of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain.

Henry Pindell of the Peoria Journal and Peoria Transcript. Four others also were honored, but did not receive busts:

John Withnal Bailey.

Melville Stone, founder of the Chicago Daily News and Associated Press.

Simeon Francis, an Illinois editor before the Civil War.

John Clinton, editor of the Ogle County Press.

By 1933, 34 newspaper people had been named to the Hall of Fame. By 1938, the induction committee had added another 23 names and established a Freedom of the Press section honoring 12 more editors. Another 20 people were inducted into the Hall of Fame before it was discontinued in 1943.

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IPA Strengthens Professionalism

As World War II dawned, the IPA -- from its offices at the U of I -- embraced its three-fold role of educating journalists, protecting the First Amendment and promoting newspaper advertising. Reuel Barlow became secretary of the IPA in 1940, with the IPA Eucation committee formed in 1948 to promote cooperation between working journalists and journalism teachers.

Men returning to start families after World War II and the glory days of radio convinced Illinois publishers that they could no longer afford to dismiss quality in their newspapers. The IPA formed an education committee in 1948 to promote the growing relationship between journalism teachers and professionals - a relationship which eventually led to the creation of the Illinois Press Foundation in 1982.

In 1948, Art Strang, publisher of the Bunker Hill Gazette-News, also became secretary of an IPA that had grown to 710 newspapers. Publishers welcomed evolving technology like electric typewriters, but feared secretive government. The IPA formed a Freedom of Information Committee in 1953 to "investigate for possible action complaints reported by Illinois newspapers of violations of free access to the news which occur in their areas."

Illinois' newspaper numbers remained steady into the mid 1960s, with 712 publications belonging to the IPA in 1965.

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IPA Moves To Springfield

Dave West became secretary of the association in 1974. In February 1976, the IPA moved from the U of I to Springfield offices and the midst of the state's political arena. Two years later the IPA forged the Illinois Open Meetings Act which remains the basis for today's regulations on public officials.

In 1985, David Bennett was selected as executive secretary of the association. The IPA rented office space at a number of Springfield locations before members' donations allowed the purchase of a historic Springfield home located on South Grand Avenue in Springfield in 1987. But the increasing number of member services, advertising efforts and evolving technology forced members to seek additional space.

Bennett retired in 2009 and was succeeded in 2010 by Dennis DeRossett after a six-month search. IPA attorney Don Craven served as interim executive director.

DeRossett was publisher of The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale and president of the Southern Illinois Editorial Association. He joined the IPA board of directors in 2006. Click HERE for more information about DeRossett.

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Members Build A Home

In 1997, members acquired former farmland south of Springfield for construction of a state-of-the-art headquarters. For two years, IPA operated out of leased office space at 2815 Old Jacksonville Road in Springfield as the new IPA/IPF headquarters were builds its a permanent "home" at 900 Community Drive parallel to I-55 south of Springfield. Completed in April 2000, the $1.5 million, 11,000-square-foot facility houses the Illinois Press Foundation, the Illinois Press Association, the Illinois Press Advertising Service and the Illinois Press Clipping Bureau.

The Illinois Press Foundation Recognition Bricks bearing names of friends of the Illinois newspaper industry leads visitors into a welcoming hall featuring a black granite reminder of the First Amendment and nameplates from every IPA member newspaper at the time the building was erected.

In addition to staff, storage and work areas, the facility includes a fully-appointed office for publishers visiting Springfield, an audio/visual-equipped training room and a complete kitchen. The building also includes:

The McCormick Tribune Hall;

The Illinois First Amendment Center;

The Marajen Stevick Chinigo Newspaper Education Center;

The Macfarland Board Room;

The Small Family Newspaper Resource Center; and

The Joseph L. Ferstl Government Affairs Offices.

The structure was funded by the sale of the IPA's South Grand Avenue building and donations from several newspapers and individuals throughout the state. Ongoing fund-raising efforts are now underway to enhance the initial landscaping at the site.

More than 500 newspapers are members of the Illinois Press Association, making it the largest state press organization in the country. The IPA and IPF continue to provide professional education, government access and newspaper advertising promotion in addition to assistance for Newspapers in Education and literacy programs, education and promotion of the First Amendment, information on evolving technology and new media, and "hot button" seminars and assistance for a wide variety of newspaper- and business-related questions, concerns and opportunities.

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19th CenturyIllinois Newspapers

This list of Illinois newspapers starting before 1900 was compiled by Leslie Goddard and Laura Odwazny.

State Daily Register, Springfield
Jacksonville Journal Courier

Macomb Daily Journal

Galena Gazette and Advertiser

The Quincy HeraldWhig

Alton Telegraph

Lacon Home Journal

HeraldNews, Joliet
Daily Republican Register, Mt. Carmel

Times Courier, Charleston
Pike Press, Pittsfield

The Daily Times, Ottawa

Daily Review Atlas, Monmouth
Beacon News, Aurora
Carrollton Gazette Patriot

1847 Chicago Tribune
Bureau County Republican, Princeton
Freeport Journal Standard
Olney Daily Mail
The Geneva Republican

The Democrat Message, Mt. Sterling
BeaconNews, Paris
The Rushville Times

Anna GazetteDemocrat
Benton Evening News
Daily Ledger, Canton

Mason County Democrat, Havana

Dixon Telegraph
Oregon Republican Reporter
Rock Island Argus

Macoupin County Enquirer, Carlinville
NewsGazette, Champaign
Henry News Republican
Marshall Independent

The Daily Journal, Kankakee
Hillsboro Journal
Metamora Herald
Amboy News
The Daily Gazette, Sterling
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
Fulton Journal

McLeansboro TimesLeader
Rockford Register Star
Journal Star, Peoria
The Fulton Democrat, Lewistown

Carlinville Democrat
Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake
Litchfield News Herald
Lincoln Courier
Geneseo Republic
Piatt County Journal Republican, Monticello

TimesRecord, Aledo
Whiteside News Sentinel, Morrison

Belleville NewsDemocrat
Cambridge Chronicle
HeraldEnterprise, Golconda

Putnam County Record, Granville
Toledo Democrat
Mt. Vernon Register News

Mirror Democrat, Mt. Carroll
Salem TimesCommoner

Union Banner, Carlyle
Edwardsville Intelligencer
The Metamora Herald

Randolph County HeraldTribune, Chester
The TriCounty Telegraph, Jerseyville
Robinson Argus
Robinson Constitution

Sparta NewsPlaindealer
Vandalia LeaderUnion
Kendall County Record, Yorkville

Metropolis Planet
Wenona Index
Paxton Daily Record
El Paso Record
Scott County Times, Winchester

Virden Recorder
Wayne County Press, Fairfield
CommercialNews, Danville

Forreston Journal
Woodford County Journal, Eureka
TriCounty Press, Polo
Chenoa Clipper Times

Dwight Star and Herald
Fairbury Blade
Free Press Progress, Nokomis

Albion Journal Register
Earlville Leader
Montgomery County News, Hillsboro
Mt. Morris Times
Pana NewsPalladium
Waverly Journal
Greene Prairie Press, White Hall

North Suburban Herald, Loves Park
The Wilmington Advocate
TimesRepublic, Watseka
Waterloo RepublicanTimes
Gilman Star
The Review, Hinckley

Momence Progress Reporter

Chronicle, Hoopeston
The Virginia Gazette of Cass County, Virginia
The RegisterMail, Galesburg
Farmer City Journal
Daily Herald, Chicago
Calhoun NewsHerald, Hardin

The TimesPress, Streator
Gibson City Courier
Chatsworth Plaindealer

Auburn Citizen
Daily Courier News, Elgin
The Newman Independent
Neoga News
Pekin Daily Times
The Tonica News
Delavan Times
Petersburg Observer

Liberty Bee Times
Mattoon JournalGazette
The Tuscola Review

Rantoul Press
Hardin County Independent, Elizabethtown
Milford Herald News

Northern Ogle Tempo
The Orion Times

Chrisman Leader
Staunton StarTimes
Mendota Reporter
St. Louis Post Dispatch
Galva News
The Dispatch, Moline

Astoria South Fulton Argus
Collinsville Herald
Herald & Review, Decatur
Daily Chronicle, DeKalb
Girard Gazette
The Mahomet Citizen
The Vienna Times
Oak Leaves, Oak Park

Trenton Sun
The Democrat, Pinckneyville
The Globe, Port Byron

Altamont News
Centralia Sentinel
Marissa Messenger
Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles
Flanagan Home Times
Ramsey News Journal

Hyde Park Herald
HeraldStar, Edinburgh
Newton PressMentor
The Heyworth Star
The Raymond News
Farina News

Chillicothe Bulletin
Forrest News
Kimmundy Express
Ashland Sentinel

Augusta Eagle
NewsProgress, Sullivan
Martinsville Planet
McDonough Democrat, Bushnell

Cairo Citizen
Des Plaines Times
Hampshire Register

Antioch NewsReporter
Blue Mound Leader
Downers Grove Reporter
The Manteno News
Daily Clay County AdvocatePress, Flora
Menard County Review, Greenview

Arthur Clarion Graphic
Rankin Independent
The Enterprise, Plainfield
LeRoy Journal
Hancock County Journal Pilot, Carthage

Illinoian Star, Beardstown
Atwood Herald
The Gallatin Democrat, Shawneetown
Sidell Journal
Stockton/Warren Gazette
Colfax Press

Elmhurst Press
Fisher Reporter
Greenup Press
Independent News, Georgetown
Tazewell News, Morton
Barrington CourierReview

The Star, Harvey
Washburn Leader

Cissna Park News
NewsTribune, LaSalle
The Mercury Independent, Grayville

The NewsSun, Waukegan
Hancock County Quill, LaHarpe
South West News Sun, Libertyville
Ford County Press, Melvin
Ridgeway News

Advocate Clifton
Peotone Vidette
The Gridley News
Tremont Sun
Steeleville Ledger
East Dubuque Register
Morris Daily Herald
The Okawville Times

Gardner Chronicle
The Journal Press, New Athens
O'Fallon Progress
Breeze Courier

Ashton Gazette
Hinsdale Doings
DuQuoin Evening Call
TriCounty Scribe, Plymouth
Daily Leader, Pontiac

Lake Forester

Freeberg Tribune
Piper City Journal

Divernon News
Clay County Republican, Louisville
Teutopolis Press
Carroll County Review, Thomson
ChronicleHeadlightEnquirer, Cullom
Effingham Daily News

The Review, Erie
Glasford Gazette

Grayslake Times
Highland News Leader
Normalite, Normal.

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Who Starts Illinois Newspapers

Illinois has a lengthy and rich history of family-owned newspapers. But some of the most interesting publishers have launched their own careers:


Hosea C. Paddock was a school teacher who sold Rand McNally products before writing for his local newspaper. In 1883, he bought the weekly Wheaton Illinoisan -- and was forced to sell it five years later. He quickly resumed his new career, however, buying the Rochelle Register. His journalistic efforts in Waukegan and Libertyville ended in an uninsured fire thatclaimed his Lake County Independent. He returned to teaching long enough to raise enough money to buy the Palatine Enterprise -- which has grown into the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Illinois' third largest daily newspaper. The newspaper still bears his motto: "To tell the truth, fear God and make money."


A 19-year-old kid named Paul Simon turned to his local Lions club for help in buying the Troy Tribune. He exposed illegal gambling operation's ties to government in 1953 and ran for the General Assembly in 1954 at the age of 23 -- and won the first of four terms. He later served as a state senator and lieutenant governor before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and running a campaign for president. After retiring from the U.S. Senate, Simon led a public policy institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He died in 2003.


Ira C. Copley was born on a Knox County farm between Peoria and Davenport, Iowa. His family's business was utilities, and in 1889 he became head of the Aurora Gas Light Co. Six years later, he bought his first newspaper, the daily Aurora Beacon. He served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives while expanding the utility company's holdings and growing his newspaper group into a nationally noted organization.


Donald P. Cook started his journalism career in 1817 by buying the Illinois Intelligencer in Kaskaskia, believed to be the state's first newspaper started by Matthew Duncan in 1814. The next year, however, he sold the newspaper and served as a U.S. Representative for the new state.

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