Illinois Newsroom is a regional journalism collaboration focused on expanding access to trusted, timely and relevant information across three key statewide topics: Education, Political Impact and Health/Environment.
Our team of journalists report on the issues that affect the diverse residents of Illinois with the goals of holding public officials accountable; fostering greater understanding of our state and region; and exploring the many ways people are working together to strengthen their communities.
Through online and in-person conversations and events, Illinois Newsroom invites the audiences we serve into the editorial process, connecting and empowering communities across the state.
Illinois Newsroom Partners
NPR Illinois, Springfield; WSIU, Carbondale; WVIK, Rock Island; TriStates Public Radio, Macomb; WTVP, Peoria; Illinois Public Media, Champaign-Urbana; Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting; Harvest Public Media
Illinois Newsroom Editorial Staff
Scott Cameron, Executive Editor, Urbana
Scott helps connect the people and partners of Illinois Newsroom with the communities we serve through quality, trusted and relevant news and information on air, online and in the community.
He came late to public media, working first in commercial radio and news before joining NPR as editor of Talk of the Nation.
Most recently, he served as News Director for Illinois Public Media and helped launch The 21st, a collaborative statewide talk show hosted by Niala Boodhoo.
Dusty Rhodes, Education Reporter, Springfield
After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master’s degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in 2014. But it’s not her years of experience or her education that help her understand this beat. It’s her sons — “one homemade, one adopted” — who have vastly different types of intelligence and vastly different learning styles. Between the two of them, she’s experienced public, charter, Montessori and magnet schools, gifted, IEP and 504 accommodations, and uncountable band concerts, science fairs, basketball games, and parent/teacher conferences. It’s the parent/teacher conferences that always make her cry.
Lee Gaines, Education Reporter, Urbana
Lee V. Gaines is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, Crain’s, the Pacific Standard and the Marshall Project. She also recently completed a fellowship with Chicago non-profit journalism lab, City Bureau. Lee has more than six years of experience producing breaking news, magazine-length feature stories and investigative reports on subjects including education, the medical marijuana industry, criminal justice reform, social justice, local and regional politics, in addition to stories about Chicago’s thriving music and arts scene. A Rhode Island native, Lee began her career as a staff reporter for GateHouse Media New England covering the Boston suburbs.
Brian Mackey, Political Impact Reporter, Springfield
Brian covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois, Illinois Newsroom and a dozen other public radio stations across the state.
He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Kristin Walters, Visiting Senior Engagement Strategist, Urbana
As Engagement Strategist, Kristin spearheads the integration of engagement and editorial processes to maximize the reach of our reporting and its positive community impact. She builds pathways for Illinois citizens and organizations to participate in the editorial process through events, educational initiatives, community partnerships, and everyday conversations. From her perspective, there are no greater experts on the issues of Illinois than the state’s diverse, industrious, and passionate citizens. With their energy, feedback, and editorial participation, the Illinois Newsroom team produces outstanding, in-depth investigative reporting that serves the most pressing needs of the Illinois community. Kristin is looking forward to watching how Illinois transforms as its network of informed, engaged citizens strengthens.
Harvest Public Media Reporter
Health & Environment Reporter
300 N. Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801