Contact Terry Martin         

525-7440                                                                                                                Released February 6, 2003








SPRINGFIELD - In partnership with the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, the Illinois Channel has begun televised coverage of Illinois? congressional delegation in Washington, DC.


"Until now, there was virtually no televised coverage of what Illinois senators and congressmen were doing in Washington.  With the nation on the verge of war, with the congress debating tax cuts, Social Security reform and reforming the nationís approach to national security, we felt that was unacceptable," said Terry Martin, Executive Director of the Illinois Channel.


Sen. Durbin addressing Illinois citizens at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 30, 2003


Now, working with the Medill School of Journalismís Washington DC Bureau, the Illinois Channel will provide specific coverage of Illinois issues and congressional members. The first effort was a taping on January 30 of the weekly briefing by senators Durbin and Fitzgerald of Illinois citizens visiting Washington.  This briefing came just two days after the Presidentís State of the Union message, with the senators responding to questions concerning their stance on tax cuts, healthcare and Americaís foreign policy.


"This is a tremendous opportunity to expose the citizens of Illinois to what their lawmakers are doing in Washington.  The Illinois Channel has more time to tell a story.  The graduate broadcast students from Medill in Washington are thrilled to be able to help tell those important stories," said Mary Coffman, Washington Bureau Chief for Medill News Service.


Martin added, "Our Washington coverage will not only focus on our congressional delegation, but will look to cover the governor and other state officials as they journey to the nation's capital on official visits.  We will also cover those Illinois citizens in Washington who affect our understanding of public policy, whether they are journalists, business leaders, or average citizens taking part in public demonstrations.  Illinois government is multi-layered, and this is part of the total coverage we look to offer Illinois residents."


The Illinois Channel is an independent nonprofit Illinois corporation formed to provide nonpartisan, gavel-to-gavel coverage of Illinois state government and public affairs events taking place around the state.  At present, the Illinois Channel is airing in 13 Illinois communities* in about 325,000 cable households.


*Belvidere, Bloomington, Carbondale, Champaign, Evanston, Freeport, Godfrey, Jacksonville, Macomb, Normal, Rockford, Springfield, and Urbana.  Communities continue to be added to our distribution list.