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The Journalism Department at the University of Illinois is deeply saddened to learn of the passing last week of distinguished alumni John Foreman who served as prize-winning reporter, editor and publisher at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois.

Foreman, 65 was a long-time supporter of the Journalism Department and the College of Media and helped guide significant donations from the Marajen Stevick Foundation to the department and college.

"John Foreman was instrumental in the creation of CU-CitizenAccess.org, which has provided dozens of journalism students and grads with a news platform for their work since 2010," said Brant Houston, Knight Chair Professor in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the Journalism Department.

"Through his support we received $50,000 in start-up money from the Stevick Foundation, which triggered a matching grant from the James L. and John S. Knight Foundation of $100,000 and more support from the university."

Houston said Foreman encouraged the practice of The News-Gazette republishing the best work from the CU-CitizenAccess and also republished the award-winning project "Midwest Chronicles," about migrant and minority group struggles in central Illinois.

Other donations included programs for student training at the News-Gazette and the renovation of the student services office at the College of Media in Gregory Hall.

Foreman also often provided post-graduate employment to Illinois journalism students.

 In 2015, the Stevick Foundation donated $100,000 to the College of Media to endow the John R. Foreman Fund at the College of Media to support paid summer internships for journalism students at The News-Gazette.

The Stevick Foundation owns The News-Gazette Media, which operates other media properties in the central Illinois.

“The fund recognizes Foreman's "outstanding service" to the News-Gazette, the community and the profession of journalism, said current publisher and CEO John Reed.

“The loss of John Foreman will be felt by many - his family, The News-Gazette, the community and this college,” said interim dean Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko.

“His legacy will live on in the named scholarship created in his honor. We are proud to be a part of making sure his impact will be remembered for years to come.”

The Foreman fund made the difference for Journalism major Armani Baker this summer, giving her the opportunity to work as a production intern for the Chicago Humanities Festival. “(Foreman’s) contribution has tremendously helped me, because this is an unpaid opportunity that requires 100 hours of my summer, which doesn't leave time for me to take on a regular job to support myself,” Baker said.

Foreman graduated from the University of Illinois in 1977. He became a staff reporter at The News-Gazette after graduation and quickly went on to becoming city editor, managing editor and editor-in-chief. He became publisher in 2003 and retired from that position in 2014.

Foreman served as president of the Illinois Press Association and Illinois Press Associated Press Editors, chairman of the Illinois First Amendment Center, chairman of the Mid-America Press Institute, and chair of a Society Professional Journalists project on access to government called "Project Sunshine."

He also was the first recipient of the James C. Craven Award for Freedom of the Press from the Illinois Press Association.

For The News-Gazette's full story, visit here.

 

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