Friend and supporter of CU-CitizenAccess.org passes away

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John Foreman, former publisher of The News-Gazette and a great friend and supporter of CU-CitizenAccess.org, passed away last week.

Foreman, 65, was instrumental in the creation of CU-CitizenAccess.org, persuading the Marajen Stevick Foundation to fund the online newsroom with $50,000 that was matched with $100,000 by the James L. and John S. Knight Foundation community news grant.

The funding, which was supplemented by the University of Illinois, launched CU-CitizenAccess in 2010 and provided support for the Journalism Department newsroom for three years. Foreman then supported further funding in the following years from the Stevick Foundation, which owns The News-Gazette.

“John ensured that CU-CitizenAccess.org would have a strong start and be an ongoing and valuable contributor of community and regional news,” said Brant Houston, who oversees the newsroom and is the Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting at the Journalism Department. “Through his constant support we have provided practical and real-life reporting and editing opportunities for dozens of students and alumni. Their work for CU-CitizenAccess then helped them to move ahead in their careers.”

In addition, Foreman continually supported the republishing in The News-Gazette of the best work of CU-CitizenAccess, which was primarily done by journalism students, recent graduates and alumni.

In 2012, Foreman supported republishing a package of stories known as “Midwest Chronicles” by CU-CitizenAccess and Hoy Chicago on the struggles and successes of migrants and minorities in central Illinois. The project went on to win regional awards and a national award from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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.”

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

Foreman also often provided post-graduate employment to Illinois journalism students, several of whom had worked for CU-CitizenAccess.

“John’s generosity was deeply appreciated and inspiring,” Houston said. “So many young journalists benefited from his help and will continue to benefit.”

(Some of this content is from The News-Gazette. For the full story, read more in The News-Gazette.)

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