At its December board meeting, the Illinois Press Foundation Board of Directors awarded three $1,200 scholarships to University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting graduate students: Cassandra “Cassie” Buchman, Grant Morgan and Lindsey Salvatelli.
“In talking to all of these kids, they’re really passionate about journalism,” IPF Director Jeff Rogers said. “They all have passion. Having been in journalism for nearly 30 years, it’s refreshing to see.”
Buchman is a May 2018 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, holding a bachelor’s degree in journalism. As a freshman, she joined the staff of the Daily Eastern News as a reporter, and then rose through the ranks to become editor-in-chief.
She also served as an intern with the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights during the summer of 2016. In the spring of this year, the IPF sponsored Buchman to serve as a National Newspaper Association Foundation news fellow. She traveled to Washington, D.C., to report on issues of national importance.
As one of seven fellows from college newsrooms across the country, she had the opportunity to meet with policymakers and policy influencers during her time in the city. She also met with Illinois’ congressional representatives.
“All of these experiences showed me how vital journalism, especially at the local level, is to people,” Buchman wrote in her scholarship application. “People look to newspapers to shed light on what is happening, to answer the questions they have, and to make sure public officials are being held accountable for their decisions and actions.”
She continued, “Becoming a reliable, responsible reporter who is able to help readers better understand the world around them is my ultimate goal.”
Buchman will spend her PAR internship at the Capitol reporting for The State Journal-Register (Springfield) and GateHouse Media. She aspires to work at a daily newspaper upon graduation.
Morgan is a graduate of The University of Akron in Ohio, holding bachelors’ degrees in philosophy, political science, economics and English. Morgan served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Buchtelite.
During his tenure at the Buchtelite, Morgan served as a reporter, arts editor then news editor before being named editor-in-chief. His dogged coverage of administration resulted in the resignation of the university’s president.
“It was a fulfillment unlike any I had known, to hold those accountable who would do their best to deceive us,” Morgan said in his scholarship application. “Our work was recognized by major parts of the region, and even used in investigative pieces by the Akron Beacon Journal and the Devil Strip magazine.”
He also worked as a staff assistant to a member of Canadian provincial parliament while spending a summer at Oxford University, publishing his senior project there.
Grant will be spending his PAR internship with the IPF’s new statehouse reporting bureau, Capitol News Illinois. He will be covering legislative sessions and committee hearings, while also handling various enterprise projects.
Salvatelli is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, holding degrees in journalism and political science with an emphasis in international relations.
“I truly believe in the purpose of a free press and holding elected officials accountable for their actions, or sometimes inactions. I believe my work is much larger than myself; it’s what keeps citizens informed about the decisions being made for them,” Salvatelli wrote in her scholarship application.
While at NIU, Salvatelli worked as the news editor for the student newspaper, the Northern Star, and also interned with the Rockford Register Star.
Salvatelli will intern with the Illinois Times this spring.
The IPF Board annually awards scholarships to the PAR graduate students at its holiday board meeting in December. Last year, the Board voted to increase the scholarships from $1,000 to $1,200 each due to the rising cost of tuition.
“While the scholarships will be greatly appreciated by the recipients, they represent only a small part of the assistance our program has received from the state’s newspapers over the years,” said Charlie Wheeler, PAR director and IPF Board secretary. See photos from the holiday luncheon here.