Lampinen leads new vision as president of Northern Illinois News Association

  • Former Daily Herald editor John Lampinen has been chosen as 2023 president of the Northern Illinois New Association.

    Former Daily Herald editor John Lampinen has been chosen as 2023 president of the Northern Illinois New Association. Daily Herald file photo

Daily Herald report
Updated 1/27/2023 5:14 PM

Career journalist and retired Daily Herald editor John Lampinen has been chosen as the Northern Illinois News Association's president for 2023 as it pursues a new vision and plans to broaden its reach.

"This is a year of recalibration for NINA," Lampinen said. "In 2023, we want to focus on what that means. Journalism is re-imagining itself in exciting ways but it also is under siege in various ways that threaten the health of democracy."


Last fall, NINA changed "newspaper" to "news" in its name to acknowledge changing times and underline the commitment to the integrity of news in any form, according to Pat Szpekowski, NINA president in 2022.

The new vision statement adopted Jan. 19, is "to be the leading advocate in northern Illinois for reliable and factual local journalism -- teaching what it is, celebrating its achievements, spreading its virtues and defending its role in society."

Lampinen, a NINA board member since 2021, said that's significant because it clearly states what the organization stands for and where it aspires to go.

"As an organization, how can we promote good journalism in northern Illinois and what can we do to help strengthen the practice of that journalism and the credibility that is essential to its impact?" he said.

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Lampinen said among the threats to journalism are diminished resources that have shrunken coverage; political attacks designed to undermine its credibility; search engines that often don't differentiate between professional and amateur practitioners; the rise of infotainment and ideological coverage; analytics that reward media that inflames rather than explains; challenges to public access; and an erosion of objectivity.

"Given the important role journalism plans in self-government, in society, this threat also is a threat to the health of our democracy and should concern us all," he said.

NINA membership is open to any individual or organization that subscribes to the values in the vision statement. To join, register online or contact Shelley Hendricks at (815) 753-4239 or email

Lampinen said there will be a stronger focus on championing "reliable and factual local journalism" and standing up to threats against democracy, accuracy and truth.


Except for a brief time, the Waukegan native worked his entire career at the Daily Herald since starting as a reporter in 1973. He moved up the ranks at Paddock Publications, the Daily Herald's parent company and was named executive editor in 1998 and editor in 2001. He also served as senior vice president for Paddock Publications.

An award-winning journalist, Lampinen is the past president of the Illinois Associated Press Managing Editors executive board and a current board member.

In 2019, Lampinen was inducted into the prestigious Lincoln League of Journalists by the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors. And last year, the Illinois Press Association presented him with its James C. Craven Freedom of the Press Award for his lifelong commitment to the principles of a free and open press.

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