Jerry Nowicki is bureau chief of Capitol News Illinois and has been with the organization since its inception in 2019.
Before joining CNI, Nowicki spent two years on Illinois Senate staff as a legislative aide to state Sen. Steve Landek. Prior to that, he was editor of the LeRoy Farmer City Press, which won the 2015 David B. Kramer Memorial Trophy for Illinois’ best small weekly newspaper.
He said he's excited about Capitol News Illinois' opportunity for growth in the months and years ahead.
“For our first four years, we at Capitol News Illinois have worked to establish ourselves as a reliable and steady contributor to the Illinois state government beat,” Nowicki said. “As we look to expand our offerings to new platforms, we'll remain dedicated to maintaining that public trust and working even harder to bring news access where it hasn't been before. ”
Complementing his Statehouse and reporting experience, Nowicki has lived in a variety of Illinois communities. He grew up in Evergreen Park, a southwest suburb of Chicago, and has lived for a time in each of New Lenox, Bloomington, Champaign and LeRoy. He currently resides in Springfield.
“We have a dynamic reporting team with varying points of view and life experiences,” Nowicki said. “I think my Statehouse and small-town weekly experience meshes well with the talented reporters that make up our team.”
He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Illinois State University and obtained his master’s degree in communication from Purdue University in May 2019.
Peter Hancock joined the Capitol News Illinois team as a reporter in January 2019.
Before that, Hancock covered Kansas state government for much of the past two decades. For the previous 4 years, Hancock had been the statehouse reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World. He provided year-round daily coverage of the Kansas Statehouse, state government, appellate courts, elections and Kansas’ congressional delegation. He previously worked for 8 years as a statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, and with the Kansas Health Policy Authority and the Kansas Education Policy Report.
“As a longtime veteran of statehouse reporting in Kansas, I know how challenging it is for individual newspapers to make that kind of commitment,” Hancock said. “Capitol News Illinois offers a unique opportunity for newspapers throughout the state to pool their resources and enable a small team of reporters to deliver critical news and information about state government to communities throughout the state.
In Kansas, Hancock spent the better part of 20 years working in both print and broadcast journalism. He graduated from the University of Kansas with bachelor’s degrees in political science and secondary education. Although he was born and raised in the Kansas City area, he has deep family roots in central and southern Illinois.
He said coming to Springfield is "a bit like coming back home.”
Beth Hundsdorfer joined the Capitol News Illinois team as a full-time reporter in November 2021.
Hundsdorfer is a veteran investigative reporter who spent nearly 20 years at the Belleville News-Democrat, 13 of which were spent on the investigative beat. She also covered cops and courts.
Her investigative journalism included work on issues such as solitary confinement in the Illinois Department of Corrections, fatal flaws in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services that resulted in the death of 53 children, discriminatory housing practices in the city of Belleville and dismal prosecution rates in sex crimes cases in southern Illinois.
Her resume includes two John Jay College Journalism awards for excellence in criminal justice, a National Headliners Grand Award, a George Polk Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for local reporting among other accolades.
Prior to joining Capitol News Illinois, she had a brief stint at St. Louis Public Radio, and she spent two years as the public information officer at the Illinois State Police, fielding news media inquiries on issues ranging from traffic crashes to policy and procedure.
Hundsdorfer plans to bring that experience to Capitol News Illinois to help expand the news service’s investigative and enterprise coverage, as well as its coverage of state agencies.
“I am so happy to return to journalism at this pivotal time. Journalism, particularly investigative journalism, shines a light to expose corruption, protect the most vulnerable of our society and inform the citizenry,” Hundsdorfer said.
Longtime Statehouse reporter Hannah Meisel joined the Capitol News Illinois team in January 2023.
She’s had a number of assignments covering the Statehouse and Illinois government since the 2014 legislative session, most recently serving as Statehouse editor for NPR Illinois from 2020 until after the November 2022 election. Prior to that, Meisel worked at The Daily Line, Law 360 and Illinois Public Media in addition to various assignments for other outlets.
Meisel has excelled in both print news and broadcast formats, and she has developed a wide-ranging knowledge of state government and extensive sources.
In 2020, The Washington Post named her one of the outstanding political reporters to follow in Illinois. In 2021, she won the Illinois News Broadcasters Association's Crystal Mic Award for best small market radio reporter in the state.
“I’m thrilled to be joining a team that shares my vision of what state government coverage could – and frankly – should look like as a responsible answer to a seemingly never-ending news cycle that, unfortunately, tends to focus on the wrong things,” Meisel said. “I’ve witnessed CNI grow and mature since its inception and I’m really excited about what we can achieve together.”
Meisel is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the U of I Springfield’s Public Affairs Reporting master’s program, through which Capitol News Illinois hosts a reporting intern each legislative session.
Andrew Adams joined Capitol News Illinois in February as a state government and data reporter.
He joined the team after a stint at Government Technology magazine, where he covered the public-sector technology industry, focusing on state and local government and education. He brings the same focus on high-engagement and enterprise reporting to the CNI newsroom.
His work includes interactive data visualizations, database building, photography and the in-depth written reporting on state government that has been Capitol News Illinois’ mission since its inception in January 2019.
Prior to his time at Government Technology, Adams covered state government as the Public Affairs Reporting intern for The State Journal-Register in Springfield through the University of Illinois at Springfield. In that role, he was the lead reporter on several major stories, such as the indictment of longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, for the capital city’s daily newspaper.
“In 2023, news is more interactive, more visual and more data-driven than ever and I’m excited that CNI is choosing to develop new methods for newsgathering and delivery alongside its expanded geographic footprint” Adams said. “I’m thrilled to support CNI’s mission to bring unbiased and reliable coverage of state government to the people of Illinois.”
A Chicago resident, Adams has spent time as a staff reporter at the Effingham Daily News and has freelanced for outlets across the state. He received his master’s degree from UIS and a bachelor’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.
Jeff Rogers is the editor of Capitol News Illinois. He has been director of the Illinois Press Foundation since October 2018.
Before joining the Foundation, Rogers had been a newspaper editor in Illinois and Wisconsin since 1994. He was editor of daily papers in Freeport and Galesburg in Illinois, and in Monroe, Wisconsin. He also was editor of the Freeport iNK weekly newspaper from 2003 to 2005. For the past 9 years, Rogers was editor of the Daily Gazette of Sterling and the Telegraph of Dixon, daily paper owned and operated by Shaw Media.
Rogers is a 1988 graduate of Bradley University in Peoria. He grew up in Lanark, in northwest Illinois.
“Having been in newsrooms since graduating from college, I have a strong sense of how Capitol News Illinois can help newspapers across the state,” Rogers said. “This is an exciting opportunity to help the industry in Illinois by providing coverage of state government that most of our newspapers are not getting. In the bigger picture, it’s an opportunity to help Illinois residents reconnect with their state government.”