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.
“ I covered state politics and government in Kansas for the better part of the past 20 years, working in both print and broadcast journalism. I graduated from the University of Kansas with bachelor’s degrees in political science and secondary education. Although I was born and raised in the Kansas City area, I have deep family roots in central and southern Illinois, and so 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.
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 Capitol News Illinois offers a new view of Statehouse happenings in partnership with local newspapers.
“Capitol News Illinois provides an exhilarating opportunity to reconnect local newspapers with Statehouse coverage,” Nowicki said. “We know there are many outstanding reporters doing great work at the Capitol, but we also understand that a greater variety of voices is better for our democracy and for our industry. Our team could not be more excited to offer another unique, civic-minded and nonpartisan voice to the Capitol press corps.”
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.
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.”