Veteran Statehouse reporter Hannah Meisel joins Capitol News Illinois reporting team
Capitol News Illinois reporter Hannah Meisel
News outlet plans rapid expansion in 5th year of operation
By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS
Longtime Statehouse reporter Hannah Meisel has joined the Capitol News Illinois team as a full-time state government and politics reporter.
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.
Throughout her career she’s been a frequent guest on TV and radio programs throughout Illinois and beyond, including hosting a weekly public television roundtable show and being tapped as a featured speaker and panelist for live events. 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’s experience will help grow CNI’s multimedia footprint while shoring up the coverage that has been the backbone of the news outlet since it launched in 2019 – thoughtful, analytic coverage of Illinois government from the Statehouse to government agencies, courts and the political landscape.
“Hannah is one of the most well-connected reporters in the state and is a wealth of institutional Capitol knowledge,” CNI Bureau Chief Jerry Nowicki said. “She’s another strong addition to the well-rounded, talented roster of reporters we’re building at Capitol News Illinois.”
She joins veteran reporter Peter Hancock, investigative powerhouse Beth Hundsdorfer and Nowicki, who make up CNI’s full-time reporting crew working from the basement of the state Capitol in Springfield.
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. This year’s PAR reporter is Nika Schoonover.
The hiring announcement comes at a time of rapid expansion for Capitol News Illinois, as the outlet prepares to launch a broadcast operation this year. The hiring process for those new positions continues, and Meisel’s public radio experience will be vital in ensuring a successful launch.
The expansion is largely made possible by a $2 million, three-year investment from the McCormick Foundation. The Illinois Broadcasters Association and Southern Illinois Editorial Association have also made significant financial contributions to the expansion effort.
Capitol News Illinois operates solely on grants and donations. It does not charge a subscription for access to its coverage or a fee to publish its stories. The McCormick Foundation and Illinois Press Foundation have been the major donors to CNI during its first four years of operation.
Meisel’s first official day was Friday, Jan. 20, after freelancing with CNI for the end of the 102nd General Assembly’s “lame duck” session earlier this month.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.