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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. This year's cohort has been placed with more than 160 local news organizations across 45 states and Puerto Rico, including two journalists right here at WNIJ. We are thrilled to announce the addition of JuanPablo Ramirez-Franco to our news team, and a new role for WNIJ reporter Yvonne Boose.Yvonne Boose covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This includes how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities.Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco covers substandard housing and police-community relations. An audio producer and journalist based out of Chicago, he’s also been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office.He will continue Sarah Jesmer’s award-winning work at WNIJ covering issues of social justice and identity. Jesmer earned a top award from the Illinois Associated Press for reports including: Inside DeKalb County's Unincorporated Apartments; Wigs, Lipstick & Sparkles: The Thriving Drag Scene In Northern Illinois; and Kish College: Anonymous Letters And A Controversial Investigation.These reporting positions come at a time when local journalism is already reeling from years of newsroom cuts and unforeseen challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.Both positions are partially funded by a grant from Report for America. WNIJ must raise an additional $30,000 in local matching funds. Support these important voices in our community by donating to WNIJ’s portion here.Yvonne and Juanpablo’s stories on our community will be collected below.

Rep. Kinzinger Talks About Bipartisanship At NIU Lecture Series

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Rep. Adam Kinzinger at NIU Rebuilding Democracy Lecture Series.

The sixth-term Congressman took questions as part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences public lecture series,  "Rebuilding Democracy."


Earlier this year, Rep. Kinzinger was one of only a few Republicans to break with his party on a vote to impeach former President Donald Trump. Between 2017 and the beginning of this year,  Kinzinger voted just over 90% of the time in line with the Trump administration.


Still, he says there is a path for healthy bipartisanship. “There's going to be moments when you can't have bipartisanship, when there's just logical differences in values and what you vote on,” said Kinzinger during Tuesday night's forum. “That doesn't mean democracy has failed, it actually means that it's working.”


The LaSalle County GOP voted to censure Kinzinger over his statements and actions against former President Trump. And the Republican legislator already faces opposition within his party for his seat.

  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.