Workshop to explore relationships between media and law enforcement

The Northern Illinois Newspaper Association (NINA) and NIU Department of Communication will hold a workshop on campus exploring how law enforcers and the media can work together to better serve the public.

The workshop is set for 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Feb. 23, in Room 100 of the Campus Life Building, at the northeast corner of Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue. The cost is $25 for non-NINA members, $20 for NINA members and free for students.

An RSVP is recommended to Shelley Hendricks at shendricks@niu.edu or 815-753-4239.

The workshop will be of interest to news media, court officials, law-enforcement professionals and students pursuing those fields. The program is titled “Working the Beat” and will feature two sessions.

The first will examine the relationship between small-town law enforcement officials and media. Local and regional news media experts will offer tips on how to get the information their readers expect and deserve without harming the integrity of an investigation. The featured guest is Don Thomas, who served 13 years as police chief in Sycamore and who has 24 years of experience with the St. Charles Police Department.

The second session is titled “Good Cop, Good Reporter,” and will explore the changing role of the public information officer and how those changes affect reporting. Kane County Sheriff’s Office Administrative Director Patrick Gengler and moderator Dan Campana will explore the importance of relationship building and the effects of social media on the dissemination of news and information. They will also offer tips on how to improve the reporting of police news.

Gengler is a 21-year member of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, where he is presently the director of administration and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officer.

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