Susan Stephens

WNIJ News Reporter/Producer

Susan’s parents should have known she’d end up in radio: her favorite toys were tape recorders, cameras, notepads, and books. Many years later, she’s an award-winning reporter at her favorite radio station. Formerly WNIJ’s News Director, she asked to return to the role of full-time reporter/anchor/utility player in 2010 (less paperwork, more reporting!). Her #1 goal is to tell the most compelling stories in the fewest words possible…all the better if a little humor can be thrown into the mix.  It should come as no surprise, then, that she can whip up a haiku for any occasion. She also enjoys the Detroit Tigers, learning pioneer skills (Gardening, canning, and the like. Just in case.), traveling with friends, and pretending she’s going to get around to playing her theremin.

The Illinois primary election isn’t until next March, but campaigns are going strong. Most Democrats running for governor will take part in a forum Tuesday night at Northern Illinois University.

Kim Gates, a member of DeKalb Stands, says her group -- which helped organize the event -- was formed in reaction to concerns about the presidential election. Now, she says, they see the importance of being engaged politically at every level of government.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Police are still looking for a man accused of shooting a Winnebago County sheriff's deputy last weekend.

Deputy Stephen Wright was shot in the back and shoulder early Saturday morning during a traffic stop near southwest Rockford. Detectives identified 27-year-old Jordan Spates of Rockford as a suspect. They conducted a massive manhunt much of Saturday in wooded areas near the site of the shooting, including Klehm Arboretum.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Nearly 13 percent of Illinoisans do not have a high school diploma. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law Friday aimed at changing that. The new law will allow community colleges and non-profit organizations to set up “adult high school” programs where people over 21 can earn diplomas.

Currently, their only option is a GED. Rauner said this program will offer much more, including “more job opportunities, to better careers and higher wages, higher salaries for the people of Illinois who now have access to a high school diploma that they didn’t have access to before.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It’s been 24 years since a federal magistrate proclaimed the Rockford Public Schools had “raised discrimination to an art form” and ordered the schools to desegregate.

The court remedy set up a system of school choice, which led to racially balanced schools. In 2010, the order was lifted and the district chose to return to “zoned schools.” Students now attend schools close to their homes -- but that has led to re-segregation.

Strong Sound!

Sep 18, 2017

STRONG SOUND = STRONGER STORIES

Use of sound sets public radio reporting apart. Always ask yourself what sound you can get as you are planning your story and how it will “take the listener there.” Not just for long, in-depth pieces.

Plan your sound. Discuss with editor. Brainstorm with co-workers. Ask the people you plan to interview what sound epitomizes the issue you are going to talk with them about. Then go to the place and decide for yourself.

Different types of “nat sound”:

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