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sreeder (34K)

For the past six months, Mr. Reeder, Small Newspaper Group Springfield bureau chief, has been investigating teacher tenure in Illinois.

With about 1,500 Freedom of Information Act requests, hundreds of interviews and one of the largest media document searches in the history of Cook County courts, the project ranks as one of the most ambitious in the company's history.

Mr. Reeder opened the statehouse bureau in 1999 to provide custom statehouse coverage for the Illinois communities served by newspapers owned by the Small family: Kankakee, Ottawa, Moline and Rock Island.

He routinely uses a different approach to statehouse reporting by striving to show the impact of complex legislative issues on ordinary people. He also takes an historical perspective, looking at the effect of past legislative decisions today.

For example, The Hidden Costs of Tenure is an in-depth analysis of the 1985 school reforms, which were intended to bring greater accountability to the classroom.

Mr. Reeder grew up on a farm near Galesburg and during the past 18 years has held reporting positions with newspapers in the Midwest as well as Texas and Nevada. He received his bachelor's in journalism from Iowa State University and holds a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

He and his wife, Joan, reside in Springfield and have a daughter, Grace.

He can be contacted at sreeder@thehiddencostsoftenure.com, or at 217-525-8201.