AP hires Sara Burnett to cover Illinois politics

Aug. 20, 2012
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CHICAGO (AP) — Sara Burnett, an award-winning political reporter who has covered presidential campaigns and congressional elections in the battleground state of Colorado, has been hired to cover Illinois politics for The Associated Press.

The appointment was announced Monday by Central Regional Editor David Scott and Illinois News Editor Hugh Dellios. She will join a team of reporters, including Springfield, Ill., Correspondent Christopher Wills, in the coverage of state government and politics in Illinois.

"Sara is a journalist who breaks news, and that's the hallmark of our state government and political report in Illinois," Scott said. "She's a former cops reporter who brings a reporting approach honed on the street to city halls and state buildings, and we're thrilled she's joining our team here in Illinois."

Burnett, 38, is a former reporter at the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., where she covered politics and education after earning a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1998.

She moved to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver in 2005 and served as the paper's lead reporter on the 2008 presidential campaign as Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry Colorado since 1992. In 2011, Burnett joined The Denver Post and was again on the presidential campaign trail this year.

In Illinois, Burnett will be based in Chicago. She will join Wills, Springfield-based investigative reporter John O'Connor and Chicago-based reporter Sophia Tareen to craft the AP's report on one of the nation's most consistently intriguing state government and political scenes.

"She's smart and tough and has great reporting instincts, all of which came together in her excellent work on voting controversies in Colorado and digging inside FBI investigations," Dellios said. "We're really excited about her applying those instincts here in Illinois."

Illinois Chief of Bureau George Garties said the addition of Burnett will reinforce the AP's commitment to providing members of the cooperative with the best and most comprehensive coverage of the state's politics and government.

Burnett graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., in May 1995 with a degree in communications and Spanish.

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