Contributing Writer Bios

Steve Rensberry

Steve Rensberry is a St. Louis-area journalist with more than 30 years of experience in regional and community reporting, most of those as an editor. For 10 of those years (eight as editor) he wrote for and edited the Troy Times-Tribune, a paper with ties to the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon. He worked for nine years prior to that as news editor for the Hearst-owned Edwardsville Intelligencer in Edwardsville, Ill., the seat of Madison County, and held additional editorial positions at three newspapers belonging to the Belleville News Democrat weekly group. 
He was a columnist for the Greenville University student newspaper, The Papyrus; covered municipal government for the Alton Telegraph's bureau in Edwardsville; and freelanced for the Highland News-Leader prior to landing his first editor's job in the small town of Marissa, Ill. And the rest, they say, is history.
He holds a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communications/Political Science from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He studied sociology and philosophy while a student at Greenville University, and electronics at Fanshawe College, while living in Canada.
Apart from newspapers, Steve is a professionally-trained piano tuner and technician with close to 40 years of experience in the piano service industry. He was chief piano technician for one of Central Illinois' largest music retailers for many years. You can find out more at Rensberry Piano Service. Originally a sociology and philosophy major, he admits to having an undying obsession with the interlapping disciplines of philosophy, sociology, religion and politics, so if that's your cup of tea, some of his musings can be found on his philosophy blog here: Sentient Synergy. Ideas for columns/stories and civil feedback are welcome. Please respond to:

Cheryl Eichar Jett

   Cheryl Eichar Jett is a historian, playwright, and the author of six nonfiction books and over 100 published historical articles. She is a regular contributor to four print publications, including the popular national magazines ROUTE and Route 66 Magazine and an occasional freelancer for other magazines and newspapers. For the past eight years, she has written a monthly column for the Prairie Land Buzz, a regional Illinois publication. Her stage play, Aprons Away: Women's Work on the Mother Road, premiered in 2018 at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois. Cheryl is also an award-winning writer of short fiction. Her special interests are women's history, Native American history, Route 66 and Mid-Century architecture and culture, and U.S. politics.
   She holds a master's degree in history from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her M.A. thesis focused on the work of Southwestern American Indian Women in World War II.
   For many years, Cheryl enjoyed teaching music, before embarking on a second career working with historical and arts organizations. In 2000, she was one of the founding board members of the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association and has served on various other boards and advisory councils. She was the founder in 2015 of the Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference, an ongoing annual Illinois event.
     Cheryl grew up a political junkie, thanks to her parents, and volunteered for the John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns. She is looking forward to feeding her obsession with U.S. politics and current events with a regular opinion column here at Rensberry Publishing.
     To find out more about Cheryl and her work, visit: Route 66 Chick, or Aprons Away on Route 66. You can reach her by email at

James Grandone

   Jim Grandone provides public relations counsel to top decision makers at law firms, corporations and not-for-profit organizations to help them achieve their business objectives through effective public communications. Some of the tools he uses are press releases to business and trade media, developing website content, revising/editing company materials, creating executive/candidate’s speeches, achieving networking goals and creating a presence in social media.
   Having worked primarily with top-level business decision makers for most of his career, the breadth and depth of his experiences enables him to establish peer-to-peer communications with company leadership. He has become the trusted counselor to dozens of CEOs and elected officials in a variety of organizations. His relationships with editors, producers and reporters in print and broadcast media directly benefit his clients.
   He uses proven, professional public relations techniques and practices that he has found to be effective. His career is a record of exceeding expectations in generating stellar results for clients. He also has a unique, proven ability to successfully reverse undeserved negative reputations of organizations through working with decision makers to communicate directly with detractors in the news media or general public.
   His experience includes developing campaign strategies at the national, regional, county and local levels. His success rate with referenda and political campaigns is 85 percent.
   Jim is a long-time resident of Edwardsville, Ill. He was the architect of the 'East County...If You Only Knew' marketing campaign promoting the Metro East to businesses in St. Louis in the 1990s. Grandone holds a BA in political science from the University of Illinois at Springfield and was a Coro Fellow and serves on a variety of boards. He lives in Leclaire with his wife, Mary.

Submissions and Guest Op-Eds

Have you written an insightful opinion or analysis piece that you would like to see published on RP News? Send it our way for consideration! We support traditional news reporting and editing practices, favor AP style, avoid anything we consider libelous, and are open to all points of view as long as they are civil, fact-based, well attributed, and reasonable. Regular contributors should and will be paid -- some amount -- so please, let us know if your are interested and let's talk. Send any correspondence to     --  Steve Rensberry