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Internet

Gary Smith has worked at the grain elevator at Okaw Farmer’s Co-op in Lovington, Illinois, for forty years. On his desk sit two computer screens, where he tracks corn and soybean prices online at the Chicago Board of Trade.

As he explains, trade moves fast: “Just bam bam bam, and within a few seconds it could change a nickel or a dime against your favor.”

Farm towns in Illinois could get access to high-speed internet with the help of new federal funding.

Nine companies are getting nearly $100 million from the Federal Communications Commission to bring internet access to small towns in the state.

The commission this week announced the subsidies, which are funded from a service fee on most internet and phone bills.

Wisper ISP, based in Mascoutah, Illinois, was awarded the largest grant, $35 million, to connect nearly 9,000 homes and businesses in southern Illinois.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The changing nature of retail is affecting cities' ability to provide basic services. As an increasing number of people discover the convenience of online shopping, cities are losing essential sales tax revenue, something internet sellers don't pay.

Staff / WGLT

A new phenomenon on Twitter is further blurring the lines between real and fake news.  Illinois State University's School of Communication SMACC is tracking around 80 different so called "alt" or "rogue" Twitter accounts. Nate Carpenter is the assistant director of media convergence and runs the SMACC lab.  While the so-called rogue accounts may provide factual information, Carpenter said to "pay attention to the message" to judge the reliability of the Tweets.