By Maudlyne Ihejirika, Vice President/Print

(NEW ORLEANS) — NABJ-Chicago made out like fat cats this year at the #NABJ17 national conference’s Salute to Excellence Awards — with special Congrats due to NABCC Board Member Cheryl Corley, whose NPR work snagged three finalist selections then two of the coveted awards!

The Salute to Excellence Awards honors work from print, television, radio, online, photojournalism, and public relations. The competition is the only awards program that honors exemplary coverage of African and/or African-American people or issues exclusively. Winners were announced Aug. 12, at a gala celebration during NABJ’s 42nd Annual Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans.

Corley took first place in the Network Radio Feature category, for her piece, “50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. fought for Open Housing in Chicago,” as well as first place in the Network Radio Long Form category, for her piece, “The Driving Life and Death of Philando Castile.”

Two other Corley entries also made it as finalists: “Family Heirloom, National Treasure: Rare Photos of Black Civil War Soldiers,” and “The Last Remnants of America’s Free African-American Settlements.”

And it was a good year all around for Chicago radio, as NABJ-Chicago member Natalie Moore, with her colleague Andrew Gill, took first place in the Radio Top 15 Markets Features category, for their WBEZ Chicago Public Media piece,  “One Block, Zero Shootings: How One Mom Is Building Community In Englewood.”

In the Newspapers competition, NABJ Chicago member Derrick Clifton took first place in the Features Single Story category for newspapers under 150,000 circulation, for his Chicago Reader piece, “Daughters of the Revolution: How Queer Black Women Are Leading Chicago’s Black Lives Matter Movement.”

In the Television competition, NABJ Chicago members Gaynor Hall and Afua Owusu, with their colleagues Pamela Grimes and Mike D’Angelo, took first place in the Top 15 Markets Features Long Form category, for their piece, “Inequality in Chicago.”

Shout-out to Chicago’s Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism student Alyssa Wisnieski, for taking first place in the Collegiate Online News Reporting category, for her piece for The Medill Justice Project, “Crime and Punishment.”

Mary Mitchell is a columnist and editorial board member at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago also did well in making it into the three finalists selected in each category in the stiff nationwide competition, including NABJ Chicago member and Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Mary Mitchell for her series, “Jesse Webster: From prison to redemption,” and NABJ Chicago member Cheryl V. Jackson for her Chicago Tribune business piece, “When Building Your Business Means Hiding That It’s Black.”

Other finalists include The Chicago Reporter’s Jonah Newman, Matt Kiefer, Lauren Harris and Michelle Kanaar for their piece, “Settling for Misconduct,” WBEZ Chicago Public Media’s Shannon Heffernan for two of her pieces, “How cops and dysfunctional courts keep Cook County Jail inmates waiting years for a trial” and “Remembering a Video That Shook Chicago”; WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell for his piece, “Police Data Cast Doubt on Stop and Frisk,” and The Chicago Reader’s Spencer Woodman for his piece, “The Gross Gatherings: A Climate Fight on Chicago’s South Side.”

The NABJ Convention is the largest annual gathering for journalists of color in the country.

See all winners here:


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