NABJCC Board Members - National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter
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NABJCC Board Members


Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times, is a Chicago Sun-Times Urban Affairs Reporter/Columnist with 30 years in Newspaper, P.R., and Government. She pens the Sun-Times “Chicago Chronicles,” long-form columns on “people and places that make Chicago tick,” focusing on black and Latino communities. She is author of “Escape From Nigeria: A Memoir of Faith, Love and War,” a riveting tale of her family’s survival of the brutal Nigerian-Biafran War, and miracles that brought them to the U.S. as refugees in 1969. In 24 years with the Sun-Times, she has covered crime and inner-city issues, housing and education, politics and philanthropy. Weekend City Editor in 1997, she left to work as Gov. Jim Edgar’s press secretary for DCFS until 1999. She then launched the Ihejirika Media & Communications Group, managing media operations for members of the U.S. Congress, Illinois Legislature and City Council until 2003. Returning then to the Sun-Times, her numerous awards including the 2016 Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Award; and in 2015, the Studs Terkel Award and NABJ Salute to Excellence Award. A frequent guest contributor on WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight: Week In Review” and FOX-32’s “Good Day Chicago,” she has appeared as a political analyst on CNN, TV One, WBEZ and CBS.

 pic_art_normanVice President, Broadcast
Art Norman, NBC 5 Chicago, is a fixture on WMAQ-Ch. 5’s newscasts, retired from the NBC-owned station after nearly 30-years of broadcasting.  He is currently the Vice President of the National Association of Black Journalists Chicago Chapter; ten years ago he served as the organization’s President.  Norman joined NBC 5 Chicago as a general assignment reporter in 1982. In 1990, his initiative led to a NBC 5 News exclusive investigation of the Cook County Sheriff Department. During his career, Norman received six Emmys, a national Investigative Reporters and Editors Award and an Associated Press Award for “Best Investigative Reporting.” His other honors include a 1987 Wilbur Award given by the Religious Public Relations Council, an International Radio and Television News Directors Award, a 1978 School Bell Award from the National Association of Educators, 1976, the George Foster Peabody Award ” He won North Carolina’s RTNDA Award for his coverage of a fatal air balloon crash in 1975.  Prior to joining NBC5 in Chicago, Norman worked at WMAR-TV, Baltimore, WPCQ-TV and WSOC-TV, both in Charlotte, N.C. He began his broadcasting career in 1969, as a television engineer at WCCB-TV, also in Charlotte.  In addition to hosting numerous community events each year, Norman is a spokesman for the United Negro College Fund and served as an on-air host of its telethon. Norman holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math and Physics from the Johnson C. Smith University. He is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and holds a first class F.C.C. engineer’s license.

Vice President, Print

Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune, covers sports pop culture for the Chicago Tribune’s “Chicago Inc.” column. He has held a wide variety of roles over the course of more than 25 years in media, starting as a city government reporter at the Tampa Tribune before becoming a copy editor and later one of the first pioneers in digital journalism. He moved to Chicago in 1997 to join the Chicago Tribune’s early online newsroom as a sports producer. Start-ups and media innovation have been career themes, working for and helping launch RedEye, a tabloid targeted to 20-somethings, and leading The, a teen newspaper and journalism program, as its editor. The Norfolk, Va., native is a proud product of an HBCU (historically black college or university), Norfolk State University.

Vice President, Digital

 Arionne Nettles is a multimedia journalist and editor with a strong love for transferring business ideas to the world of journalism. Currently a digital producer for WBEZ, she previously held editor roles at The Associated Press and Chicago Defender newspaper, and spent seven years gaining experience in supply chain, digital marketing strategy, and freelance reporting before pivoting to journalism full-time.

Arionne is a proud MBA graduate of Florida A&M University and received a second master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.  She also works to teach Chicago-area teens the power of words through her organization, Write Chicago, and its “sicker than your average” writing workshops.

 Tony Smith is a meteorologist and news reporter. He has also worked in Miami, Omaha, Norfolk, Greensboro and Las Vegas. But Chicago is home for this weatherman. Tony is looking forward to working with other NABJCC board members  in order to bring together Chicagoland journalists dedicated to truth and excellence in newsgathering, reporting, and equality in the media industry. Tony encourages everyone to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Valarie West, Ret. Fox Chicago, has been the NABJ Chicago Treasurer for many years.  A long-time media professional, she was News Unit Business Manager for Fox Chicago for 16 years before she retired in 2009.  Valarie also worked at CBS for 10 years.