National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter

NABJ National President Dorothy Tucker Receives Chicago Journalists Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Chicago Journalists to honor Dorothy Tucker with Lifetime Achievement Award; Kelly Bauer as Journalist of the Year’.” Read the complete story here)


Meet Our Members: Poinesha Barnes

Preferred Pronouns: She/Her

Occupation: Special Projects Producer, ABC-7

How I got my start: I started as a 9p producer in Pensacola, Florida!

Hobbies: Traveling & Writing Poetry

Song that’s guaranteed to get me moving: Missy Elliot, Lose Control





NABJCC Spotlight: Raven Hibbler

Occupation/Role: Publicist/Communication Specialist

How You Got Your Start: I started my journey in marketing and public relations after graduating from Columbia College Chicago. As a way to learn more about the industry, I decided to launch a freelance marketing and PR agency called Growth Public Relations. I focused on helping small businesses, nonprofits, and entertainers with strategy, community relations, and communications. While Growth Public Relations has always been the core of my work experience, I also spent time doing advertising for the Chicago Tribune and marketing and sales for start-up tech companies in the greater Chicago area. Each experience I’ve had has allowed me to extend my network and collaborate on projects to essentially make the world a better place. Whether it’s building campaigns to help organizations attract a more diverse audience or creating a storyline for clients that I can pitch to specific journalists, my overall goal is always to help others flourish.

Your Favorite Hobbies: My hobbies are cooking, reading, yoga, dancing and listening to music.

Song That Gets You Moving: A song that gets me moving is Lemon by Rihanna and N.E.R.D


Meet Our Members: Iisha Scott

Name: Iisha Scott

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Occupation/Role: Meteorologist at NBC 5 Chicago

How You Got Your Start: working behind the scenes in production at NBC 12 in Richmond, VA

Your Favorite Hobbies: Yoga, reading/audiobooks, and trying new restaurants.

Songs That Gets You Moving: Anything Beyonce


Meet Our Members: Afua S. Owusu

Name: Afua S. Owusu

Preferred Pronouns: She/Her

Occupation/Role: Executive Producer – Local Programming | Weigel Broadcasting Co.

How You Got Your Start: I started working in television at age 15 as a host and producer of Teen Talk, a community affairs television show produced by Comcast

Your Favorite Hobbies:  DIY home interior projects

Song That Gets You Moving:  “Don’t Stop the Music,” Rihanna



Meet Our Members: Samantha Thomas

Name: Samantha Thomas

Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Occupation/Role: On-Air Radio Personality at WVON 1690AM, The Talk of Chicago/iHeartRadio| Social Media Influencer

How You Got Your Start: I got my start working in (then) Market 135 in Missouri as an Overnight Production Assistant, then Assistant Director, then promoted to Morning News Producer. I then went on to work in news markets in Las Vegas & Chicago. I can honestly say I’ve done most of the jobs behind the scenes in TV News.:) My last Tv newsroom job was in front of the camera as an On-Air Reporter.

Your Favorite Hobbies: Working Out, Cooking, Traveling, and Shopping (that has to be a hobby, right?! lol).

Song That Gets You Moving: Oh! There’s 2😊

“Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige and “Where the Party at?” by Jagged Edge (ft. Nelly)


Meet Our Members: Shirley Descorbeth

NAME: Shirley Descorbeth


OCCUPATION/ROLE: Zone Producer, NewsNation (formerly WGN America), Freelance PR Consultant

HOW YOU GOT YOUR START: I’ve always had a fascination with media and learning about the world, but most importantly, the community around me. My first opportunity was a summer promotions internship at WGCI-FM Radio. Although fun, I learned through that experience, news and journalism would be a more fitting career for me. From there, I had two more internships, including at WGN-TV. My first on-air reporting gig didn’t come until years later after going back to school and getting a graduate degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. From there, I reported for TV stations in Iowa, and Milwaukee. Now I’m behind the camera curating top national and international stories/content in my hometown of Chicago. In the future, I’m hoping to be back in more of a storytelling role. I miss crafting a good story!

HOBBIES: Yoga/meditating, walking along the lakefront, hiking, writing, painting, exploring different cities

SONGS: Anything AfroBeats or Caribbean music

Meet Our Members: Exavier B. Pope I, Esq.

Name: Exavier B. Pope I, Esq.  / @exavierpope

Preferred Pronouns: He/Him

Occupation/Role: Host, SuitUP News / Legal and Cultural Contributor, ESPN Las Vegas / Owner, The Pope Law Firm

How You Got Your Start: I started in April 2011 for ChicagoNow with a Sports Law and Politics blog called Ex Posts Facto. Shortly after I went to a NABJ Chicago event at CBS 2 Chicago July 2011 and brought up my blog and booked several  TV appearances breaking down the NFL and NBA lockouts that summer. I was one of the few African-Americans in media breaking down the intersection of law, politics, and business with sports and how it impacts wider society . After Colin Kaepernick kneeled it there became a much bigger space journalistically for it, but I was one of the few voices in that space before it became mainstream.

Your Favorite Hobbies: Teaching yoga, vegan cooking, running and crosstraining, freestyle rapping, exploring new places to eat, drink, socialize in my West Loop neighborhood

Song That Gets You Moving:  Essence, WizKid feat Tems (Such a vibe)

Meet Our Members: Pat Arnold

Name: Pat Arnold

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers

Occupation/Role: PR consultant

How You Got Your Start: I began my career as an English and journalism teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. After completing graduate school in broadcast journalism, I landed my first job in TV news as a reporter in the Twin Cities. I became one of the first members of NABJ the day that my colleague and former grad school classmate Sam Ford returned from the organization’s inaugural meeting. Together, we founded the Twin Cities chapter of NABJ. After 25 years in TV news, I segued into public relations consulting and video production, which I consider to be “joyful work.”

Your Favorite Hobbies: Reading, writing, and bid whist

Song That Gets You Moving: To quote The O’Jays, “I love music, as long as it’s groovin’.”


NBC 5 Chicago Promotes Alicia Roman, Hires Iisha Scott


(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “NBC 5 promotes Alicia Roman to top weekday morning weather job’.” Read the complete story here)

Congratulations are in order for both Alicia Roman and Iisha Scott! Please check out the story for full details.

ABC 7 cancels ‘Windy City Live’ after 10 years of ‘great television’

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “ABC 7 cancels ‘Windy City Live’ after 10 years of ‘great television’.” Read the complete story here)

Ten years after it replaced “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on WLS-Channel 7’s daytime lineup, “Windy City Live” is about to get blown away.

The locally produced talk and entertainment show will cease production September 3 with its final airing as a Monday-through-Friday series, according to John Idler, president and general manager of the ABC-owned station.

Robservations: NBC 5’s Michelle Relerford follows Olympic hopefuls to Tokyo

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Robservations: NBC 5’s Michelle Relerford follows Olympic hopefuls to Tokyo.” Read the complete story here)

Calling it “the biggest assignment of my career,” WMAQ-Channel 5 morning news anchor Michelle Relerford arrived in Tokyo Tuesday to cover the 2020 Olympic Games for the NBC-owned station. “For more than a year, I’ve been following local Olympic hopefuls working hard to earn a spot on Team USA,” she said in a statement. “It is an honor to share their journeys, knowing that we could be witnessing history.” Through the closing ceremonies August 8, Relerford’s live reports from Tokyo will air during NBC 5’s 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. newscasts.


Congratulations to Tracy Brown for being named a 2021 Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program Fellow


(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Robservations: New WBEZ content chief wins Sulzberger Fellowship.” Read the complete story here)

Tracy Brown, who joined WBEZ 91.5-FM as managing editor in 2019 and was promoted to chief content officer of the Chicago Public Media news/talk station in April, has been named a 2021 Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program Fellow at Columbia University in New York. Endowed by the Sulzberger family to honor the late New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger, the program is designed to train leaders of news organizations and media start-ups to innovate and solve business challenges.

Congratulations to Aisha Jefferson promoted to full-time producer at the Audacy

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Robservations: New WBEZ content chief wins Sulzberger Fellowship.” Read the complete story here)

Aisha Jefferson, part-time digital content producer at WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, has been promoted to full-time producer at the Audacy all-news combo.




A great evening sponsored by NABJ-Chicago Chapter to celebrate “Summer Of 54,” a Black brewed beer honoring Chicago’s Black baseball legends. $1 from every pint sold at Haymarket supports Lost Boyz Inc, a non-profit in South Shore dedicated to mentorship and opportunity for kids. Thanks to all who attended!


Coley Harvey, Big Ten Network

Shakeia Taylor, writer at

Marshall Harris, CBS2 Sports Director

Jamie Nesbitt Golden, Block Club Chicago

Poinesha Barnes, Special Projects Producer at ABC7

Laurence Holmes, host at 670 The Score

Evan Moore, Chicago Sun-Times, NABJCC VP of Print

Jamal Collier, Bulls beat writer at Chicago Tribune

Congratulations to Deborah D. Douglass, the new co-editor-in-chief of The Emancipator!

Congratulations to all of the 2020 Peter Lisagor Award winners!

(The names of the NABJ members are in bold)


Best Multimedia Collaboration and Best Investigative Reporting-  
Linda Lutton, Andrew Fan, Alden Loury, Paula Friedrich, Aaron Allen, Ashish Valentine and Cate Cahan, City Bureau and WBEZ, “Where banks don’t lend”

Best Editorial Writing – Circulation more than 100,000
Lee Bey, Chicago Sun-Times, “Keep Mercy Hospital open” editorials

Best On-Camera Talent
Christian Farr, and WMAQ TV

Best Feature News Report
Tonya Francisco, Brad Piper, WGN-TV, “Policy kings”

Best News Specialty/Arts/Culture/Entertainment News/Feature or Series
Tonya Francisco, Brad Piper, WGN-TV, “Vee Jay records”

Best Individual Blog Post – Independent
Derrick Clifton, (Conde Nast), Derrick Clifton on race, LGBTQ+ rights and politics

Best Continuing Blog – Independent
Derrick Clifton
, NBC News THINK, Derrick Clifton on entertainment and online culture

Best Business or Consumer Reporting
John Lippert, Natalie Moore, Better Government Association, WBEZ, “Amazon’s massive Chicago-area expansion fueled by $741 million from taxpayers”

Best Food Coverage
Mike Sula, Karen Hawkins, Chicago Reader, Mike Sula on Chicago’s restaurant scene and “The year in pivots”

Best In-depth Reporting in a Community Newspaper
F. Amanda Tugade, Grace Del Vecchio, Kelly Garcia, Corli Jay, City Bureau and Austin Weekly News, “Chicago’s heated 2021 budget season”

Cheryl Corley to receive Headline Club Lifetime Achievement Awards at this year’s Peter Lisagor Awards

Cheryl Corley at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)


(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Cheryl Corley, Greg Kot win Headline Club Lifetime Achievement Awards.” Read the complete story here)

Cheryl Corley, Chicago-based correspondent for NPR, and Greg Kot, former music critic for the Chicago Tribune, have been named recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Chicago Headline Club.

The two will be honored at this year’s Peter Lisagor Awards virtual ceremony May 14. Presenting the awards will be Headline Club president Madhu Krishnamurthy and president-elect Amanda Vinicky.

Corley, who’s been a correspondent on the national desk of NPR for more than 25 years, previously was news director and City Hall reporter for Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM.


President of WVON 1690am Melody Spann-Cooper named featured guest for the Museum of Broadcast Communications’ 100 Year Celebration


Melody Spann-Cooper released this statement pertaining to the upcoming event:

I’m excited to be the featured guest on Thursday May 6th at 7PM CST at the Museum of Broadcast Communications as they celebrate 100 years of Radio. For me, radio is “The Original Social Media”.

As one of a few female broadcast owners and female executives in the nation, I am honored to spend this time discussing the future of broadcasting; women and equity in the industry; my father’s role as a pioneering broadcaster-turned-owner, and my book, “The Girlfriend’s Guide To Closing The Deal”, which chronicles my journey and offers a lesson to women (and men) on finding your voice in our media landscape.

Chicago has such a rich history of broadcast legends and legacy stations. The museum chronicles Chicago’s contribution to America’s media landscape. I’m honored to play a role in this rich history. Your $5 donation supports the efforts of the MBC. I hope you grab a glass of wine and join us virtually.

Link to register:

Congratulations to Brandis Friedman, Karen Hawkins & Tonika Lewis Johnson for being recipients of the 2021 Studs Terkel Community Media Awards by the nonprofit Public Narrative




(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Four journalists win 2021 Studs Terkel Awards.” Read the complete story here)

Four prominent Chicago journalists have been named recipients of the 2021 Studs Terkel Community Media Awards by the nonprofit Public Narrative.

Winners announced online Tuesday include: Brandis Friedman, co-anchor and correspondent for “Chicago Tonight” on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11; Karen Hawkins, co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader and founder of feminist media company Rebellious Magazine for Women; Maureen O’Donnell, reporter and obituary writer for the Sun-Times; and Michael Puente, reporter for Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM.

Tonika Lewis Johnson, activist artist whose film “The Folded Map Project” dramatized institutional racism and segregation in Chicago’s neighborhoods, will receive the 2021 Uplifting Voices Award. The citation honors an individual – journalist or otherwise – who lifts the voices of people in Chicago communities.

Tracy Brown promoted to chief content officer of WBEZ 91.5-FM

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Chicago Public Media promotes Tracy Brown to WBEZ content chief.” Read the complete story here)

Tracy Brown, who joined WBEZ 91.5-FM as managing editor in 2019, has been promoted to chief content officer of the Chicago Public Media news/talk station.

She succeeds Steve Edwards, who resigned to join Koya Partners, a Massachusetts-based executive search and strategic advisory firm, as managing director. The company has offices in Chicago.

Brown, a graduate of the University of Georgia, previously worked as deputy managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an editor at the Dallas Morning News. She also held positions with the St. Petersburg Times in Florida and The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.


Kevin Cross named president and general manager of WMAQ-Channel 5 and Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “NBC Sports Chicago boss Kevin Cross to head NBC 5, Telemundo Chicago.” Read the complete story here)

Kevin Cross, senior vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Chicago, has been named president and general manager of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44, Comcast NBCUniversal announced today.

The longtime Chicago media executive will succeed David Doebler, who is retiring June 1 after eight years in the top job at NBC Tower. In his new role, Cross will continue to oversee the regional sports network in addition to the two stations.


Donations to Eugene Stanback Memorial Scholarship top $3,800

The National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter is pleased to announce that donors to our scholarship fund in honor of the late ABC7-Chicago news photographer Eugene Stanback contributed a whopping $3,800 toward the “Eugene Stanback Memorial Scholarship.”

NABJ-CHICAGO extends its gratitude to all of his Chicago Journalism friends and colleagues!

Find more about Stanback, who retired in 2013 after 38 years at ABC7, and died of COVID-19 on September 13, 2020, here:

NABJ-CHICAGO has contributed $2,000 to the fund, bringing the total to $5,800, and we are offering two $2,500 visual journalism scholarships this year in Stanback’s name — among the $10,000 in NABJ-CHICAGO college journalism scholarships available to students this year!

May Stanback’s legacy continue to be a comfort to his family, colleagues and loved ones!

 Chicago broadcast legend Tony Shute announces his retirement

Congratulations are in order for Tony Shute, a longtime ABC-7 Chicago executive producer and former longtime NABJ-Chicago board member, who recently announced his retirement! We salute you for enduring efforts and legacy of excellence!



Congratulations to Tony Smith On His New Position With Black News Channel!


Let’s all CONGRATULATE @nabj_chicago VP/Archives Tony Smith (@nzanchor) on his new job at.@bncnews!

Tony is the new senior producer for daytime programming at the #BlackNewsChanel in #Tallahassee, FL. We’re so happy for him, while sad to see him leave the team!

As you all know, Tony has been an integral part of keeping the #NABJChicago engine chugging, serving dually as Board Secretary after Down South news outlets snagged another one of our board officers last year!

We’re so proud of you, Tony, and pray you Godspeed, success and contentment in your new gig! You’ll always be family! 🎉👏🏾🙏🏾

Will Jones Named Race & Culture Reporter for ABC 7 Chicago

Congratulations to NABJ Chicago board member Will Jones for his latest promotion! Jones was recently name Race & Culture reporter for ABC 7 Chicago. We wish him all the best as he continues to serve Chicago.

Charmaine Bey Named New Midday Host On WGCI 107.5-FM 

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “‘Black Ink Crew’ star Charmaine Bey named midday host on WGCI.” Read the complete story here.)

Charmaine Bey, who leveraged her popularity on the VH-1 hit reality show “Black Ink Crew: Chicago” into a radio career, has been promoted to midday personality at WGCI 107.5-FM, the iHeartMedia hip-hop station.

Starting on Thursday, Jan. 21, Bey will be on from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The midday slot on WGCI has been open since November when Frankie Robinson exited after five years.

Glenn Reedus Named Interim Editor and Publisher of The Chicago Reporter


Read the full press release from The Chicago Reader here.


Congratulations to Matt Harvey for winning a Chicago Review of Books award in the category of Story/Essay!

2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy® Recipient List

Congratulations to all of the winners! We’d like to especially highlight these stellar individuals:


Category #1-a Outstanding Achievement for News Programming – Evening Newscast: Larger Markets (1-50) (Award to the Team of Reporters, Meteorologists, Anchors, Producers, Photographers, Editors, Writers, Directors, and Assignment Desk Editors)’

• 10pm Newscast 5/28/2020: Cheryl Burton, Anchor; Alan Krashesky, Anchor; Doug Whitmire, Executive Producer; Mike Johnson, Alexandria Jud, Producers; Cate Cauguiran, Rob Elgas, Mark Giangreco, Eric Horng, Liz Nagy, Cheryl Scott, Reporters; Alyson Koch, Gregg Koch, Directors; Ann Marie Esp, Casey Klaus,
Mike O’Reilley, Deshaun Simpson, Editors; Kay Cesinger, Tom Greve, Writers; Laura Arroyo, Associate Producer; Josh Bryant, Olivia Estrada, Eric Siegel, Assignment Editors; Damon Carlino, Jeff Freeman, Patti Helmstetter, Mark Nordby, Dwight Payne, Derrick Robinson, Photographers. WLS


Category #6-m Outstanding Achievement for News Specialty Report/Series – Societal Concerns (Award to the Reporter/Producer)

• Wiser Than Their Years In Some of the Most Dangerous Ways: Irika Sargent, Reporter; Reed Nolan, Alfredo Roman, DeAndra Taylor, Carol Thompson, Robert Thompson, Tim Viste, Producers. WBBM


Category #2-a Outstanding Achievement for News Programming – Morning Newscast: Larger Markets (1-50) (Award to the Team of Reporters, Meteorologists, Anchors, Producers, Photographers, Editors, Writers, Directors, and Assignment Desk Editors) 

• A Little Something for Everyone: Dean Richards, Anchor; Aline Cox, Executive Producer; Paul Konrad, Meteorologist; Robin Baumgarten, Marcus Leshock, Larry Potash, Pat Tomasulo, Anchors; Nick Boyan, Ross McAbee, Natalie Skryd, Producers; Andrew Zuick, Assignment Desk Editor; Ana Belaval, Courtney
Gousman, Sarah Jindra, Reporters; Jeff Hoover, Segment Producer; Lisa Augello, Christine Tarver, Directors; Cris Allen, Jason Colon, Jay Congdon, Karen Hendren, Jason Krug, Writers. WGN


Category #8-a Outstanding Achievement for Documentary Programs – Cultural (Award to Producer)

• Chicago at the Crossroad: Brian Schodorf, Executive Producer; Afrika Porter, Malik Yusef, Executive Producers; Rahman Ayi, Malachi Gross, Ryan Kolegas, Victor Maggio, Linda Mensch, Burundi Partlow, Nathan Weber, Producers; Alisa Inez, Associate Producer; Phil Jackson, Debra Wesley, Co-Producers. Schodorf Media


Category #13 Outstanding Achievement for Special Event Coverage – Live/Edited (other than News or Sports)  (Award to the Producer/Host/Reporter)

• Countdown Chicago 2020: Mary Hynes Fournier, Producer; Matt Knutson, Executive Producer; Hank Mendheim, Senior Producer; Cathleen Karp, Coordinating Producer; Terrell Brown, Host/Producer; Ryan Chiaverini, Janet Davies, Mark Giangreco, Liz Nagy, Hosea Sanders, Cheryl Scott, Val Warner, Hosts; Jordan Arseneau, Alma Garcia Bello, Anthony Conway, Andrea Dres, Mike Janowski, Jina Mackin, Martina Platanias, Justyna Syska, Dawn Watkins, Producers; Stephanie Drucker, Rachel Pellegrino, Associate
Producers. WLS


Category #21-a Outstanding Crafts Achievement for On-Camera Talent – News Anchor
• Terrell Brown – Composite. WLS


Category #3 Outstanding Achievement for News Gathering – Spot News (Award to the Team of Reporters, Meteorologists, Anchors, Producers, Photographers, Editors, Writers, Directors, and Assignment Desk Editors)
• Chicago Unrest: Reporter Christian Farr (and the rest of the NBC 5 News Team)


NABJCC’s Glanton, Washington are Dorothy Storck Award finalists; RSVP for free ticket


(CHICAGO)— Chicago area columnists Burt Constable, Dahleen Glanton and Laura Washington have been named finalists for the Chicago Journalists Association’s $1,000 Dorothy Storck Award, the organization announced.

Columns by the three were considered by Northwestern University judges the best of this year’s entries. Constable, a news columnist, is a 39-year veteran of The Daily Herald. Glanton, also a news columnist, is a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Tribune. Washington, a national commentator with nearly 40 years in Journalism/Government/Nonprofits, is a political analyst at ABC7-Chicago and contributing columnist with the Chicago Sun Times.

Only one will take home a $1,000 prize at CJA’s 2020 Virtual Awards Ceremony, being held FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, streaming live via Zoom from 8PM-9PM CST. This year’s event is sponsored by Chase Bank.

For FREE Virtual Tickets, RSVP to: A Zoom link will be sent upon registration.

Named for Dorothy Storck, the late syndicated newspaper columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner who passed in August 2015, the monetary prize honors the best of the best in Commentary/Op-Ed. The family of the longtime CJA member and her partner, University of Illinois at Chicago Political Science Professor Dick Simpson, established the annual award in 2017 to honor a columnist sharing Storck’s dedication, impact and commitment to craft.

The NOV. 20 ceremony, being held virtually for the first time, will also honor lauded journalist David Jackson, Senior Investigative Reporter with the Better Government Association, with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award — recognizing an Illinois journalist exemplifying the highest levels of career achievement, courage and tenacity.

Headlining the event will be Keynote Speaker Chris Fusco, a respected veteran of Chicago journalism who was Executive Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times up until September. Now Founding Executive Editor of Lookout Santa Cruz, Fusco will provide industry perspective and speak on challenges impacting the industry.

Dahleen Glanton

Since joining the Tribune in 1989 from the Los Angeles Times, Glanton has held positions ranging from associate metro editor to national bureau chief in Atlanta. As a reporter, she covered some of the biggest stories of the past two decades, including Hurricane Katrina, President Barack Obama’s 2008 election and military families during the Iraq War. As a columnist, she encourages dialogue on topical issues such as race, politics and violence.Recipient of the Studs Terkel Award and Peter Lisagor Award, she has earned myriad other awards from entities including the National Headliners Club, National Association of Black Journalists, Illinois Associated Press Media Editors and Illinois Press Association. She won the American Society of News Editors Mike Royko Award for Commentary/Column Writing in 2018, and was a 2017 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary, cited by the Pulitzer Prize Board “for bold, clear columns by a writer who cast aside sacred cows and conventional wisdom to speak powerfully and passionately about politics and race in Chicago and beyond.” She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia.

Laura S. Washington

Washington, a former mayoral press secretary who served under the late Mayor Harold Washington, was Publisher/Editor of the nationally recognized investigative news outlet The Chicago Reporter from 1990 to 2002. She was previously an investigative unit producer at CBS-2-Chicago, and a correspondent with WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight.” She has written an op-ed column for the Chicago Tribune. Her Sun-Times column has been published since 2001. From 2003 to 2009, she served as Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University; and as Visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics in 2015 and 2019.Specializing in African-American affairs, local and national politics, social justice, race and racism, her myriad awards including two Emmys, the Studs Terkel Award, Peter Lisagor Award and the YWCA’s Racial Justice Award. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School, and was a founding inductee of Medill’s Hall of Achievement, as well as the Chicago Women’s Journalism Hall of Fame. Newsweek named her among its “100 People to Watch” in the 21st Century, and she serves on several boards, including The Field Museum and Block Club Chicago.

Who will take home the $1,000 prize? Tune in FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 to find out! For FREE Virtual Tickets, RSVP to:

Meet Public Narrative board chair, Marcus Betts

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Marcus Betts to chair expanded Public Narrative board.” Read the complete story here)

Marcus Betts, assistant vice chancellor for external engagement at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been named chair of a newly expanded board of directors at Public Narrative. He’ll lead board members Catherine Rabenstine, Ryan Schermerhorn, Anita Banerji, Katie O’Malley, Paul O’Connor and Katanya Raby in advancing the Chicago-based nonprofit group’s mission to provide media literacy services through projects, partnerships and training series under president and executive director Jhmira Alexander.

Congratulations to Chicago Reader’s new co-publisher Karen Hawkins

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Editor Karen Hawkins named co-publisher of Chicago Reader.” Read the complete story here)

Karen Hawkins, co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader, has been named co-publisher of the alternative newspaper. “I am so excited to be joined by Karen as co-publisher,” said Tracy Baim, who’s been publisher since 2018. “We worked together 20 years ago at Windy City Times, and have worked to pivot the Reader these past two years. Karen’s leadership and vision will provide a critical role as we seek to navigate the next few years in community media.” The new leadership structure coincides with the Reader’s move to a nonprofit business model.


Chicagoans Receive Nominations for For NABJ’s Salute to Excellence Awards

Several members of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists have been recognized for their stellar work by the national chapter via the 2020 Salute to Excellence Awards. Check out the nominations below. The 2020 Salute to Excellence Awards powered by FedEx , will kick off at 8 p.m. ET. It will be preceded by a pre-event reception at 7:30 p.m. ET. A post-event after-party with a live DJ will be held from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Tickets provide access to all three activities.


Television – Top 15 Markets – Feature: Short Form



The Story of Juneteenth

Afua Owusu, Brandon Pope

Company Credit: Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-TV/CW26 Chicago “The Jam,” Chicago, IL



Saving Chicago’s African American History From The Ashes

Carol Thompson

Company Credit: WBBM TV, Chicago, IL

Radio – Top 15 Markets – Documentary


How My Grandparents Helped Shape Chicago’s Blues Industry

Arionne Nettles, Alexandra Salomon, Jesse Dukes, Katherine Nagasawa

Company Credit: WBEZ, Chicago Public Media, Chicago, IL


Ida B. Wells’ Lasting Impact on Chicago Politics and Power

Arionne Nettles, Jessica Pupovac, Jesse Dukes, Katherine Nagasawa

Company Credit: WBEZ – WBEZ, Chicago Public Media, Chicago, IL

Radio – Top 15 Markets – Investigative


Missing Teachers

Sarah Karp, Kate Grossman

Company Credit: WBEZ 91.5 FM / Chicago Public Media, Chicago, IL

Digital Media – Interactive: News


MTV News: Need to Know

Terron Moore, Coco Romack, Dometi Pongo, Adam Murphy, Kelsey McLaughlin
Company Credit: MTV News, New York

Newspaper – Regional Over 100,000 – Commentary


3 Chicago Chronicles Columns by Maudlyne Ihejirika

Maudlyne Ihejirika

Company Credit: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL

Newspaper – Regional Over 100,000 – Feature: Single Story


A Century of Progress But Still an Invisible Divide

Mary Mitchell

Company Credit: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL

Newspaper – Regional Over 100,000 – News: Single Story


Rev. Leon Finney, Jr.’s Free Fall

Carlos Ballesteros, Tom Schuba, Jon Seidel, Rachel Hinton

Company Credit: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL

Newspaper – Regional Over 100,000 – Sports

This Story Needs a Happy Ending

Michael O’Brien

Company Credit: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL

Photojournalism – Videography


A Town’s Pride

Lauren FitzPatrick, Ashlee Rezin Garcia

Company Credit: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL

Podcast – Lifestyle


Jordyn Holman

Company Credit: Bloomberg News


Vaughn McClure 1972-2020

Vaughn McClure

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “ Vaughn McClure 1972-2020.” Read the complete story here)

Chicago sports media colleagues were stunned and saddened Thursday to learn of the death of ESPN reporter and former Chicago sportswriter Vaughn McClure.

He was 48.McClure died at home in Atlanta, according to ESPN, where he covered the Atlanta Falcons for NFL Nation. No cause of death was released.

NABJ Chicago Board Member Cheryl Corley  Recipient of Bradley University’s 2020 Distinguished Alumna Award

(Excerpt taken from Bradley University’s article entitled, “ALUMNI INDUCTED INTO BRADLEY CENTURION SOCIETY.” Read the complete story here)

For the university’s annual Founder’s Day, two alumni were virtually inducted into the Bradley Centurion Society. To watch the video announcement, released on Oct. 2 at 10 a.m., click here. Continue below if you wish to read about both of the award winners.

Cheryl Corley (pictured left). Cheryl is an award-winning journalist with National Public Radio. In her remarkable career, she has covered some of America’s most important news: Hurricane Katrina, the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the campaign and re-election of President Barack Obama, to name a few. Her current work largely deals with how women and young people are affected by the criminal justice system, what reforms are being proposed and the real and potential consequences to the public. Cheryl’s peers have recognized the high caliber of her reporting. She’s received the Herman Kogan Media Award from the Chicago Bar Association, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award and has been recognized twice for Best Business Reporting by the Chicago Headline Club. In addition, Cheryl has been named Best Reporter in Chicago by the Illinois Associated Press Broadcaster’s Association.

Access to opportunity is often the key to future success. Cheryl has worked with several programs to introduce young people to work in journalism. She co-created the Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program, which introduces young women in the 11th grade to the art of theater production and professional writing. Cheryl has served as a board member and president of Community Television Network, an organization that trains Chicago youth in video and multimedia production.

Cheryl graduated from Bradley cum laude in 1976. As an undergrad, she was a member of the speech team and Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She received the award for Outstanding Young Graduate in 1994, served on Bradley’s Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2017 and is also this year’s Distinguished Alumna.

Fox 32 Chicago Reporter Tia Ewing Speaks To Youth For  TSL Pro Session

(Excerpt taken from True Star’s article entitled, “‘Fox News Reporter Tia Ewing Closes Out The TSL Pro Session.” Read the complete story here)

Fox 32 Chicago Reporter Tia Ewing

Unfortunately, the True Star summer program has come to an end. But, we certainly went out with a bang. On the second to last day, Ms. Tia Ewing of Fox 32 Chicago News hopped on a zoom call for our Summer Session with the Pros series and dropped plenty of gems.

Ewing, born and raised in Chicago, started reporting in Flint, Michigan. She later moved to Sacramento, Cleveland, and finally back to Chicago. Ewing didn’t say a whole lot about herself but she certainly gave a whole lot of advice.

Early words were for people who want to become new anchors. She started by saying that news is not for the weak and that it’s not as simple as it seems. She also added that as a news anchor you should have compassion and integrity, especially when reporting deaths or anything of the sort. “Don’t let your personal life impede on your professional life,” Ewing said. She also told us to always be mentally prepared because as a news anchor you will always be under scrutiny.

Camron Smith Offers Tips To True Star Life About Sports Journalism

(Excerpt taken from True Star’s article entitled, “Camron Smith Shares Tips On Sports Broadcasting & Journalism.” Read the complete story here)

Sports Broadcaster Camron Smith

Camron Smith, sports broadcaster and founder of the Chi-Side, took time out of his schedule to offer advice on how career versatility leads to career longevity, and offered tips on the dos and dont’s of interviewing.

The first thing Smith talked about was his educational background and how he got where he is in his career today. Smith, a former True Star instructor, was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago. He said while growing up in the late ’80s and early ’90s he didn’t have many examples to look up to in areas like sports media, broadcasting, or journalism. Some of the few people who represented him in media were people like Robin Roberts and Stewart Scott.

As a former high school and college basketball player, Smith still wanted to be involved in sports after deciding that being in the game just wasn’t a part of his path anymore. From his sophomore year to his senior year, Smith had the chance to be involved in TV production. This opened his eyes to a world outside of playing professional basketball. These series of decisions led him to majoring in communications and specializing in radio and television.


Rachel Hinton named chief political reporter at Chicago Sun-Times

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “‘Sun-Times names Rachel Hinton chief political reporter.” Read the complete story here)

Rachel Hinton (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Just three years after joining the Sun-Times as an intern straight out of DePaul University, Rachel Hinton has been promoted to chief political reporter.

Chris Fusco, executive editor of the Sun-Times, confirmed Hinton’s meteoric rise in an email to staff announcing her appointment Wednesday. She most recently has been covering Cook County government.

“From chronicling the abuse suffered by a transgender prison inmate to providing timely political analysis about an embattled Cook County state’s attorney’s future, she’s been a team player who has played a key role in helping our newspaper hold power accountable and grow new readers,” Fusco said.

As chief political reporter Hinton replaces Tina Sfondeles, who resigned last month to join the Washington-based political team of Business Insider, the national news website.

A 2017 graduate of DePaul and former managing editor of The DePaulia, Hinton began as an intern and moved up to urban affairs reporter later that year. Earlier she also was an intern at the Chicago Reader. Hinton grew up in the far southwest suburbs and attended Plainfield South High School.


‘Chicago Tonight’ adds weekend shows to amplify Black, Latino voices

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “‘Chicago Tonight’ adds weekend shows to amplify Black, Latino voices.” Read the complete story here)

One of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak year for Chicago media has been watching Brandis Friedman’s star continue to rise on “Chicago Tonight,” the flagship news program of WTTW-Channel 11.

Friedman, who’s been a correspondent for the Window to the World Communications station since 2013, has emerged in recent months as the face of public television in Chicago.

While continuing as co-anchor (with Paris Schutz) of “Chicago Tonight” at 7 p.m. weeknights, Friedman is about to expand her role as the station launches two new weekend editions of the show.Starting the weekend of September 12, Friedman will host “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices,” at 6 p.m. Sundays. Hugo Balta, news director of WTTW, will host “Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices” at 6 p.m. Saturdays.

The two new half-hour programs “will offer a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts and life, entrepreneurship and innovation, and equity and justice across the sectors of our society and in the Black and Latino communities in Chicago,” according to a WTTW announcement today.

In addition to the weekend shows, a new monthly series bringing viewers together with activists and thought leaders will debut August 31. “Latino Voices: A WTTW News Community Conversation” and “Black Voices: A WTTW News Community Conversation” will air on the last Monday of the month at 8 p.m.

“Recent events have spotlighted the ways in which Black and Brown communities feel underrepresented and marginalized,” Friedman said. “These new series will allow us to explore the issues that matter to those communities, while giving those neighbors an opportunity to be heard.”

Friedman’s heightened visibility on “Chicago Tonight” can be traced in part to Phil Ponce’s reduced workload. After nearly two decades as anchor of the show, Ponce cut back to three days a week in 2018 and to two days a week in 2019.

“Still working Tuesdays and Thursdays but have been taking use-or-lose vacation time recently,” Ponce, 70, texted me last week. “Am loving the work Brandis and Paris are doing. Lucky to have them.”

Friedman has been on a fast track since Balta arrived in February as WTTW’s news director and executive producer of “Chicago Tonight.” He’s brought new energy and purpose to the show while continuing to benefit from the excellent work of Carol Marin and others.

Under Balta’s direction, “Chicago Tonight” has been laser-focused on the local impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide reckoning on social justice.“In ‘Voices,’ we will do what WTTW News can do best: present trusted analysis and authentic conversations with experts, community leaders, and our local politicians about the issues that matter to the Black and Latino communities,” Balta said. “We will unpack how current events impact the diverse communities that live and work in all of Chicago’s neighborhoods.”

Before joining WTTW, Friedman was a freelance news anchor and reporter at WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9, the Entercom all-news combo. She grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi, graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans, and received her master’s degree from The Journalism School at Columbia University in New York.Earlier Friedman worked for WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., and served as deputy communications director for the House Committee on Science and Technology.

Balta, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, and a graduate of Seton Hall University and Columbia Journalism School, previously oversaw editorial and production of weekend shows at MSNBC and was senior director of multicultural content at ESPN. He also is president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood to co-host mornings on ESPN 1000

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood to co-host mornings on ESPN 1000.” Read the complete story here)

David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood, two longtime Chicago sports/talk personalities, are teaming up to co-host a new local morning show on WMVP 1000-AM, the ESPN Radio station managed by Good Karma Brands.

Starting Monday, Kaplan and Hood will be heard together from 7 to 10 a.m. as part of a new Monday-through-Friday programming lineup announced today.

Kaplan currently hosts “Kap & Company” from 9 a.m. to noon, and Hood hosts “The Baseball Show” followed by “Under the Hood” from 6 to 9 p.m.

The addition of “Kap & J. Hood” will provide the station with its first local morning show in more than 20 years under ESPN ownership. In July, the network pulled the plug on syndicated morning hosts Mike Golic and Trey Wingo, whose show aired here from 5 to 9 a.m.

It’s widely believed that ESPN 1000’s ratings growth has been stymied by the network’s national morning shows. Rival WSCR 670-AM (the Entercom sports/talk station known as The Score) has been local in mornings since its inception.While ESPN owner Walt Disney Co. still holds the license for the Chicago station, it’s been under the management of Milwaukee-based Good Karma Brands since September 2019.

We are really excited to give our fans a chance to have a local interactive show starting at 7 a.m. every weekday,” Mike Thomas, ESPN Chicago market manager, told me. “From a local standpoint, it’s going to put us in a strong competitive position.”

Under ESPN 1000’s new weekday lineup, the first two hours of the new ESPN Network morning show, hosted by Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti, will air from 5 to 7 a.m.

Medill lecturer Arionne Nettles awarded IRE Educator of Color fellowship

Courtesy of Arionne Nettles
Medill lecturer Arionne Nettles. She was selected as one of nine journalists of color to receive the newly-created IRE fellowship.

(Story by The Daily Northwestern – Isabelle Sarraf, Copy Chief – July 15, 2020)

Medill lecturer Arionne Nettles (Medill MSJ ‘16) was recently selected as one of nine journalists nationwide to receive the newly-created Educator of Color Fellowship from journalism nonprofit Investigative Reporters & Editors.

A lecturer at Northwestern since 2018, Nettles has brought her expertise in digital storytelling to the classroom. Her work often focuses on cultural ties between art and issues from mass incarceration to education inequity. She’s previously worked as a digital producer at Chicago’s NPR station, WBEZ, helping develop its digital team.

The fellowships were created to help fund educators of color and their attendance at IRE’s data boot camps, which involve hands-on training on spreadsheet and database skills with a focus on how those skills can be taught in a college setting.

“IRE is fortunate to have this funding in order to support educators of color in the data journalism community,” a news release stated.

Nettles teaches interactive and multimedia journalism courses at Medill and said data is an important part of interactive storytelling.

Nettles said she is excited to bring back lessons from IRE to Medill and be “on top of the trend.” As a professor, she wants to teach lessons that can be translated into hard skills for internships and post-graduate jobs. Using data journalism tools at your disposal, she said, allows for journalists to be nimble and competitive in the current reporting atmosphere.

“Traditionally, you think of data as a separate class,” Nettles said. “We know that data needs to be integrated throughout the curriculum, that data is a part of how we have our facts and how we can show and improve what we’re reporting on.”

Journalism is often thought about in a very traditional way, physically reporting in-person, which Nettles said, in reality, can be inaccessible. She also said data journalism skills can “even the playing field” for journalists who are now remote reporting because everyone can access data — whether it be international students stuck in different time zones or disabled students that cannot accessibly conduct “man on the street” interviews.

Though Nettles is young in the business, Medill Dean Charles Whitaker said her talents as an instructor and her level of enthusiasm in the classroom have benefitted students.

Through the Educator of Color fellowship, Whitaker said IRE is helping ensure more individuals of color are going into investigative reporting. There’s been a perennial discussion, Whitaker said, in both Medill and the industry in general, to encourage and provide the tools for more people of color to go into journalism.

“There are all these horror stories about the industry dying,” Whitaker said. “We want to do a lot in the coming years both to expose more young people of color to the field but make pathways for them to enter journalism.”


Twitter: @isabellesarraf


Chicago sports reporter Russell Dorsey joins Chicago Sun-Times

Russell Dorsey announced on his Twitter account he has been hired as a sports reporter by the Chicago Sun-Times covering the Chicago Cubs.

“Now that it’s official, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be joining @Suntimes as  @Cubs beat reporter. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of an amazing staff. Thanks to @ChrisDeLuca and @FuscoChris for their belief in me and my abilities.”

Chicago Broadcaster Courtney Gousman Shares Her Future Plans

Chicago native Courtney Gousman recently announced her plan to move on from WGN-Channel 9. In Gousman’s own words via her Instagram page she shares what it has meant for her to live and work in Chicago along with her next destination in her stellar career.

Read the full post below:

When I returned home to Chicago 8 years ago, I never thought I’d be writing a post like this… But life is filled with surprises.
At the end of this month, I’ll be leaving @wgnnews to accept a position in Cleveland, OH! I am excited to announce I’ll be the new evening anchor for the 5, 6, & 11 newscasts at @news5cleveland!
Getting a dream job like this in the midst of a pandemic confirms God’s grace– and I am so grateful for this opportunity.
If you know me, you know how much of a Chicago kid I am, so I’m really excited about being able to stay in the Midwest, just a few hours down the road. It’s Lake Erie now instead of Lake Michigan. 😁
Chicago peeps, we’ve still got more time to cut-up and make memories. I love you, and appreciate how you’ve embraced me on-air in my hometown– it’s meant the world to me.

Medill inducts six women into its 2020 Hall of Achievement class

Alumnae represent the highest levels of accomplishment in their fields and show power of a Medill degree

NABJ-Chicago President Maudlyne Ihejirika, columnist with the Chicago Sun-Times, has been named among six inductees into the Medill School of Journalism, Media & Integrated Marketing Communications’ 2020 Hall of Achievement, Northwestern University announced June 10.

The all-female class celebrates 150 years of co-education at Northwestern.

Medill’s Hall of Achievement was established in 1997 to honor alumni whose distinctive careers have had positive effects on their fields.

“Northwestern’s 150 Years of Women is a celebration of catalysts — individuals who take risks, chart their own course and inspire change,” said Medill Dean and veteran NABJ Member Charles Whitaker.

“Each of this year’s inductees is a pioneer and innovator in her field. We are honored to call them alumnae and induct them into this year’s class.”

Other inductees were: Jeanie Caggiano, executive vice president and executive creative director at Leo Burnett​; Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Hollywood writer/producer Cindy Chupack; Mary Dedinsky, director of the journalism program and associate professor in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar; Los Angeles Times Sports Columnist ​Helene Elliott; and Kary Mcllwain, chief marketing and communications officer at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago​.

Ihejirika is an award-winning urban affairs columnist/reporter with 30 years of experience in journalism, public relations and government.

Recently named among the Power 25, an annual ranking of the 25 most powerful women in Chicago journalism, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Iowa before attending Medill.

She currently writes the Sun-Times “Chicago Chronicles,” long-form columns on “people and places that make Chicago tick,” and is the author of “Escape From Nigeria: A Memoir of Faith, Love and War,” a tale of her family’s survival of the brutal Nigerian-Biafran War, and miracles that brought them to the U.S.

President of both NABJCC and the Chicago Journalists Association,

Ihejirika was in 2018 inducted into the Hall of Fame at her high school, Downers Grove South, as well as the hall of fame at University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

She is a member of the Professional Advisory Board at the University of Iowa, and a member of the prestigious Council of 100 at Northwestern, which will honor the 2020 Hall of Achievement inductees at a spring ceremony at Medill in 2021, due to coronavirus precautions.


Felicia Middlebrooks leaves WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM after 35 years

Felicia Middlebrooks (Photo: WBBM Newsradio)


(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Chicago radio ratings: Middlebrooks exits with WBBM Newsradio on top.” Read the complete story here)

Audience shares declined from their sky-high levels in April for Chicago’s news and news/talk radio stations, but WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM continued to lead the market in May for the fourth consecutive month.Nielsen Audio figures released Monday showed the Entercom all-news combo No. 1 overall as well as in mornings, afternoons and evenings.

Felicia Middlebrooks, who signed off May 29 after more than 35 years as morning co-anchor at WBBM Newsradio, went out on top. Her replacement alongside co-anchor Pat Cassidy has not yet been named.Holding steady in second place was Chicago’s most popular music station —Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM — with Bob Stroud still reigning supreme as king of middays.

Chicago Sun-Times promotes Nykia Wright to CEO

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled, “Sun-Times promotes top execs Nykia Wright, Chris Fusco.” Read the complete story here)

The Chicago Sun-Times boosted two top bosses Friday with the promotion of interim CEO Nykia Wright to CEO and editor-in-chief Chris Fusco to executive editor.

“I am very happy for Nykia and Chris,” Jorge Ramirez, board chairman of the Sun-Times Media, said in a statement. “They have done a great job navigating a volatile business model in volatile times.

The Sun-Times and all of our constituents are lucky to have them.”Wright, 40, joined the company as chief operating officer in 2017 and was named interim CEO after Edwin Eisendrath stepped down in 2018. She previously worked as a strategic and financial marketing consultant.

The Atlanta native has an MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and holds a degree in business administration and finance from Carnegie Mellon University. She also has an international business certificate from the University of Cambridge in England.

In 2019 Wright was named among The Most Powerful Women in Chicago Journalism here.

Lolly Bowean recipient of the Anne Keegan Award

(Excerpt taken from Robert Feder’s article entitled “Lisagor Awards honor journalists in virtual celebration.” Read the complete story here)

Lolly Bowean, reporter for the Chicago Tribune, will receive the Anne Keegan Award for her “deeply-reported and beautifully-written stories” about life in the city’s African American community. “Bowen impressed the judges with her eye for detail, her sense of humor and humanity and – in true spirit of the Anne Keegan Award – her ability to capture the dignity and resilience of common men and women,” the judges said.

Congratulations to Amanda DeVoe!

Please join us in congratulating our VP of Archives, Amanda DeVoe! Amanda is the new morning Traffic Reporter at WKRG! She will be covering Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. She’s the best and we will miss her!


Chicago Journalists Association honors ABC7’s Cheryl Burton with Lifetime Achievement Award


CHICAGO (WLS) — Congratulations to ABC7’s very own Cheryl Burton!

Our Eyewitness News Anchor has been named the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Journalists Association.

In a big surprise, she announced the establishment of the Cheryl Burton Scholarship at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, which is her alma mater.

Each year, a girl and boy planning to study journalism will each receive a $5,000 scholarship.

CBS 2 Chicago Celebrates Newly Elected NABJ President Dorothy Tucker

NABJ Chicago Applauds 2019 Studs Terkel Award Winners Deborah Douglas, Britt Julious and Nikole Hannah-Jones




By  Robert Feder 

Robservations on the media beat:

Just days before ending his 25-year run as host of “Worldview” on Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM, Jerome McDonnell has been named recipient of a 2019 Studs Terkel Community Media Award. His Monday-through-Friday noon talk show on international affairs was canceled to make room for a new local talk show to air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting October 14. McDonnell’s last broadcast will be October 4. He’s expected to shift to reporting on energy and environmental issues for the public radio station.

This year’s other Studs Terkel Award winners are Deborah Douglas, managing editor of MLK 50: Justice Through Journalism; Annie Sweeney, criminal justice reporter for the Chicago Tribune; and Britt Julious, freelance writer and editor. Now in their 25th year, the prestigious awards are presented by Public Narrative, the nonprofit community media organization. They’re named for the late Chicago author and broadcaster. The group also will cite Jeff McCarter, founder and executive director of Free Spirit Media, with its Uplifting Voices Award, and Nikole Hannah-Jones, lead reporter of the New York Times’ The 1619 Project, with its first Ripple Effect Award. All six will be honored October 17 at Zhou B. Art Center, 1029 West 35th Street. (Here is the link for tickets.)



NABJ Chicago Celebrates Diversity: A Special Recognition of Dorothy Tucker

On Aug. 9, 2019, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) elected Dorothy Tucker, an investigative reporter for CBS 2 Chicago, as the 22nd President of the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation.

The election of Tucker, former NABJ VP of Broadcast and longtime Board Member of NABJ-Chicago, represents only the second time the position will be held by a Chicago native – the last time being 1977-79, when NABJ Co-Founder and legendary Chicago Sun Times civil rights
journalist Vernon Jarrett steered the national organization.

Co-Founded with a group of 44 men and women on December 12, 1975, in Washington, D.C., the NABJ will cost a hometown celebration of new Chicago leadership, whose mission is promoting diversity as a Fourth Estate.

“Highly respected within Chicago’s journalism and civic communities, Tucker, who joined CBS Chicago in 1984, is the ideal leader for our national organization,” said NABJ Chicago Chapter President Maudlyne Ihejirika. “Raised in Chicago’s Lawndale and Austin communities, Tucker has risen from reporting positions in Memphis, Denver and Pittsburgh, to her enviable position in our nation’s third largest market, and this brings to her leadership a keen sensitivity and understanding of issues that matter to the Black community, which NABJ serves.

On September 25, 2019, NABJ Chicago will honor Tucker with a program that includes awarding a newly-created scholarship, “The Vernon Jarrett/Dorothy Tucker NABJ Presidential Scholarship,” to a deserving broadcast student who attends a college or university in the Chicago

The event, which takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Per.So.Na Chicago Ultra Lounge, 408 South Wells Street, Chicago, Illinois. The event will also include a dinner and cocktail reception.

CBS-2 Chicago’s Ryan Baker and Audrina Bigos receive promotions


Official WBBM-TV release:

Ryan Baker is leaving his sports chair in favor of the anchor chair. Ryan will join Erin Kennedy at the desk to anchor our morning newscast. I’m happy to tell you Audrina Bigos will also join the morning team as our new Breaking News Anchor. Let’s also welcome Yasmeen Hassan to the morning team as our traffic anchor – Ryan, Audrina and Yasmeen will begin their new roles on September 30th.


South Side youths get surprise visit from President Obama

Former President Barack Obama surprised a group of South Side teens participating in the Obama Youth Jobs Corps program with a visit, sitting down to chat and listening as they shared their experiences, at the Obama Foundation offices in Chicago on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Provided by The Obama Foundation

By Maudlyne Ihejirika

A group of about a dozen South Side youth participating in a summer job corps program got an unexpected surprise Tuesday when President Barack Obama popped in on them during their visit to The Obama Foundation.

The former president sat down for a chat with the teens, participants in the Obama Youth Jobs Corps, a workforce-readiness partnership between his foundation and a national nonprofit youth development organization, Urban Alliance.

Obama spoke about the importance of job-training programs to creating opportunities for young people across Chicago, answering many questions from the teens and listening as they shared their experiences.

“Part of the goal of this program is to expose you to what’s possible,” Obama said.

“Everybody here has already shown extraordinary talent and initiative. All of you all are focused in a way that I can’t say I necessarily was when I was your age. So you guys are already ahead of the game,” he continued.

“Part of our goal is also to make sure that you recognize that even as you succeed, that the communities from which you come are going to need you to be active and involved and engaged and focused. Because all of us, as citizens and generally, have an obligation to make sure that we’re tending to the city we live in.”

The teens had come to the foundation offices to meet with Chief Engagement Officer Michael Strautmanis. Launched last year, the job corps program plans to bring year-long workforce-readiness training and internships to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors on Chicago’s South Side over the next five years.



It is the end of an era for the Chicago Defender with the historic organization, printing its final print copy this morning and shifting to a digital focus. Brandon caught up with leaders in the Black Press to reflect on its legacy.

It is important to note this is not end of the Defender as an organization. The company says no one is losing jobs from this, but having the paper itself to print its last copy ever today, still hits hard.

Soda Tax Debate Overlooks Sugar’s Sinister History

[Flickr/Photo by Victor]

The world has been a slave to sugar for so long that Cook County residents who are sour on a new penny-an-ounce sugar tax have missed the social justice implications of the measure.

While folks aren’t buying the health argument for taxing the ubiquitous substance directly linked to poor health, almost no one has made the connection to the role of sugar in creating systems of oppression that cause us to debate whether black lives (also) matter.

Sugar drove the slave trade. Everything from income inequality to unequal education outcomes are linked to how we handled things — or didn’t — after slavery ended, leaving white supremacy a part of everyday life.

“There’s definitely a relationship between sugar and slavery,” Josef Ben Levi, who teaches classical African civilization at Northeastern Illinois University, said of West Indies sugar cultivation. “The very foundation of France and its control of what became Haiti had to do with sugar. When Europeans got hold of sugar, they just freaked out.”

Now the Cook County Board of Commissioners has been cowed into considering repealing the sugar tax in October because folks can’t fathom freeing themselves from their unhealthy sugar fix. This controversy has also brought out an ugly provincialism among critics of New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s pro-sugar tax ad campaign, and has the characteristically unperturbed County Board President Toni Preckwinkle seemingly running scared for her political future.

Most of us are familiar with the role of cotton and slavery in making America rich. And whether we want to admit it or not, black bodies were the investment that enriched Southern states so much that they betrayed their country and fought a war to protect their investment in free labor. This ethos lives on in white supremacist violence and rhetoric, as debates over things like removing Confederate monuments keep these issues alive, with life-or-death implications for people on the losing end of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism.

The Napoleonic Wars brought sugar into the picture, paving the way for Thomas Jefferson’s negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase and manifesting a destiny of sugar cultivation in rich Louisiana soil. Slaves better not sneak a piece of cane because that was “eating up somebody’s money,” Ben Levi said.

British author Jim Walvin explores the link between sugar, the slave trade and modern-day health in his upcoming “Sugar: The World Corrupted, From Slavery to Obesity”: “There is a link between the history of African slavery and modern-day racism,” Walvin said. “For three centuries and more, the West treated Africans as things — bought and sold them as items of trade — objects and commodities. That image and attitude embedded itself in Western society. Viewing people as things formed the foundations of a deep-seated racist view, which survived.”

Walvin says slavery made possible the mass production and consumption of sugar, which early on was revealed to be bad for health, especially dental health.

“Yet at the same time it provided energy for low-income laboring people,” according to Walvin. ‘Sweet tea and coffee and jams helped them do their work, while rotting their teeth. Obesity came much later with modern industrialized drinks and foods.”

Cook County residents facing sticker shock when they go to buy a case of soda, or who now add a grocery stop when they go to Indiana to fill up on cheap gas, are so focused on their fix they cannot see their role in a historic and economic through-line—or their power to stop the scourge of sugar and what we’ve been always been willing to do to get it, beverage industry be damned.

It would behoove Cook County taxpayers to consider the devastating effects of high fructose corn syrup and other forms of sugar, according to Dr. Terry Mason, CEO of Cook County Department of Public Health. Among processed sugar’s harmful effects is the human body’s inability to metabolize it, creating scar tissue in the lining of blood vessels that can lead to strokes and heart attacks. When the liver can’t break down sugar, it turns it into fat.

Maybe folks are so high on sugar, they can’t remember when cigarette smoke wafted everywhere until public health policies seriously curbed smoking and where the nasty habit could occur.

“We know what the health issues involved with tobacco are,” Mason says. “We are at the same point with food.”

The fact that Can the Tax is dueling the Bloomberg ad for hearts, souls and ‘sweet tooths’ shows Mason is right. We’re living in a toxic food environment, and just because something is available on a store shelf doesn’t mean it should be consumed. The food and beverage industry is primed to spend big money convincing us otherwise. Businesses that profit from our poor health, like kidney dialysis centers, count on certain communities to get sicker than most so they can build more.

“Besides the fact the industry is throwing smoke over people,” Ben Levi said, “not only obesity but diabetes is waiting to happen—basically, death. Our community doesn’t realize the danger that’s involved in high-fructose corn syrup. It’s not even real.”

The truth is, we get upset at tragedies we can see in real-time, like carnage from storms and street violence. It’s the slow death that lulls us into complacency on pushing smart social policy. With the obvious health and historical implications of sugar consumption, one wonders why more taxpayers aren’t using their agency to embrace a tax with the underlying value that life matters.

Journalists and educators, it’s time to get to know each other

There may be no better time than now to help more working journalists and working educators get to know each other.

I came to this conclusion after moderating a panel at the National Association of Media Literacy Educators (NAMLE) conference in Chicago in June. NAMLE is a 20-year old international organization of about 4,000 members from across the globe — mostly researchers and educators. Even though I’ve worked in local media for many years, and spent the past year researching Chicago’s local media ecosystem with my colleague Andrea Hart, this organized group of educators was new to me. I’m sure I’m not the only journalist this would be true of.

“By the time the conference was over, I felt as if I’d just discovered a new army of advocates for the work of rebuilding local news.”

A lot of those advocates are right in my own backyard (and probably yours, too).

The educators spoke about wanting to arm students and parents with knowledge of the standards of quality journalism. Teachers said a lot of their students don’t believe anything they read or hear in the media. And over and over again, these educators said they don’t know how to engage local journalists in their efforts to empower students.

In our research of Chicago’s news ecosystem, we continue to come across innovators, youth-based organizations and new content providers. The rise of these innovative organizations is a huge opportunity for educators and journalists to work together to strengthen local news

For example, I moderated a plenary panel called “View From The Ground: Narratives From Within Chicago” with panelists who included a neighborhood organizer, two high school students, a reporter from a Spanish-language newspaper and the editorial director of a civic journalism lab. The conversation highlighted how so many people who’ve given up on the so-called “mainstream media” haven’t given up on being informed. Instead, they’re using new ways to get the information they need. What would it look like if these organizations collaborated with the media literacy educators in the room that are empowering students to learn fact from fake?

Across Chicago, as we have been hosting workshops and interviews in our research for Democracy Fund, Andrea and I continue to see people creating new content sources. Even neighborhood organizations have embraced their new roles as alternative content providers for their constituents. Other unique content providers from Chicago’s media ecosystem were seen and heard throughout the conference, including representatives from the Illinois Arts Council, local youth media groups, an internationally recognized award-winning film company, and even a 10th-grader from Elmhurst, IL who is a webmaster for Global Student Square, an international student journalism network.

Understanding the role of non-traditional media makers like these is a key part of understanding of how local news is created and consumed today, in Chicago and beyond.

But one sector was not as present. I did not see many local “traditional” media covering the conference. What a(nother) missed opportunity for journalists to understand the urgency to educate students and citizens about media. What a missed opportunity to identify potential collaborations.

Imagine the potential for newsrooms when NAMLE members are creating and testing so many models through their classrooms to help youth grow into engaged citizens. Many of these educators already have strong track records, and others want to learn what they can do.

In Chicago, and no doubt around the country, there are more opportunities to collaborate with these media educators, experiment and rethink community engagement and a stronger local media, together.

(Lead photo via CC/Justine Warrington

sheilaSheila Solomon is an award-winning former newspaper reporter and editor and has worked for the Hampton Monitor, Daily Press, Newsday, The Charlotte Observer and Chicago Tribune. Currently she’s a senior consultant in Chicago for Democracy Fund, and the manager of recruiting and internships at Rivet Radio in Chicago. Among her honors is being inducted into the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications Hall of Fame at Hampton University (Hampton, Va.) and the Ida B. Wells award, given by Medill and the National Association of Black Journalists. She just completed her fifth year as a judge for the National Headliner Awards, has been a lecturer and adjunct professor and serves on numerous journalism-related boards and advisory committees.

NABJCC 2017 Annual Meeting

Dometi Pongo is on the move.

He’s just been hired as weekend news anchor at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720. Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming at WGN, called him “one of the brightest young stars on the radio.” Pongo will continue as weekday morning news anchor on Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk WVON AM 1690, where he’s worked since 2013. The Chicago native is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. At WGN he succeeds Veronica Carter, who’s rejoining CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9 — this time as traffic reporter.

Goodman Theatre Hosts NABJCC – April 28, 2017

(April 28, 2017) Chicago, IL — NABJ-Chicago Chapter enjoyed our recent #NightAtTheTheatre, for the world premiere production of Goodman Theatre’s #ObjectsInTheMirror, a new play that opened this week, shining light on the global #refugeecrisis. It’s based on the life of #African refugee #ShedrickYarkpai, who fled his war-torn #Liberian homeland on a walking trek through three countries and #hellish refugee camps in #CoteDIvoire and #Guinea, before finally emigrating to #Australia. The play is the newest work of lauded Playwright #CharlesSmith and equally lauded #Goodman Resident Director #ChuckSmith. The playwright, a #SouthSide native, created this powerful work exploring identity, survival and sacrifices of assimilation after meeting #Yarkpai, an actor, in 2009.
Running thru June 4th, it’s a must-see, says #CHICAGOSUNTIMES Theatre Critic #HedyWeiss:…/paying-the-price-for-surviva…/
If you haven’t renewed your #NABJCC membership, you’ll want to do it now, so that you don’t miss events like this #NABJ first look!

Spring Fling Mixer 2017

(April 4, 2017) Chicago, IL — Area journalists joined at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company for a night of networking and conversation.

Fireside Chat w/ Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney

March 16, 2017

Hosted at CBS 2 Chicago, WBBM-TV & Moderated by Derrick Blakley, CBS 2 Chicago – Political Reporter

The NABJ-Chicago Chapter March meeting featured an amazing fireside chat with State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, first African American woman chief prosecutor in #CookCounty history.
Foxx, who became a national name when a grassroots movement helped her boot a two-term incumbent. During the meeting Foxx opened up about her first 100 days. Aside from the challenges and politics of her prominent position, #NABJCC got a deep dive into the personal story of this attorney who grew up in the Cabrini Green public housing and being homeless and living in shelters.

Veteran radio producer leaves the Windy City for D.C.

Sherman “Sherm” Murdock, former producer of WGCI’s “The Tony Sculfield and the Morning Riot,” leaves Chicago to produce one of Washington, D.C. top radio shows, “The Fam in the Morning” on WKYS.

He’s had a long career with Clear Channel Radio and was recently an instructor for the Journalism/Music Studio for Teens of West Englewood.

Murdock starts at the Radio One-owned station Feb. 21.

Follow him on Twitter: @SHERMradio.



NABJ Mourns the Loss of Longtime Journalist Ronald Wade

WASHINGTON (Jan . 27, 2017) – The National Association of Black Journalists mourns the loss of longtime journalist Ronald Wade, who died Wednesday after a brief illness. Mr. Wade was 62.

Mr. Wade was news editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he arrived in 2006. Journalists from across the country are remembering and celebrating a colleague known for his knowledge and kind spirit.

“I came to know Ron from his days at the Philadelphia Inquirer,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “He was a warm person and admirable journalist. He is remembered fondly across U.S. newsrooms for his friendship, kindness, precision to detail and strong journalism skills. He encouraged many young journalists along their career paths, and warmly kept in touch via Facebook. He will be truly missed.”

“I can’t put into words what Ron Wade meant to me,” said Marlon A. Walker, NABJ’s vice president of print. Walker was a reporter at the Post-Dispatch from 2010 until 2013. “He always made himself available to me, either as a journalist, a source of endless information or someone who had seen so much of this country and knew all the best places to eat!”

At the Post-Dispatch, colleagues remembered a dedicated journalist with strong intellect and news judgment, said Post-Dispatch Editor Gilbert Bailon.

“Our top editors trusted his decision-making and ability to respond to big news stories from the many nights of protest in Ferguson to major election nights. He was a backbone involved in coordinating coverage among the various desks and also overseeing the website in the evening,” he said. “But even more important, Ron was beloved because of class, grace and great sense of humor. He had a lot of authority to make important decisions. He did so with clarity of thought, strong reasoning and it was always done with great respect for the people involved. Ron never shied away from tough calls, but he did it with aplomb. Respect for him and his friendship with him spanned the entire newsroom. . . The personal and professional loss in our newsroom is huge. All of the Post-Dispatch journalists were blessed to have worked with Ron. And we all miss him dearly.”

His career began in the Chicago Tribune newsroom as a copy editor, and he worked in newsrooms in Louisville, Ky., Long Island and Buffalo, N.Y., Springfield, Va., Minneapolis and Philadelphia.

“This has literally been his entire life,” daughter Tasha Wade said by phone.

Mr. Wade received a bachelor of arts degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University.

In addition to Tasha, Mr. Wade is survived by his wife, Mollie, and six other children: Lisa, Sharon, Shawn, Aaron, Jaden and Deiontae.

Funeral services for Mr. Wade will be held in his native Chicago on Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at Sacred Memories Funeral Home, 2024 E. 75th St.