Nominations for the 28th Annual Community Media Awards are now open through March 7. The event will occur in person on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

Since 1994, the Community Media Awards have honored more than 120 media makers whose work is public service driven and authentically connects with communities. This year will be the first time in person for the Community Media Awards since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Click here to nominate someone for the Terkel Award, Uplifting Voices Award, Ripple Effect Award or People’s Choice before March 7.

At left: President and Executive Director Jhmira Alexander presents an award to Terkel awardee and longtime journalist and author Deborah Douglas at the 2019 Community Media Awards.

The Studs Terkel Award recognizes a body of work rather than a single article or series. Named for Chicago radio, television, and storytelling legend Louis “Studs” Terkel, the award is open to any Chicago-area journalist on any platform at any stage in their career. Candidates must demonstrate quality journalism and authentic storytelling. They must also be exemplary in Terkel’s gift of elevating people’s voices above power in their own practice. Once chosen by Studs himself, today, the Terkel Awards are selected by a committee of past winners. Past honorees include María Inés Zamudio, Bob Black, Jacqueline Serrato and Maya Dukmasova.

For the third year in a row, Public Narrative is opening up nominations to the public for the Uplifting Voices Award and Ripple Effect Award. Begun in 2014, the Uplifting Voices Award is presented to a journalist or otherwise who elevates the voices of people in communities in their work. Past Uplifting Voices Awardees include Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Aurie Pennick, Kevin Coval, and Tonika Lewis-Johnson.

The Ripple Effect Award, begun in 2019, is granted to a journalist anywhere in the U.S. whose work has impacted Chicago and beyond. Nominations will be evaluated and selected by members of the Public Narrative team. Past Ripple Effect Awardees include Michelle Duster, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Jamie Kalven.

And for the first time, we are presenting the People’s Choice Award. This recognition will go to one youth media maker and one adult media maker. This new category will be up to the public’s nominations. Although we have left it open for anyone to submit, we strongly encourage non-journalists across Chicago to nominate media makers who positively impact their communities.

Go to to recap the last awards ceremony, see the list of past winners and nominate candidates for this year’s Community Media Awards.