CHICAGO, Ill. — Public Narrative is excited to announce the newest cohort of the Studs Terkel Award for its 28th Annual Community Media Awards. 

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.

“Given the last few years we’ve had it, it will be nice to gather and celebrate great journalism in person among our peers here in Chicago and beyond,” says Public Narrative president and executive director Jhmira Alexander.

“Being able to gather in person signifies how we need to rally for journalism that lends to preserving democracy at a time where journalists are under fire for doing their job.”

The Community Media Awards recognizes stand-out talent in the local and national media landscape through signature categories: The Studs Terkel Award, the Uplifting Voices Award and the Ripple Effect Award. We also recognize individuals in our newest category: People’s Choice.

The Studs Terkel Award, the most anticipated accolade among Chicago journalists, was initially selected by the late Louis B. “Studs” Terkel himself. Since his passing in 2008, past award winners have taken on the esteemed responsibility of recognizing  Chicago journalists of any media genre who exemplify the values of Terkel’s journalism by elevating people’s voices above power. 

The winners of the 2023 Studs Terkel Community Media Award are:

  • Carlos Ballesteros, Injustice Watch
  • Jodi Cohen, ProPublica
  • Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica
  • Tiffany Walden, The TRiiBE

The Uplifting Voices Award honors an individual journalist or changemaker who elevates the voices of people in Chicago communities. The Ripple Effect Award is granted to a journalist anywhere in the United States whose work has had an impact in Chicago and beyond.

The call for nominations for the Ripple Effect Award has been extended and will close at 5:30 p.m. CDT on Friday, Apr. 14.

Learn more about the Ripple Effect Award and place your nominations here:

We will announce the winner of the 2023 Uplifting Voices and Ripple Effect awards on Thursday, Apr. 20.

The People’s Choice Award, our newest category, is based on the general public’s nominations for one youth media maker and one adult media maker. The winners of this award leverage authentic connections with communities to produce stories that shift existing harmful narratives.

The call for nominations for the People’s Choice Award will be closed at 5:30 p.m. CDT on Friday, Apr. 14. 

Learn more about the People’s Choice Award and place your nominations here:

We will announce the 2023 People’s Choice Awards winners at the ceremony in May.

All winners will be honored at an in-person ceremony at 5:30 P.M. CDT on Thursday, May 11, at Northeastern Illinois University’s historic Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood

Admission for the Community Media Awards is $150. Students can attend for free with proof of current school enrollment.

Go to the following link to register for the awards ceremony:

If you are a student or are purchasing tickets on a student’s behalf, please email Public Narrative’s team at with the subject “Student RSVP: 2023 Community Media Awards.” Again, you will be required to provide proof of enrollment.

Interviews with Public Narrative or the winners may be arranged by contacting Olivia Obineme at

About Public Narrative

Founded in 1989 as the Community Media Workshop, Public Narrative has been elevating community voices in journalism for more than 30 years. Building on that legacy, the organization facilitates training, programming and resource-building focused on cultivating media literacy, uplifting community voices in media, and shifting narratives around public health, public safety, and public education. For more information, visit or call 312-585-8633.