We are immensely grateful to everyone who participated in and attended our 29th Annual Community Media Awards at the Claudia Cassidy Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center on Thursday evening.

2024 Community Media Award winners join past awardees and pioneers of Public Narrative on stage for a heartwarming group picture on Thursday evening. Photo: Tafari Melisizwe for Public Narrative

This year marked the 35th anniversary of Public Narrative‘s commitment to narrative change, and we celebrated the dynamic voices within our community.

President and Executive Director Jhmira Alexander celebrated this important marker by paying tribute to the co-founders of Public Narrative, Thom Clark and Hank DeZutter (1941-2022). During the event, Clark, now a founding advisory council member of the Investigative Project on Race and Equity, was recognized for creating PN along with late co-founder Hank DeZutter. They started the then-called Community Media Workshop at Malcolm X College in 1989. Collectively, Alexander and Clark reminded the audience of the organization’s origin and acknowledged the contributions of Clark, DeZutter, and many others who laid the foundation for an even more transformed Public Narrative. We express our appreciation to everyone who played a role in shaping this exceptional organization.

Our heartfelt appreciation also goes to our sponsors and media partners who made this event possible: Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing, The Joyce Foundation, the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities, and our media partner, WTTW.

Master of Ceremonies Cheryl Corley is our 6-time host of the Community Media Awards. Photo: Sulyiman Stokes for Public Narrative

We are incredibly grateful for NPR’s Cheryl Corley‘s commitment as our master of ceremonies, whose presence always adds a special touch to the evening.

This year was particularly special as we recognized the 30th anniversary of Cheryl receiving the inaugural Studs Terkel Award. Throughout the last three decades, Cheryl has narrated stories with depth and empathy, and her journalism has been community-driven, influencing and enlightening us.

The Studs Terkel Award represents her unwavering commitment to elevating critical voices and narratives as a storyteller, mentor, and professional — a beautiful human who uses her organic curiosity with care. She inspires so many in media in Chicago and beyond. She is a Terkerlian icon in media and a treasured member of our awards family.

We also want to thank our dedicated volunteers, Felicia Oliver and Tera Alexander, and our Public Narrative administrator, Erica Bell, for their unwavering support.

Many thanks to DJ FINDING IJEOMA (Alexandria Eregbu) for setting the perfect tone with her expertly curated tunes and to photographers Tafari Melisizwe and Sulyiman Stokes, who skillfully captured all the special moments with care.

We also thank The Sole Ingredient Catering for the beautiful display of complimentary bites and charcuterie and Drinks on Me Chicago, who provided our open bar and crafted a special Terkel cocktail for the occasion.

Congratulations again to all our awardees: Bill Healy, Josh McGhee, Darcel Rockett, Irene Romulo, Jacoby Cochran, Na-Tae’ Thompson and DeAnna Sherman, the Borderless Magazine team, and Dr. Shaniqua Jones of Purple Path, who we announced live won the tie to become this year’s People’s Choice Award.

Graphic: Olivia Obineme

We will share a photo album and recording of the event when ready. In the meantime, we have provided the PDF version of our program and some images of the evening on our social media for everyone to enjoy.

Thank you for being part of this remarkable evening. Here’s to the legacy of impactful community storytelling.

Learn more about the Community Media Awards.

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