Watch the playback of the 2021 Community Media Awards

sadie woods
DJ Sadie Woods

"Detachment has its place, but there are things that can only be learned about the world and can only be reported accurately, if you care."

Thanks to all those who joined us at the 26th Community Media Awards! To those of you who weren't able to watch live: Sit back, enjoy an amazing Chicago-centric DJ set by Sadie Woods (pictured above), and hear from 2021 Ripple Effect Award Winner Jamie Kalven (quoted above), Uplifting Voices Award Winner Tonika Lewis Johnson, and this year's class of Studs Terkel Award winners. Make sure to watch through to the end for a very special rendition of "This Land Is Your Land / Esta Tierra Es Tuya" arranged and performed by Sones' De Mexico's Juan Dies.

The 2021 Award Winners

2021 winners
Click here to read about the 2021 award winners

Thanks to our sponsors:


Many thanks to the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for supporting this event, and to sponsors WBEZ, Elevate, and our media partner, Chicago Public Square. Thanks also to our longtime supporters Michael Burke and Robert Charles, and to Paul O’Connor for sponsoring in remembrance of Sol Polk and Len O’Connor.

About the Awards

Louis B. “Studs” Terkel was not just a name to us, he was a mentor and a guiding star, from the founding of the organization in 1989, until he died in 2008. Presented annually, the Studs Terkel Awards honor journalists whose work follows the values of Studs' journalism. As Studs said in 2007, the award is meant for journalists who go the extra mile in reporting news “from the people who made Chicago, news that’s bottom up rather than up, down. … That’s what this is all about.” These reporters, editors, producers, videographers and photographers take risks in covering social issues by offering new or unusual perspectives, from housing to race to violence to health to education and beyond. The awards are given for a body of work rather than a single article or series, and go to journalists at any stage of their career.


The Uplifting Voices Award, begun in 2014, is presented to a person--journalist or otherwise--who elevates the voices of people in communities in their work.


The Ripple Effect Award, begun in 2019, is granted to a journalist anywhere in the U.S. whose work has had an impact in Chicago and beyond.


Begun in 1994, Studs Terkel Awards honor storytelling that centers Chicago's people. For years, Studs Terkel himself helped choose the recipients of the award and for years, he gracefully and graciously led the annual ceremony.

Today the Terkel Awards are chosen by the people that Studs recognized for their exceptional journalism: a committee of past Terkel Award winners.


At the end of each ceremony, we honor Studs Terkel by playing his favorite song: "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie.

Past Winners


  • Deborah Douglas, Managing Editor, MLK 50: Justice Through Journalism
  • Britt Julious, Freelance writer and editor
  • Jerome McDonnell, Reporter and former host of Worldview, WBEZ
  • Annie Sweeney, Reporter, Chicago Tribune
  • Jeff McCarter, Founder & Executive Director of Free Spirit Media (Uplifting Voices Award Winner)
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Creator of 1619 Project, The New York Times (NEW Ripple Effect Award Winner)
Click here to watch the full ceremony via CAN TV. Click here to see a photo gallery from the evening.


  • Kathy Chaney, Asst. Audience Engagement Editor, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Michael Spencer Green, Photojournalist, The Associated Press
  • Dahleen Glanton, Columnist, Chicago Tribune
  • Odette Yousef, Reporter, 91.5 WBEZ Chicago
  • Kevin Coval, Poet, Author, Activist and Educator (Uplifting Voices Award winner)
Watch the full ceremony here.


  • Cate Cahan, Editor, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
  • Steve Mills, Reporter, Chicago Tribune
  • Carlos Javier Ortiz, Photographer and filmmaker
  • Univision Chicago Newsroom
  • Terry Mazany (Uplifting Voices Award winner)
  • Yam G-Jun (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)
Watch the full ceremony here.


  • Lolly Bowean, Reporter, Chicago Tribune
  • Richard Steele, Program Host & Correspondent, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
  • Sarah Karp, Reporter, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
  • Cecilia Vaisman, Reporter, National Public Radio
  • Aurie Pennick (Uplifting Voices Award winner)
  • Khloe Richardson (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)
Watch the full ceremony here.


  • Maudlyne Ihejirika, Reporter & Journalist, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Monica Eng, Producer, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
  • Sharon Cohen, Reporter, The Associated Press
  • Darryl Holliday, Reporter & Producer, DNAInfo and The Illustrated Press
  • Adele Simmons (Uplifting Voices Award winner)
  • Columbia Links, Columbia College Chicago (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Steve Bogira, Reporter & Blogger, Chicago Reader
  • Alejandro Escalona, Web Manager, Telemundo
  • Steve James, Producer, Kartemquin Films
  • Gordon Quinn, Producer, Kartemquin Films
  • Katie Kather (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)
  • Fred & Nikki Will Stein (Uplifting Voices Award winners)


  • Megan Cottrell, Reporter, Chicago Reporter
  • Fernando Diaz, Managing Editor, Hoy Chicago
  • Dave Hoekstra, Reporter, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Lorne Clarkson (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Mick Dumke, Reporter, Chicago Reader
  • Maria Hinojosa, Anchor, PBS and Latino USA on National Public Radio
  • Chip Mitchell, Reporter, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio
  • Daniel Castro (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Linda Lenz, Founder and Publisher, Catalyst Chicago
  • Kari Lydersen, Freelance reporter
  • Antonio Olivo, Reporter, Chicago Tribune
  • Devin Katayama (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Kate Grossman, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Natalie Moore, Public Affairs Reporter, Chicago Public Radio
  • Progress Illinois
  • Mitchell Wenkus (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • David Jackson, Chicago Tribune
  • Alden Loury, Editor and Publisher, The Chicago Reporter
  • Scott Simon, National Public Radio
  • Thom Clark, Community Media Workshop
  • Hsin Yin Sung (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Tom McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Radio Arte, 90.5 FM
  • Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune
  • Karla DiBenedetto (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Mary Helt Gavin, Publisher, The Evanston Roundtable
  • Stephen Franklin, Labor and Workplace Reporter, The Chicago Tribune
  • WRTO 1200 AM, La Tremenda (Univision Radio Network)
  • Lilia Markarova (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Mark Brown, columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Renee Ferguson, reporter, WMAQ-TV/NBC5
  • Mary Johns and the Editorial Team, Residents’ Journal
  • Sean Patrick Fahey (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Tracy Baim, Windy City Media
  • John Conroy, Chicago Reader
  • Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune
  • James Weinstein, In These Times
  • Angela Caputo (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Alex Kotlowitz, Journalist and Author
  • Linda Lutton, Daily Southtown
  • Phil Ponce, Chicago Tonight, WTTW
  • Suree Towfighnia (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune & WGN
  • Jorge Mota, Channel 44, Telemundo
  • Tom Weinberg, Image Union, WTTW
  • Geena Gintzig & Meghan Just (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)


  • Shirley Jahad, WBEZ-FM
  • Phil Kadner, Daily Southtown
  • Curtis Lawrence, Chicago Sun-Times
  • WVON-AM 1450


  • Cornelia Grumman, Chicago Tribune
  • Martha Irvine, The Associated Press
  • Salim Muwakkil, In These Times and Chicago Tribune


  • Lee Bey, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Ira Glass, WBEZ
  • Teresa Puente, Chicago Tribune


  • Jon Anderson, Chicago Tribune
  • John White, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Laura Washington, The Chicago Reporter
  • Harry Porterfield, WLS Channel 7 News


  • Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune
  • Ben Hollis, Wild Chicago
  • Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Daily Defender


  • Don Terry, New York Times
  • Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times
  • John McDermott, The Chicago Reporter


  • Ray Suarez, National Public Radio
  • Achy Obejas, Chicago Tribune
  • Carol Marin, NBC Channel 5 News


  • Vernon Jarrett, Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times
  • Charles Nicodemus, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader


  • W. Newman, Chicago Daily News and Sun-Times
  • David Moberg, In These Times
  • Cheryl Corley, National Public Radio