Awards

2022 Community Media Award Winners:

CMA winners 2022

We are excited to announce the winners of our 27th annual Community Media Awards! Scroll down to learn more about each of the awards and past winners. The winners of the 2022 Studs Terkel Award are:

  • Bob Black, Photojournalist, formerly Chicago Sun-Times & Chicago Defender
  • Maya Dukmasova, Senior Reporter, Injustice Watch
  • Jacqueline Serrato, Barrio Journalist & Editor-in-Chief, South Side Weekly
  • María Inés Zamudio, Reporter, WBEZ

The winner of the 2022 Uplifting Voices Award is:

  • Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Chicago Urban Historian & CEO of Chicago Mahogany Tours

The winner of the 2022 Ripple Effect Award is:

  • Michelle Duster, Author, Professor and Public Historian

Join us in honoring the winners on Thursday, May 12, at 5:30 p.m. CT on Zoom. Registration is free and open at tinyurl.com/CMAMay12.


Donations & Sponsorship

There’s no ticket cost for the Community Media Awards this year, which means more people will be able to attend. But that also means we’re relying on the support of those who are able to pay to make it happen. If you're one of those people, you can support us in one of two ways:

  • Click here to make an online donation in any amount.
  • Click here to learn more about becoming an event sponsor.

Your contribution will enable us to keep offering community-engaged events, resources and training—and continue to honor people-centered journalism for years to come.

Public Narrative is a registered 501(c)3. Half of our revenue is generated through our work. The rest depends on foundations, and people like you.

About the Awards

The annual Community Media Awards have been honoring community-centered journalism since 1994. Scroll down to see a list of past winners.

THE STUDS TERKEL AWARD

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

Criteria for the Studs Terkel Community Media Award:

  • Recognizes a body of work, rather than a single article or series.
  • Is open to any Chicago-area journalist on any platform at any stage in their career (this can go beyond bylines and include editors, producers or other 'behind-the-scenes' journalists).
  • Must demonstrate quality journalism, authentic storytelling and be exemplary when it comes to Studs’ gift of elevating people’s voices above power. 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.” Think of an investigative reporter who brings data to life via real people’s stories, or a radio journalist who tells stories about people you would never have otherwise met.

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


THE UPLIFTING VOICES AWARD (begun in 2014)

Criteria for the Uplifting Voices Award:

  • Recognizes a body of work, rather than a single article or series.
  • Is open to any Chicago-area artist, activist, writer, musician, educator, journalist, or community leader, on any platform at any stage in their career.
  • Must demonstrate examples of work that elevates the voices of people in communities. Think of people who use their own platforms, influence or access for the advancement of Chicago communities that are under-resourced and under-heard. Past winners include poets, activists, nonprofit leaders, and journalists.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT AWARD (begun in 2019)

Criteria for the Ripple Effect Award:

  • Recognizes a body of work, rather than a single article or series.
  • Is open to any journalist on any platform at any stage in their career (this can go beyond bylines and include editors, producers or other 'behind-the-scenes' journalists). Unlike the Studs Terkel Award, the Ripple Effect Award is not limited to Chicago-area journalists, but can include journalists from across the U.S.
  • Is granted to a journalist anywhere in the U.S. whose work has had an impact in Chicago and beyond. Must demonstrate quality journalism that has enlightened and inspired people across the country. Think of journalists whose investigative journalism changed policies, or whose engaging, well-researched stories shifted the public narrative around an issue.

Past Winners

2021

  • Brandis Friedman, WTTW
  • Michael Puente, WBEZ
  • Maureen O'Donnell, The Chicago Sun-Times
  • Karen Hawkins, The Chicago Reader & Rebellious Magazine
  • Tonika Lewis-Johnson, The Folded Map Project (Uplifting Voices Award)
  • Jamie Kalven, Invisible Institute (Ripple Effect Award)
Click here to watch the full ceremony. Note: The awards were postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2019

  • 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)
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Creator of 1619 Project, The New York Times (NEW Ripple Effect Award)
Click here to watch the full ceremony via CAN TV. Click here to see a photo gallery from the evening.

2018

  • 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.

2017

  • 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.

2016

  • 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.

2015

  • 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)

2014

  • 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)

2013

  • 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)

2012

  • 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)

2011

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

2010

  • 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)

2009

  • 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)

2008

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

2007

  • 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)

2006

  • 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)

2005

  • 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)

2004

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

2003

  • 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)

2002

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

2001

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

2000

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

1999

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

1998

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

1997

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

1996

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

1995

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

1994

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