A photo of the exterior of the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Northeastern Illinois University is proud to host Public Narrative’s 28th Annual Community Media Awards. The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11 at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS), 700 E. Oakwood Blvd. in Chicago. 

Tickets for the ceremony are $150 for the general public. Students from any school can reserve tickets for free with proof of current enrollment by sending an email to info@publicnarrative.org with the subject line “Student RSVP: 2023 Community Media Awards.” Students under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 

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. This will be the first in-person gathering of the awards since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 “The Jacob H. Carruthers Center is excited to host Public Narrative’s 2023 Community Awards,” Interim Director of CCICS Akua Cason said. “Through our rich history and culturally relevant lens, the Center continues to cultivate academic scholarship, creative arts, social justice and more.”

The Community Media Awards honor media makers whose work is public service driven and connects with communities. There are four award categories: the Uplifting Voices Award, which honors an individual journalist or changemaker who elevates the voices of people in Chicago communities; the Ripple Effect Award, which is granted to a journalist anywhere in the United States whose work has had an impact in Chicago and beyond; the People’s Choice Award, which is based on the general public’s nominations for one emerging media maker and one established media maker; and the Studs Terkel Award, which is the most anticipated accolade among Chicago journalists. 

The award is named for the Chicago icon Louis B. “Studs” Terkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning oral historian, legendary radio personality and activist. Terkel himself chose the winners when they began in 1994 until his death in 2008. Since then, 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 2023 Uplifting Voices and Ripple Effect Award winners are Jamie Nesbitt Golden of Block Club Chicago and WBBM Newsradio’s political editor Craig Dellimore, respectively. 

The finalists for the new People’s Choice category are:

  • Josh McGhee and Ola Giwa, MindSite News
  • Jamie Nesbitt Golden, Block Club Chicago
  • Jorge Martinez, Cicero Independiente
  • Sylvia Snowden, CAN TV

Award-winning journalist and Communication, Media and Theatre (CMT) Professor Edie Rubinowitz is excited for Northeastern to host these awards. She feels the event will bring outstanding examples of journalists front and center to students, especially those she teaches and advises through her journalism classes and The NEIU Independent student newspaper.

“The journalists being honored with Community Media Awards truly have a finger on the pulse of Chicago communities,” Rubinowitz said. “They dig and dig and get at the truth while raising up voices that often don’t get on the front page. They are an inspiration to our students, some of whom are looking into pursuing a career as media makers. This is a great opportunity for them to learn more about what it takes to be in the field and do the job well.”

CMT is the main department sponsor of Public Narrative’s 28th Annual Community Media Awards. Other sponsors include the departments of African and African American Studies, Sociology, English, World Languages and Cultures, Justice Studies, Latina/o and Latin American Studies, and the Student Media Board.