Four journalists win 2021 Studs Terkel Awards

Brandis Friedman

Four prominent Chicago journalists have been named recipients of the 2021 Studs Terkel Community Media Awards by the nonprofit Public Narrative.

Winners announced online Tuesday include: Brandis Friedman, co-anchor and correspondent for “Chicago Tonight” on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11; Karen Hawkins, co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader and founder of feminist media company Rebellious Magazine for Women; Maureen O’Donnell, reporter and obituary writer for the Sun-Times; and Michael Puente, reporter for Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM.

Named for the late Chicago author and broadcaster, the prestigious awards recognize excellence in coverage of Chicago’s diverse communities and demonstrate authentic storytelling in the spirit of Terkel’s gift for elevating people’s voices above power.

The 26th annual awards ceremony will take place online May 13 — three days before what would have been Terkel’s 109th birthday.  (Here is the link to register.)

Two additional honorees were announced for related awards:

Tonika Lewis Johnson, activist artist whose film “The Folded Map Project” dramatized institutional racism and segregation in Chicago’s neighborhoods, will receive the 2021 Uplifting Voices Award. The citation honors an individual – journalist or otherwise – who lifts the voices of people in Chicago communities.

Jamie Kalven, founder of the Chicago-based Invisible Institute and the independent investigative journalist whose reporting first brought the police shooting of Laquan McDonald to public attention, will receive the 2021 Ripple Effect Award, which recognizes a journalist anywhere in the U.S. whose work has had an impact in Chicago and beyond.

Kalven announced last month he’s stepping down as executive director of the nonprofit journalism production company he launched in 2014.

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Jeff Nuich: Congratulations to Kevin Cross on his promotion as President/GM of NBC 5, Telemundo Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago. I had the absolute pleasure of being Kevin's teammate for many years. He understands the essence of our city, has deep compassion for its citizens, along with a vast knowledge of the local media landscape. He will no doubt excel and provide quality leadership in his upcoming, expanded role.