The 2015 Studs Terkel Community Media Awards

Innovative storytelling and philanthropy, the hallmarks of the 2015 Studs Terkel Community Media Award winners

For more than two decades, the Studs Terkel Community Media Awards have honored outstanding media professionals for excellent work in covering Chicago’s diverse communities. The winners are those who went the extra mile in sourcing stories, finding neighborhoods voices and putting issues into a thoughtful context.

This year’s winner’s are no different. They show that storytelling excellence is alive and well in Chicago, and is not bound to a particular platform, spanning work in print, on air and of course, online.

And the winners are…

Columbia Links Spring 2015 CohortColumbia Links, Columbia College Chicago, Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship Award Winner. Columbia Links is a journalism skills and leadership program for Chicago teens and teachers, housed at Columbia College Chicago. Through workshops, mentoring, and the creation of youth-produced publications, Links works to build expertise, relationships, skills and opportunities that connect students, teachers and volunteers through journalism, in the process revitalizing youth media in Chicago. Columbia Links will award the scholarship funds to one of their students this spring.

Sharon CohenSharon Cohen, Reporter, The Associated Press. Cohen is a national writer for The Associated Press. Her assignments have taken her around the country and have included news and feature stories including traveling economic coverage on the 2012 presidential campaign, the BP Gulf oil spill, Hurricane Katrina, numerous other natural disasters as well as reporting on urban, labor, political and military issues.

She has written about the nation’s immigration courts, the shrinking union movement, the impact of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the home front, the death penalty, wrongful convictions, drug sentencing and the juvenile justice system along with stories about Chicago’s neighborhoods, police, politics and public housing. Cohen is a native of Chicago and graduate of the University of Illinois-Champaign.

Darryl HollidayDarryl Holliday, Reporter & Producer, DNAInfo. Holliday is a reporter and photographer with DNAinfo Chicago and founder of Illustrated Press, an illustrated journalism production company. Before joining the team, Darryl’s work appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, The Progressive magazine and on WBEZ, among others. Holliday graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2011, where he worked as an Associate Editor for the Columbia Chronicle, covering issues of immigration, student debt, home evictions and general urban oddities. He has since covered crime in Chicago as well as the Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods on the city’s Northwest Side. Holliday is interested in the intersection of art, social impact and journalism, as shown through his work in journalistic and creative spaces. Holliday is an East Coast native and former “military brat” who has lived around the world. He considers Chicago something like an adopted sibling.

Monica EngMonica Eng, Reporter & Producer, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ. Eng is a Chicago native and longtime Chicago journalist. She is also a proud product of Chicago Public Schools–as are her siblings, children and parents. Starting as a copygirl for the Chicago Sun Times in 1985, Eng has reported and edited Chicago culture coverage for nearly 30 years. She covered food, leisure, ethnic culture and health at Chicago Tribune starting in 1996, and in 2009, she moved to the Watchdog team to look at these issues with a stronger investigative and consumer focus. She moved to WBEZ in 2013 to lend her voice to many of the same topics. She also launched a new food podcast there called Chewing the Fat. Eng has won various awards for her coverage of cultural and consumer issues. Her food writing has been nominated for five James Beard awards on topics ranging from the ethics of meat to why Chicago Public Schools serve kids nachos everyday. Prior to her career as a journalist, Eng worked as a construction worker in Nicaragua and a researcher in Uzbekistan.

Illustrated PressIllustrated Press. Illustrated Press is a multimedia production collective specializing in illustrated journalism and other storytelling endeavors. The Chicago-based group of professional journalists and illustrators fuse narrative non-fiction with shoe-leather reportage, all set to finely tuned sequential art. Founded in 2011 by DNAinfo Chicago reporter Darryl Holliday and Chicago Tribune graphic designer Erik Rodriguez, the group has since expanded to include Jamie Hibdon, a Missouri-born artist currently residing in Chicago.

Maudlyne IhejirikaMaudlyne Ihejirika, Reporter & Journalist, Chicago Sun-Times. Ihejirika is an Urban Affairs Reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times. A veteran news journalist with 27 years experience in media, public relations and government, she was born in Imo-State, Nigeria, her family emigrating here in 1969 as refugees of the Nigerian-Biafran War. Ihejirika began her career at the Sun-Times in 1986, where she spent 11 years covering issues from crime to politics, and was Weekend City Editor when she left the Sun-Times in 1997. She served as press secretary for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services under then-Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and subsequently launched the Ihejirika Media & Communications Group. In 2003, she left public relations to return to her journalism roots at the Chicago Sun-Times. Today, she is a frequent guest on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” and Vocalo Radio’s “The Barber Shop Show,” as well on CNN, TV One, WBEZ and CBS2.

Adele SimmonsAdele Simmons, Uplifting Voices Award Winner. President, Global Philanthropy Partnership. Simmons works to both strengthen the infrastructure that supports global philanthropy and to support sustainable cities. She co-chaired the Task Force that produced Mayor Daley’s Chicago Climate Action Plan and set up the Green Ribbon Committee which helps implement Mayor Emmanuel’s Sustainable Chicago 2015. She is a founder of Global Chicago and served as co-chair of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs studies group that produced The Global Edge: An Agenda for Chicago’s Future. She led the region-wide centennial marking the 100th Anniversary of the Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett’s Plan of Chicago and was the Vice-Chair of the regional planning group, Chicago Metropolis 2020. She helped to establish the Urban Sustainability Directors Network that brings together sustainability directors from 125 cities in the US and Canada and she manages networks of the Sustainability officers of Chicago’s global corporations, and of Chicago area universities.

Simmons is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Field Museum, the Synergos Institute, the Union of Concerned Scientists, CERES, the Environmental Defense Action Fund, and Marsh and McLennan, Cos. She served as President of the MacArthur Foundation and Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and as a senior officer and member of the faculty at both Princeton and Tufts Universities.


Thank you to all who joined us on March 12th for the wonderful celebration of Chicago’s best storytellers!