The 2011 Studs Terkel Community Media Awards

Past Winners and More About the Awards

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Studs Terkel Community Media Awards Benefit
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Claudia Cassidy Theater & G.A.R. Hall
Chicago Cultural Center – 77 E. Randolph

It’s one of the best parties of the year – a hearty mix of community activists, downtown policy experts, journalists and public relations folks. We will once again honor media professionals who, like Studs Terkel, bring the voices of ordinary people to mainstream attention.

There will be a silent raffle, and entertainment provided by The Curtis Black Quartet.

Host Committee Honorary Chair – Richard Driehaus

Linda Lenz
Founder and Publisher
Catalyst Chicago

The year was 1989. Chicago was about to select its first local school councils, and Linda Lenz, then in her 11th year as the education reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times, knew they would face a huge information gap – about education issues, promising practices, and even how the school system worked.

At the same time, Linda felt the need for a new challenge. And then, as she puts it, “the stars aligned.” She came up with the idea for a new publication and took it to the Community Renewal Society, which agreed to host the effort. Together they lined up backing from foundations that wanted a chronicle of this unique school reform effort and a place for councils to turn. Thus was born an outlet that provides in-depth reporting of education issues for all the communities working to improve the education system—parents, educators, community leaders and policy makers.

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Kari Lydersen
Freelance Reporter

Raised in the California suburbs, Kari Lydersen remembers reading Studs Terkel’s book “Division Street American” at the age of 11. “It was this old, orange hard cover, probably from the library, and I loved it, I absolutely loved it.”

Ten years later she’d find herself living in Chicago, not far from Studs’ Division St., reporting for StreetWise. She even had the chance to interview Studs early in her career. Kari can’t remember what they talked about, but she remembers that he was classic Studs—he told stories.

“The kind of empathy and wonder he has for regular people and his passion for bringing to life the stories of regular people has been something that inspired me, and I’ve aspired to do that myself throughout my career,” says Kari.

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Antonio Olivo
Chicago Tribune

The day Antonio Olivo knew he wanted to be a journalist was the day his blue-collar California suburb was featured in the Los Angeles Times. Prominent placement of a negative story about a local sniper during the L.A. riots convinced Antonio, a second generation Mexican-American freshly out of college, to think seriously about the stories of well-meaning people in communities like his that were rarely noticed. Shortly after, an internship at the L.A. Weekly Newspaper and then a job at the Los Angeles Times would kick off a successful career that eventually brought Antonio to the Chicago Tribune, reporting about issues ranging from housing and urban development to immigration and demographics.

For Antonio, being a reporter in Chicago is an intense experience that has taught him to “write more soulfully…because Chicago has such emotion in it.” When he worked in Los Angeles he noticed pockets of intense community and in New York he was amazed by the enormity of it all, but, he says, “Chicago has all of this pressed into one vibrant place.”

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Devin Katayama
Studs Terkel Scholarship Award Winner

Devin Katayama is an alumnus of Columbia College Chicago’s Masters in Journalism program. Originally from Northern California, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in English at CUNY Hunter College in New York City. While in New York he was a stand-up comic, but quickly discovered he wasn’t that funny.  He also came to the decision that it was much more fantastic listening to other people’s stories.

In San Francisco, he worked in law and as an EMT, then moved to Portland, Oregon where he worked as an after-school teacher while volunteering at a radio station. This is where he discovered story telling in sound.

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Read Chicago Reader columnist Michael Miner’s piece on the 2011 Studs Terkel Community Media Awards

Read more about the Studs Terkel Community Media Awards & view past winners

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