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Chicago Journalists Association Upholds Journalistic Excellence at its 80th Anniversary Awards Dinner on November 15th

No society can remain strong and free without the Fourth Estate of journalists safeguarding the truth. There is no democracy without a free press. That is why I am honored to be participating in this Friday's 80th Anniversary Awards Dinner for the Chicago Journalists Association, detailed in full below. —Chaz Ebert

This Friday, November 15th, 2019, at 6:30 pm, at the Hyatt Regency, the Chicago Journalists Association will present awards at its 80th anniversary dinner celebrating excellence in journalism. Chicago-area columnists Natalie Moore, Barry Rozner and Mary Schmich have been named finalists for the Chicago Journalists Association’s $1,000 Dorothy Storck Award. Columns by the three were considered by Northwestern University judges the best of this year’s entries. Moore is a 12-year veteran of WBEZ-Radio who writes a monthly column for the Chicago Sun-Times; Rozner is a sports columnist and 32-year veteran of the Daily Herald; and Schmich is a columnist and 34-year veteran of the Chicago Tribune. Only one will take home the $1,000 prize. The dinner is being held in the Plaza Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive. Tickets can be purchased here.

The award is named for the late syndicated newspaper columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner who passed away in August 2015. A longtime member of the 80-year-old CJA, Storck's family and her fiancé, University of Illinois at Chicago Political Science Professor Dick Simpson, in 2017 established the annual award to honor a Chicago area print, broadcast or digital columnist sharing Storck’s dedication, impact and commitment to craft. Previous winners of the Dorothy Storck Award were Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown in 2018 and Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke in 2017. This year’s Dorothy Storck Award will be given for the best news or features column published July 2018 to July 2019.

Cheryl Burton, the Chicago native and 12-time Emmy Award-winning ABC 7 Chicago Anchor/Reporter who helms two of the #1 rated newscasts in Chicago, will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim Kirk, Publisher/Executive Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business will serve as the keynote speaker.

Hosting the 80th anniversary event will be four-time Emmy Award winner Lourdes Duarte, Co-Anchor of WGN-TV’s evening news at 4pm. Duarte, a 12-year veteran of WGN, previously co-anchored the top-rated WGN Morning News and reported for WGN News at Nine. Widely recognized for her volunteer work and engagement with Chicago’s minority communities, Duarte also hosts WGN’s public affairs program, “Adelante Chicago.” Honored by DePaul University this year with the Distinguished Alumna Award for work that embodies the highest principles of journalism, Duarte started her journalism career as a reporter for Telemundo Chicago, going on to work in news markets throughout the country, including Miami, Indianapolis and Detroit before becoming one of WGN’s top investigative reporters.

Special guest Chaz Ebert, CEO of Ebert Digital LLC, which publishes this site,, will offer a special “In Memoriam” tribute to the late Mary Frances Fagan, a journalism major who served in the administrations of two governors and was a Spokeswoman for American Airlines. She passed away February 4th, 2018. In addition to publishing this site, Mrs. Ebert heads the Ebertfest film festival at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; is president of the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation and serves as a life trustee of the Art Institute, and member of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and the African American Film Critics Association. 

This year's event is sponsored by American Airlines, Chicago Community Trust, McCormick Foundation, Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Mary Ann Marsh/@ Properties, Matt Tierney/Guaranteed Rate, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Morris, DeSoto & State Communications, Inc., Hyatt Hotels and Ms. Linda Gerber.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the official site of the Chicago Journalists Association.

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