Chronicle Media captured the top prize for non-daily publications in the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association’s annual competition.
With 15 awards, including six first-place honors, the Chronicle earned NINA’s Donald R. Grubb Award for Weekly Newspaper Publishing Excellence at Thursday’s annual NINA awards presentation.
Staff reporter Kevin Beese earned three first-place awards. He won top honors in:
- Spot News Photo — for his photo of a grieving mother who had lost her son in a Chicago police shooting. Judges’ comments were: “A mother’s grief is never easy to document. It is hard to watch and even harder to photograph.”
- In-Depth News Story — for his coverage of the battle to keep Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park open. Judges’ comments were: “Great lead. Thorough, easy story to follow.”
- Localized News Story — for his coverage of federal employees talking about the stress they felt during the government shutdown. Judges’ comments were: “Good sourcing and good quotes.”
Other Chronicle first-place awards went to:
- Bill Dwyer for Business/Finance Story for his look at the Hotel Zachary addition to Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood.
- Irv Leavitt for Columnist for his work, including his column “Leaving Chicago: Letter to My Daughter” Judges’ comments were: “This is a guy talking to me over coffee. Easy conversation, plus facts.”
- Karie Angell Luc for Video (included entries from daily publications) for her coverage of a protest demanding the resignation of then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Judges’ comments were: “Thank you for taking us inside a protest.”
Second-place honors for Chronicle Media went to:
- Tim Alexander for General Feature Story for his look at schools across the state being able to provide rescue inhalers for asthmatic children.
- Elise Zwicky for Social Issue Coverage for her work on Operation Prom Night’s re-enactment of a fatal drunken driving crash showing Pekin Community High School students the worst-case scenario of alcohol and drug use, and then getting behind the wheel.
- Dwyer for Sports Story for his piece on the Forest Park’s 50th “No Gloves National” softball tournament.
- Beese for Spot News Story for his coverage of Lori Lightfoot’s election as Chicago mayor.
Chronicle Suburban Editor Jack McCarthy earned four third-place awards. He was honored for:
- Design (included entries from daily publications) for his work with the Suburban Chronicle.
- Headline Writing for “House Party: Casten, Underwood sworn in as Democrats take command,” topping the story of U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood being seated in Congress and “Dismissal turns deadly: Shooting spree after man’s termination results in five deaths,” topping the story on the Henry Pratt Co. mass shooting in Aurora this past February.
- Historical Feature for his profile on the Frank Lloyd Wright Trails in the state, featuring more than a dozen structures created by the famed architect.
- Localized News Story — for his coverage of current and former students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida being at a Naperville town hall meeting to talk about the need for gun reform. Seventeen of the students’ classmates died in a mass shooting inside the school in 2018.
Also earning a Chronicle third-place award was:
- Beese for Spot News Story for his piece on Chicago Ald. Edward Burke being charged with extortion.
“It’s a tremendous honor for all the people who work so hard to make Chronicle Media a quality news operation,” said Rick Hibbert, publisher for Chronicle Media LLC. “I am privileged to work with such outstanding individuals.”
NINA’s Sweepstakes prize for non-dailies, the Donald R. Grubb Award, is presented by the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association and the Northern Illinois University communications department.
Grubb was chairman of the journalism department at NIU and a spokesman for suburban journalism.