WNIJ news reporter Susan Stephens wins trio of awards from Illinois broadcasters association

Susan Stephens

Susan Stephens

Susan Stephens of the WNIJ News staff has captured three first-place awards in the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association Journalism Excellence Award in the Downstate Radio division.

She was named Best Newswriter for the second year in a row.

Judges evaluate a sampling of the reporter’s writing in stories that aired in 2012. Stephens’ entries included stories about the horse auction at former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell’s ranch; the opening of “Rick’s Picks,” an exhibit of Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen’s memorabilia in Rockford; and a visit to Bing’s Drive-In, a summertime institution in Rockford.

Her lesson in tapping trees from Peggy Doty in Genoa’s Russell Woods Forest Preserve led to the story “Maple Sugaring in Illinois,” which won in the Best Use of Sound category.

A visit with Loves Park radio station owner Joe Salvi, “Fifty Years of Old-School Country at WLUV,” won in the Best Light Feature category.

“I’m fortunate enough to work at a radio station where this type of reporting is valued and encouraged, in addition to the important day-to-day news operations,” Stephens said. “Stay tuned for a lot more great work this year by our talented WNIJ news department.”

The awards will be presented Saturday, April 20, by the Associated Press at the Illinois News Broadcasters Association’s spring convention in Urbana. This year’s INBA fall convention will be held at Northern Illinois University for the first time in the organization’s 58-year history.

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