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Chicago Tribune editor Gerould W. Kern named Illinois Journalist of the Year, students honored

May 9, 2012
Gerould and Jewell Kern

Gerould and Jewell Kern

Gerould W. Kern, senior vice president and editor of the Chicago Tribune, was named Illinois Journalist of the Year at the NIU Journalism Banquet, held April 27.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ journalism program in the Department of Communication also named Eileen Norris as the recipient of the 2012 Donald R. Grubb Distinguished Alumni Award at the event.

Now in its 65th year, this annual event recognizes the contributions of current students, alumni and others to the fields of public relations, communication and journalism.

Kern, who joined the Chicago Tribune in 1990, was recognized for focusing the Tribune and its websites on investigative and “watchdog” reporting, which exposed political corruption and consumer health and safety issues.

Under his guidance, content sharing across the 13 Tribune newsrooms has tripled and digital staffing has increased, resulting in growth of the Trib Nation blog site, Trib U and Chicago Live!

Kern continues to pursue new initiatives, such as the Printers Row books supplement, that keep the Tribune at the forefront of innovation.

Past recipients of the Illinois Journalist of the Year award include Ann Cusack, Paul Hogan, Walter Jacobson, Clayton Kirkpatrick, Bill Kurtis and Mike Royko.

Eileen Norris

Eileen Norris

Norris began her career in journalism as a police reporter for the Northern Star.

She has held positions with Crain’s Chicago Business, the Suburban Tribune and the American Medical Association, where she was senior editor of the AMA Encyclopedia of Medicine and served as contributing writer and/or editor of six general interest health books.

Norris has assisted with health-related columns for, Prevention magazine, the Harvard Health Letter, Newsweek and the Chicago Tribune. She was managing editor for the best seller, “You: The Smart Patient,” by Drs. Mehmet  Oz and Mike Roizen.

Norris currently works as a consultant and provides editorial services and content for books, magazines, newsletters and other projects.

Ruby Grubb, wife of the late Donald R. Grubb who established and led the Journalism Department and founded the NIU-based Northern Illinois Newspaper Association, was acknowledged for her long- standing commitment to the program and its students.

Northern Star adviser and communication instructor Jim Killam also was honored for his contributions to the nationally recognized, award-winning student newspaper. Killam, who has been adviser to the Northern Star since 1995, is leaving the university to pursue a mission-based ministry along with his wife, Lauren.

The following student award winners and scholarship recipients were also named at the banquet:

  • Inducted into the Quintus C. Wilson Chapter of the Kappa Tau Alpha (KTA) National Honor Society in Journalism and Mass Communication: Jessica Cabe and Melissa Mastrogiovanni
  • KTA Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Melissa Mastrogiovanni
  • Sara Barr Cohen Public Relations Award: Jennifer Beshansky
  • George M. Crowson Public Relations Award: Colleen Krohn
  • Contact Communications Award: Ellen Kamps
  • Outstanding Member Recognition – Public Relations Student Society of America: Katie Wallace
  • Northern Television Center Broadcast News Reporter of the Year: Jorge Rodas
  • Northern Television Center Weathercaster of the Year: Nicole Gill
  • Northern Television Center Sportscaster of the Year: Eli Gehn
  • Northern Television Center Graduate Student of the Year: Byron Czopek
  • Northern Star Most Dedicated Staffer: Marcy Morris
  • Roy G. Campbell “Best Damn Reporter” Award: Kelly Bauer
  • Ryan Byrne Award: Jimmy Johnson
  • David Onak Memorial Scholarship: Lindsey Diehl
  • Campbell-Thompson Northern Star Scholarship: Kelly Bauer
  • Tom Fullmer Editing Award: Kim Skibinski
  • Ann Nelson Nahas Scholarship: Brian Singer
  • NIU Media Award: Mitch Kazuk
  • Kenneth Smith Scholarship: Jennifer Beshansky
  • Donald R. Grubb Scholarship: Eli Gehn
  • Granville and Eleanor Price Scholarship: Chelsey Boutan
  • Scripps Newspaper League Scholarship: Kristin Cwynar
  • John Clogston Memorial Scholarship: Kathryn Minnitti
  • Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Donald F. Brod Scholarship: Kathleen Finlon
  • Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Donald R. Grubb Scholarship: Daniel Pritchett
  • Illinois Journalist of the Year Student Scholarship: Jessica Cabe
  • Combined Award – College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award, Journalism Area Coordinator’s Award, and Communication Department Chair’s Award: Jennifer Irocky