Two WNIJ reporters have collected a total of three first-place awards in the annual Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters competition for 2016. The awards were presented Saturday, April 22, at the Illinois News Broadcasters Association (INBA) gathering in Urbana. There were 12 award categories in each division, and WNIJ News won three of them in the Local Radio Division. INBA is an organization of professional journalists from radio and television stations which serve Illinois audiences.
Jenna Dooley, host of All Things Considered on WNIJ, won in the Best Series or Documentary category for her series “To the Brink and Back” about the tragedy of drug addiction. The contest judges called Dooley’s series “a frank and unflinching look at a worsening crisis of health, humanity and social well-being.”
Senior Reporter Susan Stephens won in the Best Light Feature category for her heartwarming “A Humble Chore Could Change Lives,” about special-education students at Beloit Memorial High School who helped lower-income students learn how to do laundry. Stephens was also honored as Best Newswriter for the consistent high quality of her work in a wide range of stories.
WNIJ producer Jessie Schlacks was recently recognized by Northern Illinois University, where she studies journalism. She received the 2017 Dean’s Award – a combined award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Department of Communication – for her academic achievements and her contribution to media.
Staci Hoste, director and general manager of the station, congratulates the WNIJ newsroom: “Our listeners depend on the quality of journalism our newsroom delivers. It is rewarding to be recognized by our colleagues across the state, too. I congratulate Jenna, Susan and Jesse for their awards, along with the entire team of WNIJ reporters, who are working each day to keep listeners informed with information they can trust.”