Two CJA associate board directors snag Illinois College Press Association awards

The Chicago Journalists Association would like to congratulate two of its associate board directors for winning awards at the 34th annual Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) conference last month.

Photo courtesy of Stella Fanega

Associate board director Stella Fanega and her North Central College classmate, Deidre Ewers, received second place in best photography, while fellow CJA director Tyler Davis and recent Southern Illinois University graduate earned best news story.

“Taking 2nd place out of 22 was by far the best thing that has happened to me so far,” said Fanega, who conceived the idea for the photo. “It gave me hope that there is something out there for me after graduation.”

Following the ICPA’s political theme for this year’s photo contest, Fanega and Ewers’ image (pictured) featured a couple at the Consulate General of the Philippines just after they were approved as dual citizens. Davis’ story, about a popular Carbondale drummer who died while trying to save two Southern Illinois University students, appeared in the school’s student newspaper last April. 

“What we reported turned the whole complexion of a homicide investigation, catapulting a man from [a] tragic victim, an uninvolved bystander to a valiant hero,” Davis said. “I just thank those brave students for coming forward with their stories and trusting me to tell it.”

CJA associate board chairman Stephanie Choporis said she is extremely proud of Fanega and Davis. “They are always looking for new ways to hone their craft, so it’s great to see them awarded for their hard work.”

Fanega is currently a senior at North Central College and joined CJA’s associate board last summer. Davis received CJA’s scholarship in 2015 and has since been an associate board director. He is now a producer at The Des Moines Register.