(CHICAGO)— Chicago-based journalists Maya Dukmasova, Duaa Eldeib and Sylvia Snowden have been selected as finalists for the Chicago Journalists Association’s $1,000 Dorothy Storck Award, the organization announced Monday.
Work by the three was considered the best of this year’s entries by judges with the USA Today network. Dukmasova is being recognized for work published via Injustice Watch. Eldeib is a reporter with ProPublica, and Snowden hosts “Political Forum,” a weekly television show broadcast on CAN TV that features interviews with local legislators and political newsmakers. Only one will take home the $1,000 prize at CJA’s 84th Anniversary Awards Ceremony on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 6:30-9:30PM, in Rettinger Hall of the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St. Tickets are $100 for non-journalists and $75 for journalists.
The Dorothy Storck Award is unique in that unlike other award competitions, it annually honors two second-place winners, as the work of these journalists is too critical to judge slight differences in style.
Named for Dorothy Storck, the late syndicated newspaper columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner who passed away in August 2015, the monetary prize traditionally honored the best of the best in commentary/op-ed. The family of the longtime CJA member and her partner, former University of Illinois at Chicago Political Science Professor Dick Simpson, established the annual award in 2017 to honor a columnist sharing Storck’s dedication, impact and commitment to craft.
However, newsroom employees — including columnists — have been steadily declining at newspapers and magazines across the country. To combat the downsizing and constriction of the news industry, the Chicago Journalists Association revised this year’s contest to honor the best work produced by a woman, trans, femme or nonbinary (WTFNB) journalist in the Chicagoland area. The organization says the new focus further highlights Storck as a trailblazer, serving as a U.S. Air Force squadron commander and holding the rank of major before becoming a journalist.
Previous winners include Ismael Pérez, Chicago Sun-Times (2022); Deborah Douglas, The Emancipator (2021); Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune (2020); Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune (2019); Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times (2018); and Rex Huppke, Chicago Tribune (2017). Taking home finalist awards were Natasha Korecki and Scott Jacobs of online news sites Politico and The Week Behind (2017); Mick Dumke and Deborah Douglas of online news sites ProPublica Illinois and The Chicago Reporter (2018); Barry Rozner and Natalie Moore of The Daily Herald and WBEZ Radio (2019); Burt Constable and Laura Washington of The Daily Herald and ABC 7 Chicago/Chicago Sun-Times (2020); John W. Fountain and Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times (2021); as well as Rummana Hussain and Lynn Sweet for columns published in the Chicago Sun-Times (2022).
Headlining the Nov. 10 ceremony will be keynote speaker Shamus Toomey, publisher and co-founder of Block Club Chicago — the independent, journalist-run, nonprofit newsroom that launched in 2018 to cover neighborhood news in the city. Block Club was born following the closure of DNAinfo Chicago, where Toomey served as managing editor for five years. Before that, he was metro editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he supervised the team that won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. Toomey started at the Sun-Times as a general assignment reporter. He previously worked at the Daily Herald and the City News Bureau of Chicago.
Under Toomey’s leadership, Block Club received a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the McCormick Foundation, which helped the newsroom launch a new investigative team of reporters and editors to root out corruption, wrongdoing and inequality on the South and West sides.
Hosting the 84th annual event will be Brandon Pope, an award-winning and Emmy Award-nominated journalist, host, podcaster, media critic and columnist who has covered a range of topics from politics to sports. His work has been featured at CW26 Chicago, WBEZ, Entertainment Tonight, WGN Radio, WVON, WTTW, Ebony Magazine, Medium, REVOLT and the Chicago Sun-Times. Pope is currently the host of “On The Block: Powered by Block Club Chicago,” on CW26, and the MAKING podcast series from WBEZ and NPR. He is president of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.
The awards ceremony will also honor former ABC 7 Chicago sports director and anchor Jim Rose with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award and The TRiiBE’s multimedia reporter Tonia Hill with Chicago Breakout Journalist of the Year.
Rose joined the ABC 7 team in 1982 and became the face of the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. He covered some of the city’s biggest sports moments in his career that spanned more than four decades.
Hill, an award-winning journalist from the South Side of Chicago, primarily covers politics for The TRiiBE. Her thorough reporting has arguably further positioned the online news platform as a trusted, go-to resource for local political news and analysis.
Also being honored are 18 winners of the Sarah Brown Boyden Awards, selected as the best work this year in categories that range from arts and features to investigations, photography and sports. One of those 18 winners will take home a $500 prize awarded to the best of the best. Finalists will be announced next week.
Maya Dukmasova is a senior reporter at Injustice Watch covering judges and the courts. Before joining the organization in 2021, she was a senior staff writer at the Chicago Reader, where she began working in 2016. Dukmasova was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and has lived in Chicago since 2013. Her freelance writing has appeared in The Appeal, Places Journal, In These Times, Slate and The Trace.
Duaa Eldeib is a reporter at ProPublica whose work has examined the systemic failures that led to a stillbirth crisis in the U.S., the fatal consequences of delaying care during the pandemic and the plight of hundreds of children trapped in psychiatric hospitals, among other pieces. Eldeib’s reporting has sparked legislative hearings and government reform and has led to the release of young men incarcerated as juveniles then later sent to adult prison for “minor” offenses. Her series on stillbirths was a finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting.
Before joining ProPublica, Eldeib was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune, where she investigated police misuse of polygraphs in cases leading to wrongful convictions. Her stories with two colleagues uncovering children being assaulted and sexually abused at taxpayer-funded residential treatment centers was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting. Eldeib graduated from the University of Missouri with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and psychology and received a master’s degree in public policy from Northwestern University.
Sylvia Snowden is an award-winning journalist and host of CAN TV’s “Political Forum.” She has also written for Huffington Post, Ebony.com and Chicago Now. As a native Chicagoan who proudly hails from the city’s South Side, Snowden currently sits on the executive board of the National Association of Black Journalists – Chicago Chapter and serves as the Advocacy Committee chairman. Some of the topics she’s covered as host of “Political Forum” include the unique ways Chicago’s West Side youth experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, the battle between Democrats and Republicans over state-wide mask mandates, the 2020 Chicago Riots, the legacy of Black women in Chicago politics and Chicago’s 2023 mayoral race.
Join the Chicago Journalists Association for this annual celebration, where we will hear from Toomey, Pope, Rose, Hill and the Dorothy Storck Award finalists, and find out the winners of the $1,000 Dorothy Storck Award and $500 Best of the Best Award in the Sarah Brown Boyden competition.