Middlebrooks, Hinz to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at Lisagor banquet

Felicia Middlebrooks and Greg Hinz will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Chicago Headline Club’s Peter Lisagor Awards banquet for exemplary journalism May 8.

Middlebrooks has co-anchored CBS Radio/WBBM Newsradio morning drive news since October 1984. Hinz, who has covered city politics for 40 years, is chief political reporter, blogger and columnist for Crain’s Chicago Business. Their biographies follow banquet details.

Also at the Lisagor dinner:
— outstanding investigative reporting will receive a Watchdog Award, thanks to the Richard Dreihaus Foundation
— a journalist who gives voice to the voiceless will receive the Anne Keegan Award
— the $3,000 Les Brownlee scholarship will be announced for a college student, as will two $3,000 intern grants funded by the Chicago Headline Club Foundation
— AND Lisagor Awards winners will be announced and plaques will be presented to them

Buy your tickets now to honor these fine journalists at the 38th annual Peter Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism.

Awards will be announced Fri. May 8 at a banquet at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd. Cocktails at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.

$90 for Headline Club members, $105 for non-members, $900 for a table of 10 and $1,080 for a table of 12. Please reserve by May 1.

You may buy tickets online at

Or, email Aimee DeBat at chc.spj@gmail.com.
Mail checks to:
Chicago Headline Club/Lisagor Awards,
1349 E. Washington St., #408
Des Plaines IL 60016

Park in the adjacent garage for $10, get your ticket stamped at the Union League Club desk.

To review the list of finalists:

Felicia Middlebrooks has co-anchored the award winning morning-drive program for CBS Radio/WBBM Newsradio since October 1984, last year marking her 30th consecutive year in the highly competitive time slot. Her warm signature voice is synonymous with Chicago’s No. 1  morning radio newscast.

Middlebrooks’ 39-year career has been a string of firsts, including the first woman to work as a CBS Newsradio morning co-anchor and the first African American to hold such a position. She helped pave the way for women and minorities to co-anchor mornings at CBS Radio stations across the country.

Working her way through Purdue University as a steelworker, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. At 24, she was the youngest anchor hired at WBBM, following work at several stations in her native Northwest Indiana.

As a reporter, Middlebrooks covered Nelson Mandela’s 1990 U.S. tour following his release from prison as South Africa’s apartheid regime crumbled. She reported on the aftermath of Rwanda’s 1994 bloody genocide, civil conflict in Uganda and Congo, and President Barack Obama’s historic inauguration. In 2010, she embedded with the non-profit “Hospitals for Humanity” to cover Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

Middlebrooks’ work has been honored with several Edward R. Murrow Awards for Excellence in News, including for her series “Tuskegee Airmen: On the Wings of Courage”; an Associated Press best reporting award; and a number of Peter Lisagor awards for reporting.

In 2010, Middlebrooks was named one of “50 Women of Excellence” by the Chicago Defender, and World Relief gave her a Humanitarian Award for her work in Rwanda. In 2006, she was inducted into the International Press Club’s Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.

As an adjunct professor, she teaches journalism courses at DePaul University and Purdue University Calumet. Middlebrooks also runs her own production company, Saltshaker Productions, LLC. Her first documentary film, “Somebody’s Child: The Redemption of Rwanda” won first place for “Best Documentary Short” in the 2005 New York International Film & Video Festival.

Greg Hinz, as chief political reporter, blogger and columnist for Crain’s Chicago Business, is a must-read every day in Chicago and Illinois political circles. Hinz has covered politics in the city for nearly 40 years, matching insightful analysis with impressive source work and lively prose to break news and shed light on how law and policy is made, from City Hall to the statehouse in Springfield.

Hinz has written for Crain’s since 1996. His recent work includes revealing how then-candidate Bruce Rauner worked connections prior to his daughter being accepted into an elite Chicago high school, ties between the future governor’s firm and corrupt political fixer Stuart Levine, and the maneuvering behind the Illiana expressway. Beyond politics, Hinz focuses on policy issues that resonate far beyond the city’s business community, such as taxes, economic development, education and transportation. He’s a frequent guest commentator in the city’s public affairs forums.

Hinz says he marks his career by mayors and political conventions. Soon after graduating from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, he attended both the Democratic and Republican national conventions in Miami Beach in 1972. He then started a two-decade stint with the Lerner newspaper chain, which included covering City Hall at the end of the Richard J. Daley reign through the years of Michael Bilandic, Jane Byrne and Harold Washington. He then was a political writer at Chicago magazine from 1992 until joining Crain’s. Along the way, he served as president of the local Newspaper Guild.

Previously, Hinz has won awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the Society of Business Editors and Writers. In 2014, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Chicago Journalists Association.

The Chicago Headline Club, the largest Society of Professional Journalists chapter in the country, established the Peter Lisagor Awards in 1977 to inspire Chicago-area journalists to follow Lisagor’s outstanding example and to recognize truly superior contributions to journalism. Lisagor, the Chicago Daily News’ Washington bureau chief from 1959 to 1976, was one of the nation’s most respected and best-known journalists.