The Anne Keegan award honors journalists who write stories that capture the dignity and spirit of ordinary men and women. It was created in 2012 to honor Anne Keegan, a longtime writer for the Chicago Tribune whose work was distinguished by compassion, character and courage. Her stories often profiled everyday people whose struggles and triumphs – if it weren’t for Anne – were unlikely to land on the front page.
This year’s winner of the Anne Keegan award is Stacy St. Clair.
Her clear-eyed and deeply-reported stories showed the battle against the coronavirus from the perspectives of the everyday people who fought on the frontlines. The nurses in Roseland who brought in their own thermometers when the hospital ran out. The hospital maintenance crews in Little Village that spent their mornings making sanitizing wipes the overwhelmed medical center could no longer afford to buy.
The first Illinois reporter to be allowed inside local hospitals after the pandemic took hold, St. Clair described acts of exhaustion, fear and courage. In these stories and many others she’s written over the years, St. Clair impressed the judges with her eye for detail, her talent for quickly sketching a scene and capturing the strength and character of people facing extraordinary challenges.