Apply Now: Applications for $5K Les Brownlee Scholarship Open

Les Brownlee

The Chicago Headline Club and the Chicago Headline Club Foundation are calling on members and supporters to help spread the word that we are now accepting applications for the Les Brownlee Memorial Scholarship–a $5,000 annual grant given to a Chicago area journalism student in honor of Les Brownlee.

The club and the foundation are asking higher education institutions to pass this on to their journalism students, student media, faculty advisers, colleagues and anyone else in their schools (in or out-of-department) who is in charge of routing scholarship applications to deserving students.

The deadline for filing an application is April 17, 2023, and the winner will be announced this spring. Brownlee, who died in 2005, was the first African-American member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the first African-American president of the Chicago Headline Club. 

Applicants for the Les Brownlee Scholarship must be current undergraduate journalism students (no recent graduates) at a Chicago-area college or university. Candidates are assessed by a committee of the Headline Club Foundation and evaluated on their previous experience, clips, cover letter and an interest in pursuing a journalism career.

Candidates should send a cover letter, resume and at least three work samples by April 17 at the latest. They should also fill out the application form here.

About Les Brownlee
Brownlee’s journalism career began as a reporter for Ebony Magazine, and he later joined the Chicago Defender. In 1950, he was the first Black reporter to join the staff of the Chicago Daily News. Over the years he also worked for several radio stations, including WBBM-AM, and television stations, including WLS-TV, where in 1975 he won an Emmy Award for editorial writing. He is noted for his sign-off: “Les Brownlee, WLS Eyewitness News.” After he retired from television, Brownlee joined the faculty of Columbia College Chicago, where he taught journalism full-time for more than 20 years and inspired countless students.