From left to right: Alma Campos (Immigration Editor), Jacqueline Serrato (Editor-in-Chief), Jill Petty (Board Chair), Jim Daley (former Politics Editor/Interim Managing Editor). Photo by Dan Andries/WTTW.

In what was the first Peter Lisagor Awards ceremony for the handful of South Side Weekly editors and contributors who attended, the 45th anniversary celebration was a reaffirming event for non-profit, community, and ethnic media in Chicago.

South Side Weekly had an unprecedented (for the publication) thirteen nominations, and on Friday, May 6, at the Union League Club of Chicago, the newspaper took five awards.

The Weekly’s COVID-19 features earned them three awards, one for the series, “The Ripple Effects of COVID in Englewood, La Villita, and South Shore” by Marie Mendoza, Ester Wells, Yvonne Krumrey, and Courtney Kueppers; and two for “What Went Wrong in Cook County Jail” by Kiran Misra, about the thousands of incarcerated people who battled COVID-19.

Jim Daley’s in-depth reporting of “How Chicago Policed Protests” in 2021 deservedly won an award; and for best education reporting, it was Lily Levine’s cover story, “CPS Layoffs Shock Teachers”. The Weekly’s friends—including the Hyde Park Herald, the Chicago Reader (there were copies of the paper at the Lisagors), City Bureau, and The TRiiBE—also took it home.

Shout out to the TRiiBE for closing the night with Best Community Media award! And congratulations to columnist Dahleen Glanton for the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The most rewarding part about the event, according to editor-in-chief Jacqueline Serrato, was not just the plaque (or Olivia Obineme MCing) but hearing the resounding cheers of peers and supporters in what sometimes feels like an uphill battle. “There was an energy in the room that felt like a shift,” Serrato said.

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