Annual awards to fete local journalists

In lieu of its traditional banquet celebration held annually at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb to honor the best work of local journalists, the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association will hold a free virtual awards presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. Journalists and freelance writers are invited to attend.

“It is an honor for NINA to promote and stimulate journalism in Northern Illinois,” said Margarita Mendoza, NINA president, who serves as the El Observador editor of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford. “Our annual NINA awards recognize the dedicated work of journalists who report local news from general to specific topics. This year’s annual banquet will be a virtual opportunity to socialize and enthusiastically share in celebrating the great accomplishments of our journalist colleagues.”

Matt Dietrich

The evening will begin with special keynote speaker, Matt Dietrich, public information officer of the Illinois State Board of Elections. A former journalist, Dietrich will highlight what journalists should expect from the November elections. In addition he will touch upon the corrosive and disruptive influences of social media and the distrustful sources impacting journalists today.

Dietrich is a former reporter with the Better Government Association, a non-partisan government watchdog group in Chicago and former staff writer for PolitiFact Illinois, which he helped establish in 2016 while editor of Reboot Illinois. He received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Saint Louis University.

To register for the event and receive a link to the annual NINA awards celebration, contact Shelley Hendricks at shendricks@niu.edu or RSVP via Google form no later than Oct. 28.