Earlier in October, I entered the Chicago Journalists Association (CJA) Annual Awards competition for the first time. Right off the bat, knocking a hundred entries out in mid-November, I was named a finalist in the Sarah Brown Boyden Awards Arts category, winning Second Place for my piece, “Perma Red: The True Story of Missing Indigenous Women of Montana.” I wrote the piece for Montana Press.
This was the CJA organization’s 80th birthday and it took place on November 15 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. There were over 100 people in attendance including some of the best journalists and media personalities in Chicago.
The piece I wrote was especially close to my heart and important because it focused on a topic that gets very little coverage. It was about the Indigenous women in Montana who disappear and get killed. I wrote about the book “Perma Red” (now TV series) by Debra Magpie Earling and her experience as an Indigenous woman. Even though I didn’t win first place the fact that this story was a finalist, was a reward enough in my mission to spread awareness on the topic.
I competed in four categories, three of which were with pieces I wrote for FF2 Media and one for Montana Press. The categories I chose to enter for the Sarah Boyden Award were: Blog, Arts and Feature. I also entered the Dorothy Storck Award with three commentaries I wrote for FF2 Media:
CEUFF: ‘Little Harbor’ and ‘The Ex-Wife’ show inner worlds of broken women
My Dream Comes True: An Oscars “Cinderella” story
Films by women top ‘Best of the Fest’ at Sundance
The awards ceremony was a remarkable experience. Not only was I a finalist, but I also represented FF2 Media and Montana Press sitting on the finalists’ table among the best journalists in Chicago. The other Sarah Brown Boyden Award finalists were journalists from the Daily Herald, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, CBS TV, and others. One winner took home $500 and that was Mary Mitchell from the Chicago Sun-Times.
Cheryl Burton (ABC 7 Chicago) was the star of the night winning the Lifetime Achievement Award. Mary Schmich from the Chicago Tribune won the $1,000 Dorothy Storck Award. The honorable speakers of the evening were Lourdes Duarte (WGN-TV), Jim Kirk (Crain’s Chicago Business) and Chaz Ebert (Ebert Digital, LLC).
The CJA was founded in 1939 and was originally called the Chicago Press Veterans organization. Its mission is to continue the mission of journalistic excellence and provide resources for professional and aspiring journalists.
© Nikoleta Morales (11/22/19) FF2 Media
Photo credits: Nikoleta Morales