Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association Finalists Announced

Finalists have been announced in the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association 2018 contest.


The awards in actual order of finish — first or second – along with the winners in the Outstanding News Operation category, will be announced during the Spring Convention of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, Saturday, April 13, in Normal, Illinois.


WBBM-AM accepts the "Outstanding News Operation" award at the INBA Spring 2018 Convention


Thirty broadcasters submitted 273 entries in the contest, which featured news, sports and investigative reporting as well as features, documentaries and newswriting from 2018.


The complete list of finalists is below:


2018 Illinois APBA Finalist List-1.pdf


TVI/Metro TV


Best Spot News: WLS-TV, Chicago, "Mercy Hospital Shooting"; WLS-TV, Chicago, "Plane Lands on Lake Shore Drive."


Best Sports Report: Mike Bush and Scott Suppelsa, KSDK-TV, St. Louis, "Lesson in Sportsmanship"; Jeremy Ross and Don Stanke, WBBM-TV, Chicago, "Hold Your Breath."


Best Light Feature: Mike Bush and Tom Stasiak, KSDK-TV, St. Louis, "Jerseyville Rodney"; WLS-TV, Chicago, "Sofia Sanchez's Journey."


Best Hard News Feature: WMAQ-TV, Chicago, "The Mysterious Flight of Taylor Clark"; Jeremy Ross and DeAndra Taylor, WBBM-TV, Chicago, "You Look Good for a Dead Man."


Best Series or Documentary: WLS-TV, Chicago, "Catholic Church Crisis"; WLS-TV, Chicago, "Marc Winner Convicted."


Best Investigative Report: WLS-TV, Chicago, "Code Red"; WMAQ-TV, Chicago, "You, Too: The Public Cost of Sex Harassment."


Best Digital Presence: WLS-TV, Chicago.


Best Newswriter: Mike Bush, KSDK-TV, St. Louis; Jeremy Ross, WBBM-TV, Chicago.


Best Reporter: Jeremy Ross, WBBM-TV, Chicago.


Best Newscast: WMAQ-TV, Chicago; WLS-TV, Chicago.




Best Spot News: WREX-TV, Rockford, "Dixon High School Shooting"; WREX-TV, Rockford, "Embezzlement Accusations Hit RAEDC."


Best Sports Report: Derek Bayne, WREX-TV, Rockford, "Leader, Coach, Mom: The Story of Misty Opat"; Elizabeth Wadas and Stephanie Mattan, WQAD-TV, Moline, "Redneck Fishing."


Best Light Feature: Dee Dee Gatton, WICS-TV, Springfield, "Saints Flight"; Caitlin Knute and Emily Ogden, WEEK-TV (NBC), East Peoria, "Making it: The Joe Stamm Band."


Best Hard News Feature: Kristin Crowley, Ale Alvarez and Josh Morgan, WREX-TV, Rockford, "Candid Conversations"; Taylor Utzig and Josh Morgan, WREX-TV, Rockford, "Avoiding Tragedy."


Best Series or Documentary: Denise Hnytka and Stephanie Mattan, WQAD-TV, Moline, "Marine Bootcamp"; WREX-TV, Rockford, "Out of the Darkness – Shining a Light on Domestic Violence."


Best Investigative Report: Kristin Crowley, Audrey Moon and Mary Sugden, WREX-TV, Rockford, "Bitter Custody Battle Leads to Violent Altercation"; Rachel Droze, WICS-TV, Springfield, "Overtime Gold Mine."


Best Videography: Randy Biery, KWQC-TV, Davenport, "Ride the Train"; Andy McKay, Jenny Hipskind and Anthony Panicucci, WQAD-TV, Moline, "Savanna Bridge Implosion."


Best Digital Presence: WICS-TV, Springfield; WREX-TV, Rockford. 


Best Newswriter: Kristin Crowley, WREX-TV, Rockford; Caitlin Knute, WEEK-TV (NBC), East Peoria.


Best Reporter: Taylor Utzig, WREX-TV, Rockford; Elizabeth Wadas, WQAD-TV, Moline.


Best Newscast: Jeff Burnett and Lon Lucas, WEEK-TV (NBC), East Peoria; Angelique Kacynski, WICD-TV, Champaign.


Radio I/Metro Radio


Best Spot News: WBBM-AM, Chicago, "No Mercy"; WBBM-AM, Chicago, "The Jason Van Dyke Verdict."


Best Sports Report: Adam Hoge, WGN-AM, Chicago, "Adam Hoge and The Bears"; George Ofman, WBBM-AM, Chicago, "Rocky Wirtz."


Best Light Feature: Andrea Darlas, WGN-AM, Chicago, "A Few Good Women"; Bob Kessler, Rivet, Chicago, "MacArthur Park Turns 50: A Tale of Two Recipes."


Best Hard News Feature: Miles Bryan and Rob Wildeboer, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, "State Board Regularly OKs Gun Licenses Despite Police Warnings"; Mike Krauser, WBBM-AM, Chicago, "Cat Rescue."


Best Series or Documentary: Jesse Betend, Rivet, Chicago, "Life After It’s Over"; Dometi Pongo and Ryan Burrow, WGN-AM, Chicago, "From the Mountaintop: The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."


Best Use of Sound: Ryan Burrow, WGN-AM, Chicago, "Convention in Chaos – 50 Years Later"; Sarah Karp, Joe DeCeault and Cate Cahan, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, "One High School, Two Walkouts."


Best Digital Presence: WBBM-AM, Chicago.


Best Newswriter: Mark Friedman, WBBM-AM, Chicago.


Best Reporter: Ryan Burrow, WGN-AM, Chicago; Lisa Fielding, WBBM-AM, Chicago.


Best Newscast: Jennifer Keiper, WLS-AM, Chicago; WBBM-AM, Chicago.


Radio II/Local Radio


Best Spot News: Lee Gaines, WILL-AM, Urbana, "Obama Visits U of I Campus, Urges Students to Get Out and Vote."


Best Sports Report: Brad Palmer, WSIU-FM, Carbondale, "Carbondale Teen Makes MLS Debut"; Eric Stock, WGLT-FM, Normal, "Friday Night Lights Out: Football's Uncertain Future."


Best Light Feature: Rich Egger, WIUM-FM, Macomb, "The Blind Swine: It's The Cat's Pajamas"; Rachel Otwell, WUIS-FM, Springfield, "A Biker Meet-Up With African-American Roots."


Best Hard News Feature: Rich Egger, WIUM-FM, Macomb, "Dark Days"; Christine Herman, WILL-AM, Urbana, "Out of Options, Parents Trade Custody for Treatment."


Best Series or Documentary: Christine Herman, WILL-AM, Urbana, "Continuing Mental Health Coverage"; WGLT-FM, Normal, "Skipping School: Illinois' Teacher Shortage."


Best Investigative Report: Ryan Denham and Mary Cullen, WGLT-FM, Normal, "Police Diverge on Approach to Speeding Tickets"; Lee Gaines, WILL-AM, Urbana, "Illinois Prison System Spent Less Than $300 on Books Last Year."


Best Use of Sound: Rich Egger, WIUM-FM, Macomb, "The Blind Swine: It's The Cat's Pajamas"; Connie Kuntz, WNIJ-FM, DeKalb, "The Beauty and Science of Bird Banding."


Best Digital Presence: WGLT-FM, Normal; WVIK-FM, Rock Island. Best Newswriter: Ethan Kruger, WCMY-AM, Ottawa; Susan Stephens, WNIJ-FM, DeKalb.


Best Reporter: Ryan Denham, WGLT-FM, Normal; Susan Stephens, WNIJ-FM, DeKalb.


Best Newscast: Brian Moline, WILL-AM, Urbana; Charlie Schlenker, WGLT-FM, Normal.


Alexis McAdams

INBA played a huge part in preparing me for my broadcasting career. The INBA conventions connect students with on-air talent and news directors who give feedback on now to improve your work. Through relationships I made at those conventions, I was able to obtain my first on air reporting job.

Aaron Eades

As a student, it's often difficult to picture what working in the real world will be like. For me, the INBA bridged that gap by giving me the chance to talk to professionals who used to be in the same shoes I'm in now.

Ryan Denham

“I recently attended my first INBA conference—and it won’t be my last. The combination of professional and student journalists learning together is electric. Everyone learns from each other and walks away with new friends (and LinkedIn connections). I know I did.”

Molly Jirasek

One of my top goals in my career was to get to Chicago. Thanks to INBA I met Margaret Larkin. She remembered our great conversations about Chicago and first alerted me to a job opening in the city I might be interested in. Lo and behold, I got that job! INBA helped me reach my dream.

Bob Roberts

INBA is as much about friendship and as it is about achieving common goals. It provides two things individual newsrooms cannot: in-service training, and the ability to speak out on issues affecting the profession. But most of all, it brings newspeople together.

Michelle Eccles McLaughlin

INBA is an organization that really caters to continuing education for professionals. It offers a relatively inexpensive way to learn new things, reinforce best practices and network.

Nora Baldner

The support INBA gives to student journalists is vitally important as we all discover how technology is changing news dissemination, INBA monitors and actively encourages truth, transparency and accountability from students and their universities.

Andrew Tanielian

INBA taught me how to network in a meaningful way. The scholarship process taught me how to endure a hard job interview and thrive.

Jeff Bossert

When I was working in radio for the first time, I had no idea whether I could truly handle the demands. But INBA made me curious and want to improve. Even now, when I’ve maybe worked a lot of hours or planned some stories that didn’t come together for one reason or another, what I learn from an INBA conference gets me re-invigorated about the business.

Jennifer Fuller

INBA is not only a great networking tool, it also provides advocacy and support for journalists in an ever-changing world.

Mike Miletich

Joining the INBA was one of my best life decisions. I met some of the best broadcast journalists while I was still a college student. Plus, I ended up getting a job through the connections I made!

Brian O'Keefe

One of the greatest benefits for me has been getting to see and know other parts of the state. I’m not from Illinois and traveling to spring and fall conventions over the years has transformed dots on a map to memories of places that enhance my story telling process.

Leave a Reply