The Illinois News Broadcasters Association presents The INBA Crystal Mic Awards

Introducing the Illinois News Broadcasters Association “Crystal Mic” Awards! INBA is excited to launch a prestigious celebration of the best of the best in Illinois reporting. Interested in entering your best work from 2020 and 2021? Here’s what you need to know!

INBA Crystal Mic Categories: 

  • Station of the Year
  • Newscast of the Year
  • Digital Presentation of the Year
  • Reporter of the Year
  • Weather Operation of the Year (TV Only)

There will be a first place “Crystal Mic” statue and second place plaque awarded in each category.

Important Deadlines:

For work completed January 1, 2020-June 30, 2021

Entries accepted starting July 1, 2021 at

Entry Deadline: July 31, 2021                                      

Judging: August 1-20 (judging partners Iowa Broadcast News Association)

Finalists announced: early September

Awards presented: September 25, 2021 at the Illinois News Broadcasters Association Fall Convention in Rockford.

Price per entry:

Large Market TV               $45

Small Market TV               $30

Large Market Radio         $35

Small Market Radio         $20

Specific entry instructions and rules for each category will be available in coming months at Follow us on our social media platforms for future announcements.

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For questions, contact INBA Crystal Mic Contest Manager H Wayne Wilson at

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.

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!

Jennifer Fuller

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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