February 6, 2023

INBA Extends Crystal Mic Awards Deadline – One Week Only!

For many years, INBA conventions served as host for the annual Illinois Associated Press awards. These competitive categories allowed us to share in the recognition and celebration of the impressive work of broadcasters who serve Illinois markets. It has been one of the highlights of our conventions.  

The Illinois Associated Press notified the INBA board this past winter that it would be discontinuing its statewide awards.

One of my first tasks as incoming INBA President was to determine if and how we would continue to provide a space to celebrate the accomplishments of broadcasters through an awards ceremony. 

There was quick interest in forming a new awards contest. There was also caution of the time, energy, and financial considerations to conduct an awards program. 

INBA formed and ad-hoc (now permanent) awards committee. We discussed best practices in managing a competition with integrity that would be competitive, affordable, and financially viable for INBA. 

We named a contest administrator H Wayne Wilson to develop category descriptions and contest rules. We contracted with Rock Our Awards, an industry leader in managing submissions. Additionally, we arranged a “judge swap” with the Iowa Broadcast News Association. INBA membership also voted unanimously to name The INBA Crystal Mic award for Best TV Newscast in honor of two-time INBA Illinoisan of the Year Paul Davis. Davis is a former WGN-TV News Director and past president of INBA. Just before his death in April, Davis called the honor, “A remarkable present– a nice tip of the hat.” 

I appreciate the efforts of this committee to focus on a smaller scale initially with an eye on expanding our categories long-term. We feel this year’s categories will represent the “Best of the Best.” The Crystal Mics themselves are pretty impressive pieces of art too for you to share with your team and audience should you snag one this year! 

I may have buried the lead here, but what we need now are your entries. We have heard from many stations already, but feel there is room for more. Believe me, the daily deadlines make sitting down and reflecting on the past year and a half a tough task to schedule. But we believe it is essential for us all to look back at the work of our reporters and teams and submit them for consideration to be recognized for their impact on the audience. That’s why we are extending the entry deadline until August 7th.  


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.

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.

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.

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.

Jennifer Fuller

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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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