Ron Magers to receive DePaul’s Distinguished Journalist Award

Ron Magers

Ron Magers, who retired in 2016 after a distinguished career as one of Chicago’s all-time greatest news anchors, will be back in the spotlight to take a bow this spring.

Magers has been named recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Journalist Award from DePaul University’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence. He will be honored at a luncheon April 30 along with Chicago Tribune police reporter Jeremy Gorner, who will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Carol Marin, who is co-director of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence with Don Moseley, co-anchored with Magers at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 until 1997, when both resigned in protest over the hiring of talk show host Jerry Springer as a commentator on the 10 p.m. news.

Calling Magers “the best of the best,” Marin said: “He could — and did — do it all. He was knowledgeable on election nights. Unflappable in breaking news situations. Smooth, funny and smart in championship sports celebrations. He was thoughtful, with perfect pitch, when a Catholic cardinal was elevated in Rome or mourned at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.

“Don and I firmly believe that the importance of local news in America and the public’s trust in it is embodied in the life’s work of Ron Magers.”

Magers, 75, stepped down after 18 years at top-rated ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 (and 16 years before that at NBC 5). All told his career in TV news spanned more than 50 years. He and his wife now divide their time between homes here and in Florida.

Previous recipients of the Distinguished Journalist Award include “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, “CBS Sunday Morning” host Jane Pauley, and New York Times editor Dean Baquet.

Jeremy Gorner

Gorner, who graduated from DePaul in 2004 with a degree in political science, joined the Tribune in 2006 from the former City News Bureau of Chicago. As police reporter on the metro staff, he played key roles in investigations of the Laquan McDonald shooting scandal and other police accountability issues.

Calling Gorner “a proven fact-finder, writer and disseminator of critical information,” Moseley said: “His stories from Jussie Smollett to the firing of police superintendent Eddie Johnson, to analyzing Chicago’s murder rate, provides critical context and analysis while covering an essential beat: crime in Chicago. Carol and I are delighted to name him this year’s recipient.”

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Cisco Cotto: Jennifer [Keiper] has been a good friend for 20 years. She’s a wonderful journalist and teammate. Her extensive knowledge of the auto industry is going to be a huge addition to the “Noon Business Hour.” Andy [Dahn] has proven himself as a solid, hardworking reporter and anchor. They’re both great additions to a great newsroom!