Chicago Journalists to honor Dorothy Tucker with Lifetime Achievement Award; Kelly Bauer as Journalist of the Year

Dorothy Tucker (Photo: Karen Kring)

Dorothy Tucker, longtime investigative reporter at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and president of the National Association of Black Journalists, has been named recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Journalists Association.

The nonprofit professional organization also named Kelly Bauer, breaking news editor for Block Club Chicago, as its Chicago Journalist of the Year. It’s the first time the award has been bestowed since 2015.

Tucker and Bauer will be honored November 19 at the group’s 2021 virtual awards ceremony along with still-to-be-named recipients of the Dorothy Storck Award and 14 Sarah Brown Boyden Awards for excellence in journalism.

“We’re extremely proud to honor both of these journalists who are deserving of so many accolades,” said Stephanie Choporis, president of the Chicago Journalists Association.

“Dorothy Tucker’s achievements throughout her nearly 40-year career at CBS 2 Chicago are without question — a robust body of work that has uncovered important issues and given a voice to the voiceless. We have also been inspired by her unwavering leadership of the National Association of Black Journalists as well as her commitment to diversifying newsrooms and mentoring the next generation of journalists.

“Upon the return of Chicago Journalist of the Year, we wanted to honor a journalist whose work ignited meaningful change in the city,” Choporis said. “For us, Kelly Bauer and her dogged reporting that exposed Loretto Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution scandal perfectly fit that description.”

Tucker’s personal story is as inspiring as those she has reported over nearly four decades at CBS 2. Born in Chicago and raised in the Lawndale and Austin neighborhoods, she graduated from Northwestern University and began as an intern at CBS 2 in 1977. After brief stops in Peoria, Memphis, Denver and Pittsburgh, she came home to CBS 2 as a reporter in 1984.

She was elected president of the National Association of Black Journalists in 2019. She was reelected to a second term earlier this year.

News of Tucker’s award comes just days after CBS 2 accepted a national Edward R. Murrow Award for overall excellence from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Kelly Bauer

Bauer, who helped launch Block Club Chicago as a reporter in 2018 and was promoted to breaking news editor in 2020, became local journalism’s breakout star of the year for her reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic, producing more than 1,600 stories. Among them were Bauer’s exclusives on vaccine distribution improprieties at Loretto Hospital on Chicago’s West Side.

A graduate of Northern Illinois University and former editor-in-chief of the Northern Star student newspaper, Bauer previously worked for DNAinfo Chicago.

Earlier this year Chicago magazine named Bauer Chicago’s “Best Watchdog.”

Friday’s comment of the day: Mark Edwards Edelstein: I don’t know enough about the [Eric Ferguson] situation to comment about any of the specifics and don’t pretend to. What I will say, though, is that in almost any other industry this entire situation would have been handled differently. Having spent the last 10 years in corporate America I can say for sure that none of the chicanery and obtuse ways of handling the situation would have been acceptable in a publicly-held real business. Does that mean that radio hasn’t learned to operate like a 21st century business? In some cases, yes. I can’t tell you how many times I heard things like “we have to protect the billing” from people above me when dealing with issues at radio stations I was involved with. This charade should not have gone on for so long and should have been dealt with when it first came up, if only to show that the company valued and took seriously the complaints from the women involved. Will the real story ever come out? Probably, at some point, but at this juncture who cares? As my friends at Lutheran General would say, the cancer has been eradicated.