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Saturday, April 28, 2007

SPJ Awards recognize Palestinian American columnist

Palestinian/Arab American Columnist wins prestigious Journalism Award

Chicago – Ray Hanania was awarded the prestigious Peter Lisagor Award for Column Writing in the Community Newspaper category Friday night by the Society of Professional Journalists Chicago Headline Club.

Hanania writes a syndicated column and is the political writer for the Chicago-based Southwest News-Herald. The award is for three columns which appeared last year in the Southwest News-Herald, and in other syndicated newspapers that carry his writings. One of the columns on Muslim Girls graduating from a Chicago suburban Islamic school was syndicated to newspapers in the Middle East and in the Arab American press.

The columns reflected both his unique humor writing style and his serious approach to regional events, and are titled: "Thanksgiving Tabouli Wars Is Now Served [at the Hanania Household]," "Graduates Who Defy Stereotypes," and "Reavis [High school] Reunion Creeps Up Like Receding Hair."

Finalists who were awarded runner-up awards in the same category are Joseph Aaron of the Chicago Jewish News for "Talking and Listening," "Real Jewish People" and "Jews and Darfur," and Thomas Mucha of Crains Chicago Business Magazine for his "Small Talk" columns.

This is Hanania’s 3rd Chicago Headline Club/SPJ Award. He previously won Lisagor awards in 1984/85 and 2002/03 for column writing. Last year, Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" in a national contest hosted by the New America Media Association.

Hanania began his journalism career in 1976 writing for community newspapers and later for the Chicago Sun-Times. He covered Chicago City Hall from 1977 until 1992, and was also a weekend talk show host on WLS AM Radio. He is the author of eight books.

The Lisagor Awards are a highly competitive and prestigious journalism achievement representing journalists from community and daily newspapers, radio and TV media throughout Illinois.

The competition's categories range from in-depth reporting and photography to business, commentary and feature reporting. In other categories, The Chicago Tribune received 11 honors, The Chicago Sun-Times received 6 awards, the Southtown, 4 awards, Crain’s Chicago Business and WTTW Channel 11 each received 5 awards, Chicago Public Radio received 6 awards, and The Associated Press received 4 awards.

The presentations were made at the Chicago Headline Club's 30th annual awards banquet at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago.

The featured banquet speaker was Jed Horne, an editor at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and author of "Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City," published by Random House.The awards are named for Peter Lisagor, late Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Daily News. Reporters and editors from SPJ chapters in South Florida (Miami), Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Houston, Inland California and Western Washington (Seattle) reviewed more than 700 entries published or broadcast in 2006.

Plaques were presented for 65 reports, chosen for such attributes as enterprise, accuracy, scope, style and impact.


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