The Illinois Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism is awarded to individuals whose career contributions to public affairs journalism represent the highest and best achievements of American journalism. Bestowed by the journalism faculty in the College of Media at the University of Illinois, the award honors work that has consistently served as a beacon for other journalists, set the highest standards of excellence in the field, and placed the public good and public awareness before all else.

The award was created through the generosity of a benefactor appalled at the direction of modern journalism—the emphasis on celebrity and screaming and superficiality. Honorees are awarded a $10,000 prize and honored at the annual Illinois Prize dinner in their hometown.


Illinois Prize Honorees

Each honoree has made an indelible mark in the industry with their expertise, their personality, and their contributions. Read more about each honoree by clicking on their name below:

2014: Roger Ebert, film critic and journalist

2012: Nina Totenberg, legal correspondent, NPR

2010: Gay Talese, literary journalist and author

2009: Seymour Hersh, Investigative Journalist, The New Yorker

2008: Ben Bradlee, Executive Editor of The Washington Post, 1968-1991 

2007: Mike Wallace, Distinguished CBS “60 Minutes” Correspondent