Illinois Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism

Illinois Prize banner photoThe 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


Department of Journalism at Illinois

The Department of Journalism in the College of Media at Illinois enjoys a national reputation as a quality program, enhanced by the faculty's real-world knowledge of and experience with the rapidly changing demands of mass media. The journalism faculty have earned numerous professional and academic awards, including three Pulitzer Prizes. Perhaps equally important, the men and women who teach in the Department of Journalism know how to translate their professional experience to the classroom, and the intimate laboratory setting of our skills classes affords students the opportunity to share that expertise. Learning to integrate the methods and theories of public affairs journalism, Illinois students work closely with faculty who understand that a dedication to the art and craft of reporting demands a consistent attention to accuracy, fairness, balance, integrity, independence, and accountability.

The College of Media is an accredited, highly selective, and internationally respected college where almost 1,100 undergraduate and graduate students are engaged in classes taught by distinguished scholars in media studies, world-renowned experts in advertising and consumer behavior, and award-winning journalists. With more than 10,000 living alumni, the College has produced a stunning list of graduates who have gone on to wield influence in academia, the press, advertising, and entertainment. The University of Illinois is currently ranked as one of the top 10 public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and the College is considered an educational leader in the fields of advertising, journalism, and communications research.