CHICAGO — Legendary Chicago news anchor Ron Magers and Chicago Tribune police reporter Jeremy Gorner will receive awards in 2020 from DePaul University’s Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence. DePaul will honor Magers with the Distinguished Journalist Award and Gorner with the Distinguished Alumnus Award for work that embodies the highest principles of journalism, including truth, accuracy, fairness and context.
Magers’ career spanned more than 50 years in TV news, including more than three decades in Chicago. He is known for deftly handling difficult breaking news coverage. Gorner, who graduated from DePaul with a bachelor’s degree in political science, has investigated police misconduct while covering crime and breaking news at the Chicago Tribune.
Center co-directors Carol Marin and Don Moseley will present the awards at an event on April 30. Previous recipients of the Distinguished Journalist Award are Lester Holt of “NBC Nightly News”; Jane Pauley of “CBS Sunday Morning”; and Dean Baquet of The New York Times. Previous recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards are Ben Welsh of the Los Angeles Times; Ann Pistone of ABC7 Chicago and Lourdes Duarte of WGN-TV.
Magers built ‘public’s trust’ in local news
“Ron is the best of the best. He could — and did — do it all,” said Marin. “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,” said Marin.
Magers began his television career in 1965 at KEZI-TV in Eugene, Oregon, as a reporter and news contributor. He continued his ascent as a news anchor with at KPIX-TV in San Francisco and KSTP-TV in Minneapolis.
He arrived in Chicago in 1981 and anchored newscasts on Chicago’s WMAQ-TV, sharing the news desk with Marin. Together they covered breaking news and politics for more than a decade, including election nights with legendary columnist Mike Royko. In 1997, Magers and Marin left the station in protest when talk show host Jerry Springer was hired as a social commentator on the 10 p.m. news.
Magers went on to a long and successful career at ABC7 Chicago, anchoring the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts and earning top ratings. He retired in 2016. “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,” said Marin.
Gorner’s crime coverage gives ‘critical context’
“Jeremy Gorner's work in the Chicago Tribune has been outstanding,” said Moseley. “He is a proven fact-finder, writer and disseminator of critical information. 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,” added Moseley.
Gorner studied political science at DePaul and, as a senior, frequently reported for the school's student-run newspaper, The DePaulia. He went on to intern with the Lerner Community Newspapers, then a collection of weeklies serving readers on Chicago's North and Northwest sides and some northern suburbs.
Six months after graduating in 2004, Gorner started his first paid journalism gig as a reporter for the now-defunct New City News Service, formerly known as the City News Bureau of Chicago, a boot camp for up-and-coming reporters. He joined the Chicago Tribune in 2006 to cover crime and breaking news for its online news desk.
Gorner now is a beat reporter for the Tribune's Metro staff, covering the Chicago Police Department. Since starting that beat nine years ago, Gorner has covered the 2012 NATO Summit, the rise in city violence, and conducted investigations into the Laquan McDonald shooting scandal and other police accountability issues.
The Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence
A longtime investigative reporting and producing team, Marin and Moseley have mentored more than 50 DePaul interns since 2003, showing them the ropes of investigative journalism. In 2016, DePaul launched the Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence in the College of Communication with Marin and Moseley as co-directors to provide students with more opportunities to gain real-world experience. For more information about the center, visit http://bit.ly/CJIEDPU.