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2022 Center Awards

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​About the Honorees​

Honoring work that embodies the highest princi​ples of journalism, including truth, accuracy, fairness and context, DePaul University’s Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence recognized veteran journalist Bill Whitaker and alumna Heidi Wigdahl at their April 28, 2022 award ceremony. Whitaker received the 2022 Distinguished Journalist Award and Wigdahl the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Additionally, Newton Minow received the inaugural Distinguished Mentor Award.  

Whitaker 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. Wigdahl, 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.​ Minow is a highly respected media expert, lawyer, and mentor to hundreds.

Whitaker produces complicated stories with 'clarity and care'

​“Bill Whitaker represents the finest in journalism," Marin said. “He listens, he investigates, and above all, he reports with fairness and humanity."

Whitaker has reported on presidential campaigns, the pro-democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square and the build-up to Desert Storm in Baghdad. More recently, he partnered with the Washington Post to investigate the origins of the opioid crisis. The reporting revealed how a law pushed by drug industry lobbyists interfered with the government's efforts to curb the epidemic. The reporting forced the Trump administration to withdraw the nomination for drug czar of a congressman who sponsored the law.

“Bill has a broad reach, a keen interest in a diverse range of subjects and the ability to translate complex news stories with clarity and care," Marin added. “And always, with integrity. He is the epitome of a distinguished journalist."

Whitaker holds a bachelor's degree in American History from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a
2022 CJIE Award Recipients
“60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker, lawyer and former FCC Chairman Newton Minow, and KARE-TV reporter Heidi Wigdahl at the 2022 Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence Awards ceremony. Photo credit: Sandy Rosencrans.
master's degree in African American studies from Boston University, and a master's in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. He reflects on the fact he is receiving the award during a fraught time for his profession.

“Reporters have been assailed in countries across the world, many have lost their lives. Here at home, local newspapers are on life support, and journalists find our very credibility under assault," he said. “Integrity is essential to our profession — especially in times like these. What an incredible honor to be recognized with this award."

Wigdahl offers help to young journalists

Since graduating from DePaul, Wigdahl has distinguished herself at broadcast news outlets in Minnesota and Tennessee.

“We've watched Heidi grow at DePaul and ever since," said Moseley. “It is not only her outstanding work that distinguishes her, but also her willingness to mentor younger journalists across the country. She is truly exceptional."

Wigdahl studied journalism and creative writing at DePaul, where she was named “Journalism Student of the Year." She served as an anchor for Good Day DePaul and news editor for The DePaulia, and interned for the DePaul Documentary Project, where she helped produce stories with Marin and Moseley for NBC 5.

After graduating, she started her career in Rochester, Minnesota, at Fox 47 as an anchor and reporter. She then moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where her reporting earned her "Best TV Reporter" from the Tennessee Associated Press. In 2015, she returned to Minneapolis-St. Paul to join KARE-TV.

“To now be recognized by the mentors and school that set the foundation for my career as a journalist is an honor and a full circle moment for me," Wigdahl said.​

'Newton Minow has mentored an army of people over his lifetime.'

“A real mentor just doesn't feed you great ideas and an accumulation wisdom," Marin explains during her presentation of the inaugural 2022 Distinguished Mentor award. “A real mentor feeds you in all the ways you need to be fed."

Mentorship is a cornerstone of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence's goals, and why Co-Directors Carol Marin and Don Moseley were thrilled to honor Newton Minow with the Distinguished Mentor Award. The award is a first for the center and for Minow, who humbly believes he is the greater beneficiary. “A mentor receives more from the mentee than the mentee receives from the mentor," he explained.

“You have a sacred calling," Minow said, speaking directly to the center's students during his acceptance speech, on the role journalists hold to distinguish facts from opinion in society. “Never has journalism been so important in our country."

Minow established a long career in service, widely known as the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, as former Chairman of the Public Broadcasting System, and a major contributor to the Commission on Presidential Debates. While working over fifty years at law firm Sidley, he continued to serve on countless boards and mentoring hundreds of professionals.

Sadly, on May 6, 2023, Newton Minow passed away, with family at his side. His impact, service, and advocacy will be truly missed. As a college we were fortunate to count Newton Minow as a friend as well as mentor to the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence.

Previous award recipients include:

  • Lester Holt, "NBC Nightly News"(Distinguished Journalist Award)
  • Jane Pauley, "CBS Sunday Morning" (Distinguished Journalist Award)
  • Dean Baquet, The New York Times (Distinguished Journalist Award
  • Ron Magers, ABC7 Chicago (Distinguished Journalist 
  • Ben Welsh, Los Angeles Times (Distinguished Alumni Award)
  • Ann Pistone, ABC7 Chicago (Distinguished Alumni Award)
  • Lourdes Duarte, WGN-TV (Distinguished Alumni Award)
  • Jeremy Gorner​, Chicago Tribune (Distinguished Alumni Award)

Article partially published in the DePaul Newsroom