Columnist Maudlyne Ihejirika to ‘hand over the baton’ to Chicago media management
Maudlyne Ihejirika, leading Sun-Times columnist and one of Chicago’s most influential women in journalism, has announced that she is stepping down as president of two influential professional organizations.
Stepping down from the leadership positions of the Chicago Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter that she has held since 2017, Ihejirika said she plans to focus on her “Chicago Chronicles” column for the Sun- Times.
“After four years leading the two organizations in their shared mission of highlighting the pressing issues facing the profession in our rapidly evolving industry, as well as guiding the NABJ laser on diversity in newsrooms, it is time to hand over the baton, ”she said.
“Our nation is suffering. I am compelled and inspired to dig deeper into finding stories at this critical moment in which we find ourselves, with race and the police, social justice and fairness, politics and division. Those of us who are able to organize and translate these stories simply need to do more. “
Ihejirika said she was proud of her accomplishments in both groups.
“Through forums, member training, journalism awards programs and more, we tackled downsizing and journalists forced to reinvent themselves; professional development for members who need to keep abreast of new skills and media platforms; a continuous search for an efficient business model by
an industry devastated by the Internet, and the sad gender pay gap and resulting lack of diversity within our newsrooms, ”she said.
Stephanie Choporis, freelance multimedia journalist and co-founder of Happenstance, a mobile app for sharing mini-podcasts, succeeds Ihejirika as president of the Chicago Journalists Association. As vice chairman of the group, Choporis served as co-chairman alongside Ihejirika last year.
“Stephanie has been the glue of CJA and a diverse board of directors of which I am very proud,” said Ihejirika. “I am convinced that she will lead this legendary organization in what the former president [Allen] Rafalson described it as “the spirit, style and principles shaped by our founders”, passing the baton to my generation. CJA is in good hands with this creative, insightful and forward-thinking millennium. “
Ihejirika’s successor as President of the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter will be chosen today at an online candidates forum. The winner will take office with a new board on May 20.
A graduate of Downers Grove South High School and the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Communication, Ihejirika received a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
She first joined the Sun-Times in 1987 and served as an urban affairs reporter, deputy city editor, and columnist for two stints at the newspaper. In between, she spent two years as a press secretary for the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services.
In 2016, Ihejirika wrote her first book, Escape from Nigeria: A Memory of Faith, Love and War, published by Africa World Press. He recounted his mother’s flight from famine and deprivation in the Nigeria-Biafra war with six children and the global effort to find her husband.
“Few of us have been spared the distress of the current news cycle – local to international,” she added. “I want to build on my global perspective to now focus on propelling the path to justice in all its forms through storytelling.”
Commentary for Wednesday: Mike Braden: I heard Dave Hoekstra with Bob Sirott on WGN Radio yesterday morning talking about the Illinois Music Show. He’s the right guy for it – what a great combination of knowledge and passion. And Sirott was just the right person to interview him.