Catalyst Awards

Catalyst, a news organization that served as a watchdog and resource for school improvement in Chicago, merged with the Reporter in 2016.  Catalyst and its staff received dozens of awards for journalistic excellence and public service during its 25-year run.

Chicago Headline Club Lifetime Achievement Award

  • 2015: Founder and Publisher Linda Lenz

Studs Terkel Community Media Awards

  • 2016: Sarah Karp
  • 2011: Linda Lenz

 Education Writers Association

  • 2015: First place, magazines and weeklies, investigative reporting: “Dropouts in Chicago: How the city both helped them and ignored them,” by Sarah Karp and Becky Vevea
  • 2014: Second place, general news outlet, small staff, beat reporting: Melissa Sanchez
  • 2013: Second place, education-only news outlets, investigative reporting: “SUPES Academy,” by Sarah Karp.
  • 2011: First place, trade and special interest publications. “The right move?” by Sarah Karp; Second place, beat reporting, small print market. Early Childhood Education reporting, by Rebecca Harris
  • 2010: Second place, trade and special interest publications. “Renaissance 2010: Searching for equity,” by Sarah Karp
  • 2009: First place, trade and special interest publications. “Reaching Black Boys” by Sarah Karp and John Myers
  • 2008: Second place, trade and special interest publications. “The Class of 2011” by Sarah Karp and John Myers
  • 1996: First place, trade and special interest publications “Kids, Schools Suffer from Revolving Door” by Debra Williams

National Association of Black Journalists

  • 2013: Magazines under 1 million, single-topic series: “Ticket to Opportunity,” by Sarah Karp, Rebecca Harris and Lorraine Forte
  • 2009: Magazines under 1 million, single-topic series: “Reaching Black Boys” by Sarah Karp and John Myers
  • 2008: Magazines under 1 million, investigative: “Weighing the options” by John Myers and Sarah Karp

Society for Professional Journalists
National Sigma Delta Chi award for public service, newsletter

  • 2009: “Reaching Black Boys” by Sarah Karp and John Myers
  • 2004: “With Little Guidance, Students Drift Through and Out of School,” by Maureen Kelleher
  • 2001:Chicago Matters: Education Matters, seven reporters from Catalyst and The Chicago Reporter
  • 1998: School Reform: What Matters Most, an eight-part series on elementary schools.

Peter Lisagor Awards
Society of Professional Journalists, Chicago chapter

  • 2015: Nondaily | Best non-deadline reporting in a newspaper or magazine
    “Tracking 434 missing students after closing” by Sarah Karp
  • 2015: Specialty/Trade | Best in-depth report or series
    “New alternative schools: Questionable quality and numbers” by Sarah Karp and Becky Vevea
  • 2013: Specialty/Trade | Best commentary
    “Page 2 editorials” by Lorraine Forte
  • 2012: News column or commentary
    Page 2 editorials” by Lorraine Forte
  • 2011: Specialty/Trade | In-depth reporting
    “The Right Move?” by Sarah Karp
  • 2010: Specialty/Trade | In-depth reporting
    “Setting the agenda: Advice for the next mayor” by Sarah Karp, Lorraine Forte and Linda Lenz
  • 2009: Specialty/Trade | In-depth reporting
    “Reaching Black Boys” by Sarah Karp and John Myers
  • 2008: Specialty/Trade | Best in-depth report or series
    “The Class of 2011” by Sarah Karp and John Myers
  • 2005: Editorials
    “Game of chance would do a better job of distributing funds to schools,” by Veronica Anderson
  • 2001: Public Service
    “Chicago Matters: Education Matters,” staff of Catalyst and The Chicago Reporter
  • 2001: Editorials
    “Been there, done that, Mr. President,” by Linda Lenz
  • 2000: Online reporting
    “Student Retention,” by Dan Weissmann and Elizabeth Duffrin
  • 2000: Public Service
    10th Anniversary Issue: Highlights of a decade of school reform, Staff
  • 1999: Reporting
    “Finding and Keeping Teachers,”by Elizabeth Duffrin, Maureen Kelleher,Grant Pick
  • 1998: Design
    School Reform: What Matters Most
  • 1997: Best Newsletter
    “In addition to its fine journalism, Catalyst also serves as a calm but firm advocate for better education for all Chicago’s students. As a complete and professional package, this newsletter sits at the head of the class.”
  • 1997: Honorable Mention
    Online journalism
  • 1995: Reporting
    “Truant Officers Out, Truancy Up,” by Lorraine Forte and Debra Williams
  • 1993: Best Newsletter
    “A well-written, comprehensive newsletter that provides . . . not just local, but national and international education news. …”

Association for Women in Communications
Clarion Award for best magazine series

  • 2005: “School budget equity series,” by John Myers, Veronica Anderson and Mallika Ahluwalia

International Reading Association

  • 2003: Print Media Award, “Scaling the Reading Wall,” by Maureen Kelleher
  • 1997: Print Media Award, “Direct Instruction Making Waves” by Elizabeth Duffrin

Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism
Non-daily newspapers

  • 2013: Honorable mention, “Other Victims” by Sarah Karp, Rebecca Harris and Lorraine Forte
  • 2001:Chicago Matters: Education Matters, seven reporters from Catalyst and The Chicago Reporter

Investigative Reporters and Editors

  • 2010: Finalist, Magazine/Specialty Publication, “Renaissance 2010: Searching for Equity” Sarah Karp, Lorraine Forte
  • 2001: Finalist, Magazine/specialty publication “High School Choice” by Elizabeth Duffrin

Unity Awards in Media

  • 2001: Education, series “Chicago Matters: Education Matters,” seven reporters from Catalyst and The Chicago Reporter

Livingston Award A national award for journalists under 35

  • 1999: Finalist, Associate Editor Elizabeth Duffrin

Chicago Association of Black Journalists

  • 1998: Award of Excellence, Magazines School Reform: What Matters Most, an eight-part series on elementary schools.

Educational Press Association of America

Best Newsletter

  • 1993: “Good writing and editorial content. Good design. A strong voice and point of view in editorials. Taking on the tough issues. Cogent, assertive. Excellent reporting.”

Distinguished Achievement Awards

  • 1999 Design: School Reform: What Matters Most, an eight-part series
  • 1997 Series: Building Boom, by Dan Weissmann,Veronica Anderson and Rick Asa
  • 1996 Single-theme issue: “Suspension rates all over the map” by Catalyst staff
    News story:”Probation stuns schools that raised state test scores”by Debra Williams
    Profile:”What makes Vallas run?”by Grant Pick
    Photo:”Captivated” by John Booz
  • 1995 Single-theme issue: :The First Five Years of Reform”by Catalyst staff
    Series: “The School Chronicles” by Dan Weissmann
  • 1994 Single-theme issue: “Truant Officers Out, Truancy Up”by Lorraine Forte
  • 1993 Series: “The New Extended Family: Collaborating for Kids’ Sake”by Dan Weissmann and Michael Selinker
    Photo: “Dancing Anatomy” by John Booz
  • 1992 Departments: “Updates”

National Association of Secondary School Principals

  • 1993: Honorable Mention, “The New Extended Family: Collaborating for Kids’ Sake,” a series by Dan Weissmann and Michael Selinker

Chicago Women in Publishing Awards Competition

  • 1995: First Place, Individual Excellence in Editing (Linda Lenz)
    Honorable mention, Individual Excellence in Design (Diane Hutchinson)
  • 1991: First Place, Non-academic Periodicals