Chicago Journalists Association Names ABC7's Cheryl Burton Lifetime Achievement Awardee

WBBM Newsradio Staff
November 16, 2019 - 5:54 pm

(Michelle Song/China Daily News)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Local journalists, fans and family packed the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown to celebrate veteran anchor Cheryl Burton's new title as Lifetime Achievement Award winner by the Chicago Journalists Association.

The veteran journalism organization honored Burton at its 80th award dinner Nov. 15, which brought a diverse crowd of professional journalists from notable media all under one roof.

Executive editor of Crain's Chicago Business Jim Kirk, Co-founder of Ebertfest Chaz Ebert and WGN anchor Lourdes Duarte were also part of the celebration dinner, which also honored other award finalists. 

Burton, who received a standing ovation when honored, began working at ABC in 1992 and has won 12 Emmys — and is up for two more today, she said casually during her acceptance speech. The South Side native shared some of her favorite and most memorable stories she worked on throughout her career, like hanging out with Kanye West and Common at music awards, running after Jesse Jackson Jr.'s car to get the exclusive after he got out of prison, and interviewing Oprah and young girls on the opening of Oprah's leadership school for girls in Mayerton, South Africa.

(Michelle Song/China Daily News)

But while Burton focused on her upringing, her faith and her career highlights, she drove home the importance of speaking up and using journalism as a tool for change and power.

"Be relentless because everything has an answer," Burton told the crowd, which included journalism students from Medill, Columbia and North Central College. "Let your social media footprint be great because it lives on forever."

Burton also took the opportunity to announce the $10,000 Cheryl Burton Scholarship for aspiring journalism students at Lindblom Math & Science Academy, her alma mater. The scholarship will be awarded to one boy and girl student each year, and she will visit the school each year to personally deliver the award. 

She said she feels lucky to be able to give back to her community and be a role model for the next generation. She wants to encourage people to always speak up and tell the truth, even if it goes against the grain as she has done.