May 29, 2008

Recktenwald earns Chicago press club honor

by Pete Rosenbery

Bill Recktenwald

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Award-winning journalist William Recktenwald, a senior lecturer and journalist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will be inducted into The International Press Club of Chicago's Journalism Hall of Fame next month.

He is among seven journalists who will be enshrined during the annual hall of fame awards banquet June 20 at Marcellos Restaurant, 645 North Ave., Chicago.

Recktenwald is a retired Chicago Tribune deputy Chicago bureau chief and investigative reporter who earned four Pulitzer Price finalist nominations and was part of two Pulitzer-winning series in the 1970s.

He joins a group that includes journalism icons Mike Royko, Paul Harvey, David Condon, Irv Kupcinet, Virginia Marmaduke, Bill Kurtis, Clarence Page, Roger Simon, Studs Terkel, Roger Ebert, Bill Gleason and Jack Brickhouse.

"I am honored and humbled on being selected," he said. "The list of those already named includes many storied Chicago journalists."

Among this year's inductees is one of Recktenwald's mentors, the late William H. Jones, former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune. Jones and Recktenwald worked together on a series documenting the abuse of poor and minority Chicagoans by private ambulance services. The series won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for local investigative reporting. At the time, Recktenwald was an investigator with the Better Government Association. Those efforts brought reforms and improvements to the emergency medical care system in Chicago, Recktenwald said.

Jones hired Recktenwald to the newspaper staff in March 1978. Jones died in 1982 of leukemia at the age of 43.

Jones "knew the power that the press had to accomplish good and to serve as a monitor of the powerful, both in government and in the private sector," Recktenwald said.

"He taught me a great deal, and today, nearly 30 years later, I try to instill those important ideals and ethical standards to the journalism students that I teach," Recktenwald said.

Recktenwald teaches courses in news writing and reporting, public affairs reporting, feature writing and investigative reporting. He joined SIUC's School of Journalism faculty in 1999. The School of Journalism is part of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.

Earlier this year, he received a Fulbright Senior Specialists Award from the U.S. State Department and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The award is to spend time teaching journalism classes at Makerere University and the Islamic University in Uganda.

In June 2006, Recktenwald worked as a volunteer trainer for journalism programs in Uganda and Kenya. He returned for brief teaching stints at both universities in March, July and August of last year. That included conducting workshops, in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy, for Ugandan news editors.

More information about induction ceremony is available at