2014 IRMA Award Winners!

By Tara Flint, Executive Director, February 17 2016

The 35th Annual IRMA Awards were announced on October 26th in San Diego, California.

During the Summer of 2015, I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful group of people – our judges! Our talented and professional judges come from across North America and are award-winners themselves. Watch this space as we introduce your esteemed group of IRMA judges. Today, please meet Charles Whitaker.

Professor Charles Whitaker is the Helen Gurley Brown Research Chair in Magazine Journalism and the director of student affairs at Medill. He was named a Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Clinical Professor in 2004 and was awarded the Northwestern Alumni Association’s Excellence in Teaching award in 2005.

He teaches courses in magazine writing and editing and is one of the rotating directors of Medill’s acclaimed Magazine Publishing Project, an enterprise in which a team of graduate students is guided through the paces of a new magazine launch or works in collaboration with an existing publishing company to reinvigorate the editorial and business approach of an existing magazine.

From 2002 – 2010, Whitaker directed the Academy for Alternative Journalism, a summer fellowship program devoted to training young writers and reporters for work at the 120 member publications of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

He also serves on the Board of Directors of The Students Publishing Co., the entity charged with the fiscal stewardship of the award-winning student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, and Syllabus, the school yearbook, and is associate master of the Communications Residential College, one of Northwestern’s 12 living-learning centers.

Before rejoining the Medill faculty in the spring of 2002 (he taught there in the 1990s), Whitaker was a senior editor at Ebony magazine, where he covered a wide range of cultural, social and political issues and events on four continents, including two U.S. presidential campaigns and the installation of the first black members of the British Parliament.

Prior to joining the Ebony staff, Whitaker worked in the early 1980s as a newspaper reporter at the Miami Herald and the Louisville (Ky.) Times. He has received commendations for his work from a number of journalism societies, including The National Association of Black Journalists, The Society of Professional Journalists, The Kentucky Press Association and the National Education Writers Association.


He has contributed articles to the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, Jet Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Saturday Evening Post, Chicago Parent magazine, and Folio, the magazine of the magazine industry. In addition, he is an editorial consultant to CATALYST magazine, a publication devoted to coverage of Chicago’s school reform movement.

Whitaker also has served as a final judge and screener for the Association of Magazine Editors’ National Magazine Awards, and was an adviser on issues of diversity to the Magazine Publishers of America. He has also authored four statistical analyses of the hiring of women and minorities in the magazine industry.

He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Medill and is a candidate for a Ph.D. in human development and social policy in Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.


Thank you Charles!

based on the appropriateness of the head and deck in supporting the text, the quality of the writing and ability to draw the reader into the article. Congratulations to these IRMA members for winning in this category!Head and Deck writing category (new for 2015)