May 22, 2019
The First 100 Days: Priorities for Mayor Lightfoot – Laura Washington, Jen Sabella, Ben Joravsky
Laura S. Washington is a Chicago Sun-Times columnist and political analyst for ABC 7, Chicago’s ABC-owned station. She served as a 2019 Visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.
Washington brings more than two award-winning decades of experience as a non-profit professional and multi-media journalist. She specializes in African-American affairs, local and national politics, race and racism, and social justice. From 2003 to 2009 she served as the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University and fellow at the DePaul Humanities Center.
From 1990 to 2002, Washington served as editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter, a nationally recognized investigative monthly specializing in racial issues and urban affairs.
Her column has been published by the Chicago Sun-Times since 2001. She is a commentator on National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio. In 1985 Washington was appointed deputy press secretary to Mayor Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African American mayor. She also served as a producer for the investigative unit at CBS-2/Chicago, correspondent for “Chicago Tonight” on WTTW-TV and has written an op-ed column for the Chicago Tribune.
Washington earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from The Medill School at Northwestern University, where she has also taught and lectured.
Her work has been honored with dozens of local and national awards, including two Chicago Emmys, the Peter Lisagor Award, and the Studs Terkel Award for Community Journalism and the Racial Justice Award from the YWCA. Washington is a founding inductee to the Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement. The Chicago Community Trust awarded her a Community Service Fellowship, for “exemplary service, commitment and leadership in individuals from the nonprofit sector.” In 2018 she was named and inaugural inductee to the Chicago Women’s Journalism Hall of Fame.
Her civic activities include serving on the boards of Global Girl Media, The Field Museum, The Arts Club of Chicago, and Block Club Chicago.
Jen Sabella is the co-founder of Block Club Chicago, where she is currently Director of Strategy. Previously, Jen was Deputy Editor and Director of Social Media at DNAinfo Chicago, a site she helped launch in 2012. Before joining DNA, Jen was HuffPost’s Chicago Editor and a breaking news reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times. Jen also co-hosts The Girl Talk, a monthly live conversation series and podcast featuring influential Chicago women at The Hideout. She lives in Logan Square with her wife and cats.
Ben Joravsky moved to Chicago in 1981 and has been writing about local politics ever since. Ben started freelancing for the Reader in the early 1980s and became a full-time staff writer in 1990. Over the years, he has zeroed in on larger citywide matters, with a special interest in exposing municipal financing scams such as tax increment financing. Ben has also written dozens of profiles and features, including a year with the Roosevelt High School boys basketball team, which was included in the Best American Sports Writing Anthology. Ben has won many journalism prizes, including the 2010 Chicago Journalist of the Year Award from the Chicago Journalists Association and the 2010 Illinois Journalist of the Year Award from Northern Illinois University.
The Ben Joravsky Show is streamed from the Chicago Sun-Times studios in the West Loop Tuesdays through Fridays between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and airs live on the Chicago Reader and Sun-Times websites during that time. The podcast is available on the Reader and Sun-Times sites — and on all other major podcast platforms.