The Chicago Sun-Times is the legendary news voice of Chicago’s working class. The news organization was recently acquired by a diverse consortium of philanthropists, business leaders and Chicago area labor organizations.
Founded in 1966 and licensed to Illinois State University, WGLT is an NPR member station providing the highest quality local, national and international news, balanced with music and culture. WGLT champions independent nonprofit journalism as a public service with on-air and digital content freely available. WGLT also serves as a training ground for emerging journalists. In the last decade, WGLT has won nearly 50 awards for journalism, including six regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.
Mariah Rush covers the South and West sides of Chicago for the Chicago Sun-Times. Originally from South Bend, Indiana, she graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2021. Rush was most recently a national real-time reporter for McClatchy News, covering the midwest region. She has previously reported for the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Tampa Bay Times and has served as the Managing Editor for Notre Dame's independent newspaper, The Observer. Rush has written about everything from news deserts in America, to the policing of Black teens in Illinois, to the phenomenon that is Wordle. In her leisure time, she can be found consuming TV and reading detective novels with her dog, Simi.
Claire Savage reports for The Associated Press in Chicago, covering institutions serving young people in Illinois and investigating how well they help youth. Before joining the AP, Savage reported on online disinformation, with an emphasis on inaccurate Covid-19 and vaccine claims, for Agence France-Presse in Washington, D.C. Savage was an intern at NBC Washington/Telemundo and completed a fellowship with Atlantic Media. She holds a master's degree in international journalism from American University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish and international business from Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned All-American honors in swimming. Savage grew up outside Cleveland, Ohio, and returns frequently to visit her family and favorite ice cream shop.
Cora Lewis covers workers and the business of agriculture for The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit newsroom based in Champaign, Illinois. Prior to joining The Midwest Center, Lewis reported on labor and breaking news for BuzzFeed News, where she received a Front Page Award from The Newswomen’s Club of New York for stories covering on-call scheduling. Her work has led to the resignation of an abusive CEO and has been featured on “This American Life.” She has followed minimum wage movements, teachers’ strikes, automation, the on-demand economy, alternative organizing models and union politics. Born and raised in New York City, Lewis received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Yale University and her master’s in fiction from Washington University in St. Louis.
Jenny Whidden reports on the effects of climate change on Chicago’s suburbs for the Daily Herald, based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. A second-year Report for America corps member, Whidden previously was a Statehouse reporter for New Hampshire’s Granite State News Collaborative, covering legislation related to racial justice. A native of Rolling Meadows, Illinois, Whidden holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marquette University. There, she was managing editor of the student paper, the Marquette Tribune, which won top honors in General Excellence from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Whidden enjoys going to the movies, reading fiction and spending time with Princeton, her cat.
Maria Gardner Lara reports on the issues affecting the growing Latino community in DeKalb, Illinois for Northern Public Radio, a member station of NPR that’s based in DeKalb. Previously, Gardner Lara reported on state politics and policy for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. As an intern for the Laredo Morning Times, she reported on issues at the U.S.-Mexico border, international trade and immigrant rights’ protests. She holds a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield, and a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Illinois Chicago.
Melody Mercado is a reporter for Block Club Chicago, a nonprofit news site dedicated to covering the city’s neighborhoods. Previously, Mercado was the city government reporter at the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa, covering local policy and its effect on the community. She started her career as a reporter at WHO-TV, the NBC affiliate in Des Moines, where she played an integral role in covering the Iowa caucuses and the protests calling for racial justice in 2020. A native of Belvidere, Illinois, Mercado holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bradley University and a master’s degree in journalism from DePaul University.
Michael Loria reports for the Chicago Sun-Times, covering the South and West sides of the city. Before moving to Chicago, Loria was a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C., where he covered undocumented restaurant workers for Washington City Paper, and child care for undocumented workers, housing for older adults and more for The Washington Post. In 2020, his feature on cottage industries that undocumented workers had established to survive the pandemic became one of the most-read Washington City Paper stories of the year; his reporting on food truck turf wars was an editor’s choice for one of the best Washington City Paper stories of 2021. Loria is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
Mónica Cordero Sancho is an investigative and data journalist for the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, a news site based in Champaign, Illinois. Cordero’s work has been published by Univision, Bloomberg Businessweek, La Noticia, Radio Ambulante, NPR, openDemocracy and The New York Times. Born in Costa Rica, she is a graduate of the University of Costa Rica and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. Cordero was the lead reporter, involving newsrooms from 12 Latin American countries, on the investigation into the evangelical movement’s political power in Latin America. Published in multiple outlets in the United States and in Latin America, this reporting won the 2020 Ortega y Gasset Journalism Award, the most prestigious journalism prize in the Spanish-speaking world, for best investigative reporting. Cordero is a member of a pub-run group in Brooklyn, New York and loves pastrami sandwiches and chocolate cake.