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In a possibly unprecedented double win, NAHJ Chicago member Michael Puente wins “Best Radio Reporter” by the Indiana Associate Press Broadcasters Association and the Chicago Headline Club for 2018.


It does not appear any other radio reporter has ever won that award from both associations, and in different states, in the same year.


Puente, a WBEZ-FM reporter, won the Indiana AP award for his “versatility, from sadness of parents recounting their slain daughter’s life, to the whimsy of a mascot museum,” according to contest page.




He won the Peter Lisagor Award Winner for Best Reporter in the Broadcast Radio Category.


“It’s not easy keeping track of stories in two states but you do as much research as you can, double-check sources, information and do your best,” said Puente.


Puente recently transitioned to covering more Chicago stories last year.


“Being in and around the Chicago area all my life, I feel I know Chicago well and I believe in my abilities to cover the city as well as anyone,” Puente said.  “It’s just gaining the trust of your colleagues and hopefully this provides some validation.”


Puente, who has been a journalist for more than 20 years, says loving what he does motivates him to continue telling people’s stories.


“You learn something new every day,” he said.  “I like talking to people no matter who they are or where they live.”


Puente says he tells aspiring radio journalists that there’s no substitute for hard work.


“There are no shortcuts,” said Puente.  “Treat everyone with respect and let your work do the talking for you.”