Dave McKinney, a Mattoon, Ill., native and a reporter for Thompson Reuters, has been named Alumnus of the Year by the Eastern Illinois University Journalism Department.
The department’s Outreach & Service Committee, which selects the Alumnus of the Year award recipient, said McKinney, who graduated in 1986, has been an exemplary alumnus.
“For many years Dave has given back to the department by working with Eastern’s journalism students as well as with high school students through Eastern’s annual high school journalism workshop,” said Lola Burnham, chairwoman of the committee.
And this year he went above and beyond. According to workshop director Joe Gisondi, McKinney took a detour from a vacation trip with friends in Missouri to stop in and help schedule speakers, who met with students in Springfield during the camp.
“These high school students were able to visit areas typically off-limits during regular tours of the Statehouse, heard from key journalists and assistants to state politicians, and interviewed the sergeant-at-arms for the House,” Gisondi said.
To be eligible for the award, a recipient must be a graduate of the Journalism program with significant college media experience, have attained a positive reputation as a journalist and continued to support the Journalism Department after graduation.
McKinney, a past editor-in-chief of The Daily Eastern News and the Warbler yearbook, has done all three.
McKinney, former Springfield bureau chief for The Chicago Sun-Times from 1995 to 2014, was named the department’s Journalist of the Year in 2009, along with Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune, for their reporting on then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Prior to that, McKinney worked from 1986 to 1995 at The Daily Herald in Arlington Heights covering local government and the metro beat.
McKinney's role with Reuters was created for him in 2015, keeping him based in Chicago and to report nationally on local and statewide government and politics.
Awards for his work include the Chicago Headline Club’s Lisagor Award for political and government reporting, Capitolbeat’s award for beat reporting, the Chicago Bar Association’s Herman Kogan Award for Meritorious Achievement and the Chicago Journalists Association’s Sarah Brown Boyden.
He has also done freelance work for such outlets as WBEZ-FM, WTTW-TV, Chicago Magazine, Crain's Chicago Business and Illinois Issues Magazine.
He is the son of Doris McKinney and the late Calvin McKinney.
McKinney will be honored at a luncheon Friday, Oct. 21.