COFAC Celebrates Two 2011 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Mark Konkol, BA Communication, 1995

Mark Konkol, BA Communication, 1995

Every year, twice a year, WIU selects alums who have achieved phenomenal success and singles them out for an Alumni Achievement Award. And this year two of the three Alumni Achievement Award recipients are COFAC grads. Mark Konkol, a writer with the Chicago Sun-Times and recent Pulitzer Prize winner; and Jim Krasula of CBS Radio are two of those phenomenal grads.

Both Konkol and Krasula will be recognized at the 1:00 PM Graduation Ceremony on Saturday, December 17, 2011.  Way to go guys!!!

Konkol, a 1995 communication graduate, has been a writer with the Chicago Sun-Times since 2004. In April, Konkol and his reporting team received a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. Pulitzer judges recognized the trio for “their immersive documentation of violence in Chicago neighborhoods, probing the lives of victims, criminals and detectives as a widespread code of silence impedes solutions.” Born and raised in south suburban Chicago, Konkol’s assignments at the Sun-Times include Chicago neighborhoods and his blog, “Konkol’s Korner.”

He has also covered transportation, courts, Chicago City Hall and Cook County government in his 16-year reporting career. At Western, Konkol served as the Western Courier’s news editor from 1993-1995. While still a student, he also worked as a news reporter for the Macomb Journal (now The McDonough County Voice), covering city and county government.

After leaving Macomb, Konkol started his career at Star Newspapers, a Chicago Sun-Times publication. He wrote for the Daily Southtown and the former Sun-Times Red Streak before joining the Chicago Sun-Times news staff seven years ago.

Jim Krasula, New Orleans, Super Dome, Hurricane Katrina

Jim Krasula, New Orleans, Super Dome, Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Krasula, a 1979 broadcasting graduate, has been a member of the CBS Radio News Network since 1984. As part of the CBS Radio team, he shared in numerous Edward R. Murrow awards over the years for such stories as Hurricane Bonnie (1999), the Florida vote recount (2000), the Sept. 11 attacks (2001), Hurricane Katrina (2005) and especially for his coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings (2007). During his career, Krasula has covered 34-named tropical storms and hurricanes; dozens of natural disasters ranging from tornadoes to blizzards, to rockslides and wildfires; and military court-martials; noted trials, including the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and serial bomber Eric Rudolph. He has traveled the campaign trails with presidential candidates Bob Dole, John McCain and John Edwards, and has reported from every state. Krasula also tells the stories of everyday people across the nation in a radio version of famed CBS-TV correspondent Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road.”

Prior to joining CBS Radio, Krasula was a news reporter at local radio stations in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and North Carolina. He has served as a Boy Scout leader since the mid-1990s and has coached youth baseball and hockey teams.

Jim Krasula, reporting for CBS in the lower 9th Ward, New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Jim Krasula, reporting for CBS in the lower 9th Ward, New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, 2005

He is married to Susan Worthington Krasula, a 1979 WIU graduate; they have two sons, Andrew and Matthew, both of whom are Eagle Scouts.

In an email message to Interim Dean Sharon Evans, Krasula said  “I spent 5-weeks in Louisiana before, during and after Katrina. I was also there for Hurricane Rita which hit about 3 weeks after Katrina.”

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