School of Communication & School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Host, WBEZ’s Worldview
Jerome McDonnell has hosted WBEZ's Worldview since 1994, making him Chicago's most prominent global affairs journalist. Over the past 25 years, he has interviewed many well-known figures on the world stage, including President Jimmy Carter, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. But some of his most compelling and inspiring interviews are with lesser-known people working for social justice around the globe, like peasant organizers, environmental activists, and social entrepreneurs.
McDonnell believes broadcasting's highest calling is to bring people together to make a difference. Worldview’s long-running “Global Activism” segment features people who’ve started health care, education, and community-development organizations around the world. The six Global Activism Expos WBEZ hosted gave thousands of people an opportunity to connect with these social entrepreneurs in person and make lasting impacts.
McDonnell has received multiple journalism awards, including the Peter Lisagor Award, which recognizes the best of Chicago journalism, and a Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications. But he is most proud of the recognition he has received from community organizations, including the Chicago Fair Trade’s Changemaker Award, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Courage in Journalism Award, and the Excellence in Environmental Reporting Award from the Chicago Audubon Society. He’s also been recognized by the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture, the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, and the Women’s Global Education Project.
A graduate of Northern Illinois University, McDonnell took his communications degree and began to volunteer at WBEZ in 1984. He thought it would be a quick broadcasting experience before graduate school, but he never left. McDonnell produced a business program and then a Saturday-morning calendar program. He later began producing Midday with Sondra Gair, a daily global affairs program that featured in-depth conversations about international issues, including a monthly program with Radio Kiev in the Soviet Union.
Today, Worldview expands the definition of international news with conversations about how race, ethnicity, gender, identity, the environment, and religion shape our world. McDonnell was WBEZ’s executive producer of talk programing for several years, but now he restricts his management activities to being team leader for Bike to Work Week. He has the messiest desk at WBEZ.