Chloe Brooks-Kistler ’23 Wins Top Denver Press Club Award

Chloe Brooks-Kistler ’23, a Colorado College political science and Italian major and journalism student, has received The Denver Press Club’s top award for her impressive student journalism.

She accepted the $3,000 John C. Ensslin Memorial Scholarship award at the Club’s 2023 Damon Runyon Award Banquet in Denver. 

Dennis Huspeni, The Denver Gazette’s city editor and a scholarship judge, says that out of the 17 scholarship applicants, Brooks-Kistler’s scores rose to the top of the scoring sheets of all three judges.

"We judged her work product, her essay answers, her academic career, and her glowing letter of recommendation. In all of these areas, Chloe excelled,” he says. “Her scholarship entry showed remarkable dedication to journalism and her craft of podcasting. The judges hope the Denver Press Club's scholarship helps launch what appears to be an extremely promising career in journalism.

Brooks-Kistler’s journalism included podcasts she created and produced for "The 719 Perspective with Chloe” at the news outlet DailyDose719. High-profile newsmakers she interviewed included Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, CC President L. Song Richardson, a controversial local school board member, and more. 

Earlier this year, The Colorado Springs Independent newspaper took particular notice of her interview with Suthers about a contentious ballot measure that would have legalized recreational cannabis in Colorado Springs. The newspaper reported the mayor had taken his opposition “to a new level” on her podcast. 

For another episode of her podcast series, Brooks-Kistler interviewed Richardson about implementing antiracist programs into educational institutions and contrasted it with an interview she conducted with Ivy Liu, a District 49 school board member who has said she believes students are being “indoctrinated” by critical race theory and voted to ban the teaching of it in the district’s schools.

Beyond her radio journalism about serious issues facing the city where she grew up, her podcast “Sì, esistiamo: Podcasts Centering the Experiences of Afroitalians,” illuminated for a U.S. audience the issue of racism, anti-Blackness, and unjust citizenship laws in Italy.

While she has managed to secure interviews with high-profile newsmakers, she says some of the most transformative interviews she has conducted have been with local community organizations. One of them was a podcast episode with Lis Smith who manages communications for Inside/Out Youth Services, a local organization that describes itself as building “access, equity, and power with LGBTQIA2+ young people, through leadership, advocacy, community-building, education, and peer support.”

Brooks-Kistler, who will graduate in May, says she is looking to secure a journalism job in Arizona where she hopes to relocate late this summer after earning her degree. 

“I’m grateful for this award,” Brooks-Kistler says. “I’m glad I got my start in citizen journalism where I could create stories that not only inform the community but entertain them as well. I appreciate the recognition and the confidence it gives me as a journalist.” 

Denver Press Club President Marianne Goodland said the organization is “delighted” to award the Colorado College student its top scholarship, which is named after longtime Colorado reporter and former Press Club President John Ensslin.

“Chloe has already demonstrated the kind of creative storytelling and devotion to the principles of journalism that will make her successful in our profession, and through the scholarship the Denver Press Club is happy to support her ongoing studies and work,” Goodland says. 

Corey Hutchins, co-director of Colorado College’s Journalism Institute, says Brooks-Kistler has been doing journalism in Colorado Springs since she was 16. 

“She has made a name for herself in our local news scene — and now beyond,” he says. “Any broadcast station or news organization in Arizona or anywhere she decides to go after graduation would be lucky to have her.” 

Each year, The Denver Press Club, the oldest in the nation, awards scholarships to journalism and communications students who attend colleges and schools across the state. In 2019, The Denver Press Club's board voted to expand journalism scholarships for students at additional schools, including Colorado College.

In the four years since, Colorado College journalism students have won the top award twice. 

Report an issue - Last updated: 04/20/2023