JCCIA honors worthy pair at Dante luncheon

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Jennifer Lyons and Antonio Romanucci

The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans honored Jennifer Lyons and Antonio M. Romanucci at this year’s Dante Awards luncheon. The organization provided these profiles.


Jennifer Lyons received the Dante Award. She is a celebrated television news executive with more than 30 years of experience, most of it in Chicago, the third largest television market in the United States.

The former vice president of news for WGN America, Lyons oversaw the design and buildout of a 24-hour newsroom and studio and the creation and launch of a new national cable news outlet. She worked in a variety of capacities at WGN-TV starting in 1993, including news director from 2014-20 and assistant news director from 2008-14.

An innovative executive, Lyons led the conversion of a traditional broadcast newsroom at WGN into a successful multi-platform digital operation by enabling and organizing the distribution of content to a variety of digital outlets. Under her leadership, WGN-TV became the first station in the market to live stream its news programming online and to all mobile devices.

Lyons led the expansion to multiple hours of news at WGN. Prior to that, she was executive producer of the WGN Morning and Midday News. She began her career in Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa, working as a photographer, live truck operator and producer for KWQC-TV and WHO-TV.

Lyons earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University. She has earned a Chicago/Midwest Emmy and Silver Dome Award from the Illinois Broadcasters Association, she was named News Director of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable, and she was inducted into the Silver Circle by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Lyons is active in the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls Leader Council and a member of The Chicago Network.


Antonio M. Romanucci received the inaugural Dominic DiFrisco Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a founding partner at the law firm Romanucci & Blandin, a national trial practice representing victims of negligence, abuse and wrongful death arising from corporate negligence, civil rights actions, business interruption, medical malpractice, mass torts and class actions, as well as police misconduct.

A past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Romanucci currently serves on the Chicago Bar Association’s Board of Managers, the Public Justice Board of Directors, and holds multiple leadership roles with the American Association for Justice.

Romanucci has been named a Top 100 Super Lawyer in Illinois for the past 13 years and a Best Lawyer by U.S. News and World Report since 2013. He was listed among the ‘New Power 30’ in the February 2021 issue of Chicago magazine for his work in securing justice for George Floyd and his many contributions to justice in the Chicago area. He maintains a perfect Martindale-Hubble AV rating and an AVVO rating of 10/10.

Often called upon as an expert, Romanucci appears regularly on local and national television news stations and programs, including CNN, CBS This Morning, and Chicago’s ABC, NBC, CBS, WGN and FOX. He also contributes regularly to stories in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press and print news outlets, commenting on his own cases, as well as other high profile legal matters and trends throughout the country.

Romanucci is a founding chairman of the Midwest Brain Injury Clubhouse, which is devoted to optimizing the lives and recovery of people affected by brain injuries or strokes. He is also the founder of the Justinian Society of Lawyers Charitable Endowment Fund, which awards thousands of dollars annually to organizations that assist the needy.

About Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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