Annual scholarship award drives memory of auto writer Jim Mateja

Updated: Mar 6, 2019


Jim Mateja was an award-winning automotive columnist who spent 47 years covering the auto industry for the Chicago Tribune. His widespread knowledge of the industry and charming wit in distilling both marketing mumbo-jumbo and the mechanically complex endeared him to generations of readers, auto writers, dealers and executives. Read the obit here>>>

He was my mentor and my friend. His legacy lives on in the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and the Midwest Automotive Media Association, which Jim co-founded and served as first president. The annual scholarship gives $4,000 to a promising journalism student in need, as chosen by Medill. Within the first year of fundraising, donors gave over $100,000 to fund the scholarship in perpetuity; the first scholarship recipient, Ben Winck, was honored at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. Jim used to give out brickbats and bouquets for auto show losers and winners. This scholarship and everyone involved in it get all the bouquets.