In 1893 a group of young reporters met at Chicago's World Columbian Exposition. These young men worked the streets of Chicago over the years competing with each other for stories. The group met regularly as an informal organization.
Forty years later, during the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, many of those same reporters covered the event. They formally created the Chicago Press Veterans Association. They established the organization at 8 South Michigan, in the Willoughby Tower.
Later the organization was expanded and evolved into the Chicago Journalists Association.
In 1968 a commemorative plaque was placed on the exterior of Willoughby Tower, recognizing the founding of the organization and all newspapermen. The chairman of the association was Anthony Berardi. Anthony Berardi was one of the most famous and prolific photojournalists in Chicago.
Tony Berardi was hired as a copy boy by the Chicago Evening American. In 1923 he evolved into photography. At seventeen was the youngest newspaper photographer in Chicago. He was the first photographer to shoot a formal portrait of Al Capone.
Mr. Berardi was one of the first, if not the first, photographer to arrive at the St. Valentines Day Massacre. Many of his photos were shot from above, as he jumped on the hood of a truck to capture the images. His photos were described as some of the most grisly and graphic images taken of the scene.
Tony Berardi also snuck a camera into the tax evasion trial of Al Capone and captured images in the court room. He eventually became the chief photographer of the Chicago American and mentored many well known Chicago photojournalists.
Mr. Berardi retired from Chicago Today in 1971. He died in 2005 at age 99. Tony Berardi Jr. followed his father in the news business, retiring as the Chicago Tribune's chief photographer.
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