Michael Puente


Michael covers news and issues primarily in Northwest Indiana, Chicago’s Southeast side and South Suburbs.

The first 15 years of Michael’s journalism career was in print. He freelanced for the Daily Southtown, the Times of Northwest Indiana before joining full-time with the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana (now part of the Chicago Tribune Media Group) and the Daily Herald based in Arlington Heights, Ill. Michael got his start in radio in 2003 as co-host of the Latin Lingo Show on WJOB AM 1230 in Hammond.

He joined WBEZ in 2006 as the station’s first bureau reporter. 

Michael splits his time between Navy Pier and WBEZ’s Northwest Indiana Studio, 8625 Indiana Place, in Merrillville, Indiana.

Michael’s stories on WBEZ have earned more than three dozen awards including from the Indiana and Illinois Associated Press broadcasters associations, Indiana Society of Professional Journalists, the Chicago Headline Club, and National Headliner Awards.

In May 2019, Michael became the first reporter to be named Best Radio reporter by both the Indiana AP Broadcasters Association and the Chicago Headline Club’s Lisagor Awards in the same year. 

In May 2021, Michael again received the Chicago Headline Club’s Lisagor Award for Best Radio Reporter. Also in May, the non-profit Public Narrative of Chicago honored Michael with its prestigious Studs Terkel Community Media Award.  

Since February 2021, Michael began serving as rotating guest host for Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices on WTTW Chicago PBS. 

In 2003, the Indianapolis-based publication, Howey Politics Indiana, listed Michael as being in the Top 50 most influential people in Indiana politics. 

In 2020, Michael was selected president of the Indiana Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He is also a member of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a former board member of the Latino Council on the Media of Chicago.

Michael attended Indiana University in Bloomington for two years before earning his bachelor’s degree in Communications from Calumet College of St. Joseph in Hammond, Indiana where he now teaches journalism and speech as an adjunct professor.

Michael is an avid White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears fan. He’s also active in community theater in Northwest Indiana.

Born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana, Michael and his wife Gricela are parents to daughters Stephanie and Jessica. 

Stories by Michael Puente