Injustice Watch is thrilled to announce that Maya Dukmasova will be joining our team as a senior reporter covering Cook County judges.
Maya joins us from the Chicago Reader, where she has been a staff writer since 2016. Her reporting has focused on the courts, housing, local politics, policing, and grassroots racial justice movements.
Maya’s reporting on evictions in Cook County highlighted the lack of recording equipment in eviction court — a problem the chief judge’s office has since addressed. Days after she started asking questions about delays and misplaced files in the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office, the clerk’s office recovered a case file that one man had been requesting for more than 16 months. Her sharp interviewing skills, keen eye for detail, and enthralling narrative style are on display in her profiles of Stuart Goldberg, Chicago’s “flashiest defense attorney,” and Dan Herbert, the lawyer Chicago cops turn to when they’re charged with a crime.
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“Maya is a bold and brave journalist with a lot of talent and versatility, and one of the best longform storytellers working in Chicago journalism today,” said Injustice Watch Editor-in-Chief Adeshina Emmanuel. “I’m excited to work with her, especially as we continue to grow our team and expand our coverage to other issues she has reported on, like housing and juvenile justice.”
At Injustice Watch, Maya will cover judges and the Cook County court system, our signature beat. She will lead our reporting on judicial elections and help develop and expand our award-winning judicial election guides. She will also be a lead reporter on The Circuit, our collaborative investigation with the Better Government Association, based on more than two decades of Cook County Circuit Court data.
“I’m thrilled to join Injustice Watch to make reporting on judges in the criminal and civil courts my full-time job,” Maya said. “The judiciary is a branch of local government that doesn’t get nearly enough coverage and it’s exciting to join a local news organization that has made rectifying that a priority.”
Maya is the winner of three Chicago Headline Club Peter Lisagor Awards and two Association of Alternative Newsmedia awards. She was recently awarded a writing residency through the Logan Nonfiction Program and commissioned as a Humanist by the Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice program.
A collected volume of her housing stories, “A Home in Chicago: Rent, ownership, and neighborhood struggle since the collapse of public housing,” was published by the Reader in 2020. Since 2019, she has co-hosted “First Tuesdays,” a monthly political talk show at the Hideout Inn, with Ben Joravsky.
Before joining the Reader, Maya was a freelance journalist in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in The Appeal, Places Journal, In These Times, Slate, and The Trace. She has also worked as a fact-checker for NPR, Smithsonian Magazine, and Harper’s Magazine.
Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Maya holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester.
Her first day with Injustice Watch will be July 1. Please join us in welcoming her to the team.