INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY

Journalism Grantees' Investigations Earn Accolades—Including a Pulitzer

June, 2022
Madison Hopkins, former investigative reporter at the Better Government Association, wins a 2022 Pulitzer Prize. Photo: Olivia Obineme, BGA

The Driehaus Foundation is proud to see grantees of our investigative journalism program competing for and winning top local, regional, and national honors for exceptional work.

A Pulitzer Prize for the BGA

The Better Government Association won a Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for its investigative series with the Chicago Tribune that exposed the failure of Chicago city officials to keep tenants safe from deadly fires in dangerous residential buildings. Madison Hopkins, who led the piece for the Better Government Association, and Cecilia Reyes of the Chicago Tribune, shared the honor.

The series followed more than a year of reporting and uncovered 61 deaths from 42 fires in buildings the city knew had fire safety issues, sometimes for years. The investigation revealed the city’s failure to follow up on complaints about hazards and how it put the interests of landlords above the safety of tenants.

It is the first Pulitzer win in the BGA's 99-year history.

President and CEO David Greising said the award will motivate BGA staff to continue doing rigorous, high-impact work that helps to protect people from failures in government. “All of us who get involved in journalism dream of publishing this kind of work,” he said.

Grantees honored at 45th Annual Lisagor Awards

WBEZ reporters Dan Mihalopoulos, Alex Keefe, and Angela Rozas O'Toole claimed this year's Chicago Headline Club Watchdog Award for "Buried Secrets," an investigation that revealed to the public a lifeguard abuse scandal at the Chicago Park District.

“The investigation overcame court challenges and was the product of securing confidential documents to produce concrete results, including the resignations of the Chicago Park District chief executive, board president and other high-ranking officials," award judges said. "It represents the best kind of journalism that holds public leaders accountable.”

Grantees the Better Government Association, the Chicago Reader, WBEZ, City Bureau, and ProPublica also took home Lisagor Awards at this spring's ceremony.

David Barstow to join the Driehaus Foundation Awards event June 21

This month, the Better Government Association is presenting the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Investigative Reporting: Follow the Money, featuring special guest David Barstow.

The annual public awards ceremony recognizes outstanding Illinois journalism and highlights the impact of investigative and enterprise reporting as a reform tool against wrongdoing, fraud, and corruption.

The event will take place Tuesday, June 21 at City Winery. Tickets are available in advance, and voting in the Reader's Choice Award is open until June 10.

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