BGA wins nine Lisagor awards

The Association for Better Government won nine Peter Lisagor Awards for his work in 2021, including honors for Best News Website and two investigative collaborations with his partners the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

The BGA has been recognized in the categories of Best Investigative Reporting, Best Multimedia Collaboration, Best Data Journalism, Best News Website, Best Online Investigative/Public Service Reporting, Best use of Online News Video, Best Online Photography, Best Podcast, and Best Podcast Single Episode. .

This is the highest number of Lisagors the BGA has ever received in a single year.

Long considered Chicago journalism’s highest local honor, the Lisagors are awarded by the Chicago Headline Club. The awards were announced at a May 6 dinner at the Union League Club.

“Failures Before the Fires”, a collaboration between the BGA and the Chicago Tribune, received four awards. Written by Madison Hopkins of the BGA and Cecilia Reyes of the Tribune, the series identified 61 people who died in fires in buildings the city had been warned were unsafe.

The project received top honors for Best Investigative Reporting, Best Multimedia Collaboration, Best Online Investigative/Public Service Reporting, and Best Use of Online News Video.

In addition to Hopkins and Reyes, other award nominees included Jonathon Berlin, Kaarin Tisue, David Kidwell, Armando Sanchez, Andrew Johnston and Olivia Obineme.

The BGA also received two awards for its series “The Costly Toll of Dead-end Drug Arrests,” produced in conjunction with the Chicago Sun-Times and the USC Annenberg National Health Reporting Fellowship as part of The Circuit.

The project has identified thousands of low-level drug arrests in which defendants were arrested and jailed on charges that police, prosecutors and judges all knew they were never going to make. The draft was written by Casey Toner and Jared Rutecki of the BGA, as well as Frank Main of the Sun-Times.

It won Best Data Journalism and Best Online Photography from Pat Nabong, Ashlee Rezin and Joe Klein. Forrest Gregg and Hannah Cushman Garland of DataMade were also named in the data award.

The BGA was also recognized for Best Podcast and Best Podcast Single Episode for “The Madigan Rule,” a five-part series by Justin Kaufmann examining the career and rise of the longest-serving house speaker in the country’s history.

The Chicago Headline Club, the nation’s largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, awards prizes that recognize the best in Chicago journalism and are named after Peter Lisagor, the Chicago Daily News’ Washington bureau chief from 1959 to 1976. For a complete list of winners, go here.

Andrew B. Reiter