May 6, 2014

Mary Frances O’Connor (312) 821-9026
Robert Herguth (312) 821-9030

CHICAGO—The Better Government Association won seven Peter Lisagor Awards for investigative news stories published or aired with media partners in 2013.

The Lisagor awards – announced Friday by the Chicago Headline Club, a trade group for local journalists – recognize outstanding journalism by Chicago-area watchdogs and media outlets.

“We’re honored that the Chicago Headline Club saw the quality of our investigative work with our partners in the media,” said BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw. “Our stories serve a critical function – exposing problems in government. We have much more work to do, but it’s nice to get recognition for some of our stronger investigations over the past year.”

The Lisagors were awarded for:

  • The BGA/Sun-Times series on questionable financial practices by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), which won in the Best Political and Government Reporting category for daily newspapers. The series was reported by the BGA’s Chuck Neubauer and Sandy Bergo.
  • Rescuing Illinois: Government Surplus,” a story that focused on the glut of closed public facilities and how they’re becoming financial strains on taxpayers. Reported by BGA freelancer Kari Lydersen, the story appeared in the State Journal-Register. It won the Best Business or Consumer Reporting category for daily newspapers.
  • Lawmakers Gone Wild,” a story that focused on questionable campaign spending by local political figures. The story appeared in Chicago magazine and was jointly reported by the BGA’s Patrick Rehkamp, Andrew Schroedter, Alden Loury and Robert Herguth, and Chicago magazine’s David Bernstein. It won the Best Political Reporting in Newspaper or Magazine category for non-daily publications.
  • Trouble in the Courts,” a series of stories that focused on problems in Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office. Stories were broadcast on FOX 32 and reported by the BGA’s Patrick Rehkamp, Patrick McCraney and Robert Herguth, and FOX 32’s Dane Placko. It won the Best In-Depth News Story or Series category for broadcast television.
  • Pilfered Pills at County Pharmacy,” which focused on missing and stolen prescription drugs at Cook County’s government pharmacies. The story was broadcast on CBS2 and reported by the BGA’s Patrick Rehkamp, Robert Herguth and Andrew Schroedter, and CBS2’s Pam Zekman and Dan Blom. It won the Best Health or Science Reporting category for broadcast television.
  • Globetrotting Principal Grounded,” which focused on a heavy-spending Chicago Public Schools principal. The story appeared on FOX 32 and was reported by the BGA’s Patrick Rehkamp and Robert Herguth, and FOX 32’s Dane Placko. It won the Best News Specialty/Education/Schools News category for broadcast television.
  • Down the YouTube,” which focused on Pace employees accessing inappropriate web sites while at work at the public bus agency. The story appeared on NBC 5 and was reported by the BGA’s Robert Herguth and NBC 5’s Dick Johnson and Katy Smyser. It won the Best News Specialty/Politic/Government category for broadcast television.

The awards ceremony was emceed by the BGA’s Shaw, and held at the Union League Club of Chicago.

The Better Government Association is a Chicago-based nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group that works for integrity, transparency and accountability in government by exposing corruption and inefficiency; identifying and advocating effective public policy; and engaging and mobilizing the public to achieve authentic and responsible reform.