The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Investigative Reporting honor some of the best government-related investigative reporting in the Midwest. These Awards recognize the importance of investigative journalism in advancing the principles of democracy.

The mission of the Better Government Association is to shine a light on government and hold public officials accountable. Thanks to the generosity of the Driehaus Foundation we are able to celebrate and reward, with $18,000 in prize money, the work of others in the watchdog fight.

This year’s winners, honored May 3rd at the Union League Club of Chicago, shine a spotlight on secrecy: the death of prisoners in a Milwaukee jail, the treatment of the disabled in Illinois, and a code of silence for police in Chicago. We have veteran journalists in this year’s group of finalists, and we have rookies. We have deep, data-centric reporting; we have dogged, multi-year work; and we have several examples of the importance of tipsters and whistleblowers. 

The Awards also give us an opportunity to discuss important topics with a captive audience. This year we were lucky to have Marty Baron, Executive Editor of The Washington Post, as our guest speaker. BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw sat down with Baron for a conversation on the future of news. 

The BGA received dozens of submissions for the Awards, and, as is always the case, while we’re happy to take a break after months of planning, we see the fruits of our labor and are reminded of the crying need for more spotlights — so we’ll see you next year. 


First Place: $10,000

“Code of Silence” 
Jamie Kalven
Invisible Institute

Second Place: $5,000

“Suffering in Secret” 
Michael J. Berens and Patricia Callahan
Chicago Tribune

Third Place: $3,000

“Jail Deaths”
Jacob Carpenter and Cara Lombardo
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


winepullAndy Shaw welcomes guests to Union League Club
winepullBGA TEAM MEMBERS at the wine pull
“goodwin"Daniel L. Goodwin of Inland Real Estate Group of Companies
“thridplace"Richard driehaus with third place winners Cara Lombardo and Jacob Carpenter
“secondRICHARD DRIEHAUS WITH second PLACE WINNERS Patricia Callahan and Michael J. Berens
koreckiNatasha Korecki of Politico Illinois, an awards sponsor
“marty"Marty Baron and Andy Shaw discuss the future of news
andy&martyBaron and Shaw

Copyright Tone Stockenstrom Photo, Inc.


BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw sat down with Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron for a conversation about the current state of news and its future. Baron addressed questions around funding investigative journalism, the emergence of “fake news,” and how reporters and editors at the Post are approaching their jobs in the evolving digital landscape. Baron praised Jeff Bezos, owner of the Post, for his commitment to aggressive, fact-based journalism and investigative reporting.




Alan Peterson

Barnes & Thornburg LLP


Robert P. Arthur, Magellan Corporation

Steven N. Miller

Crain’s Chicago Business

Charles River Associates, Scott Solomon
FTI Consulting
Grisko LLC
Heidi Rudolph, Morae Legal
Jack Modzelewski
Jessica Nolan
Jones Day
Loevy & Loevy
Ludwig E. Kolman
Merri Jo Gillette, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
Ray Capitanini, Italian Village Restaurants
Robert and Linda Levin
Steve Greenspon, Honey-Can-Do International
Thom Serafin, Serafin & Associates, Inc.
Union League Club of Chicago
William Donnell
William R. Tobey, Jr.


Liev and Marty

The BGA was honored to have Marty Baron as our featured guest.

Baron became executive editor of The Washington Post in 2013. Under his leadership, The Post has won four Pulitzer Prizes. Previously, Baron worked as editor of The Boston Globe, which won six Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure, including the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its investigation into a pattern of concealing clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church. That story was later retold in the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight,” in which Baron’s character was played by actor Liev Schreiber (pictured above). While Baron was editor at The Miami Herald, the paper won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage.


Noreen Ahmed-Ullah, Associate Editor, University of Toronto News; Former Staff Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Chris Bury, Senior Journalist in Residence, DePaul University

Renee Ferguson, Retired Investigative Reporter, NBC-5 Chicago

Brant Houston, Professor and Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Luke Kolman, Partner, Vedder Price, P.C.; Executive Committee and Former Chair of Investigations, BGA Board

Jackie Spinner, Correspondent, Columbia Journalism Review