Two Better Government Association investigations won national awards from the journalism magazine Editor & Publisher. One story was a deep examination into problems that have plagued Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and the other was an in-depth look into issues with Chicago’s recycling program.
The EPPY Awards honor journalism in 30 different categories for news outlets across the nation. Both BGA stories tied for first place in their categories.
“O’Hare’s Billions in Broken Promises,” which was published in July, was honored as Best Investigative/Enterprise Feature for a website that gets under 1 million unique visits per month. The three-part investigation detailed the long history of corruption, political connections and broken promises at O’Hare. The series launched a city-wide conversation about the city’s biggest airport, clout, corruption and broken promises. It also put into perspective the current $8.5 billion expansion project at O’Hare, which may become one of the largest public works project in the city’s history. It tied for top honors with “The Girl Collector,” a series by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The BGA investigation “Recycling in Chicago,” published in parts last year and earlier this year, took top honors for Best Innovation Project for smaller websites. It tied with a story by the Kensington Voice in Philadelphia. The BGA series took a comprehensive look at recycling violations throughout Chicago. The first part of the series found unequal treatment across the city in how recycling is handled and also that a politically connected private contractor that owned a landfill was often tossing recyclables into garbage dumps. A second installment found that less than 1% of Chicago’s biggest buildings had been inspected following Chicago’s recycling laws in two years. The recycling stories were previously a finalist for an Online Journalism Award and a Data Journalism Award.
Environmental reporting at the BGA is supported by Joel M. Friedman, President of The Alvin H. Baum Family Fund.