The Better Government Association has been recognized by the Chicago Headline Club with three Peter Lisagor Awards for its work in 2019.
The staff of the BGA won for General Excellence in Online Journalism. This category judged the website on excellence of content, interactivity, rich media, design, navigation and community tools. Investigations and databases from the newsroom team were part of the winning entry.
“Small Town Government, Chicago-style Politics,” detailed Mayor Christopher Getty’s efforts to restore a family fiefdom and transform the financially ailing government under his control into a stronghold of nepotism and cozy deals. The story, a partnership of BGA reporter Casey Toner with the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark and Fox 32 Chicago, won in the Best In-depth Reporting in a Community Newspaper category.
This work raised questions about Getty’s purchase of his home, which the mayor bought after the village, under his direction, demolished a run-down house, bought the land and sold it at a loss to a Getty campaign contributor who turned around and sold it to the mayor without ever listing it on the open market.
The story about the western suburb was recognized by the National Headliner Awards earlier this year.
An investigation into auxiliary police forces in Illinois was also honored as Best News Specialty/Crime News in the television category. Reporters Jared Rutecki and Brett McNeil explored how nepotism, politics and questionable policing in some departments led to problems throughout the state.
“Auxiliary Officers Pose Risks in Illinois Towns” was a partnership with NBC5 Investigates and the Forest Park Review.
The Lisagors are an important event for journalists in Illinois, part of an annual celebration of the best journalism produced throughout the Chicagoland region, spanning all mediums including print, radio, television and digital. The awards were announced digitally this year due to concerns about COVID-19.
The Chicago Headline Club is the largest Society of Professional Journalists chapter in the country.
The BGA, a nearly century-old Chicago-based nonprofit news organization, has received six awards and honors in 2020.
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