The Better Government Association has named eight investigative projects as finalists for the 2023 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Investigative Reporting.

The annual awards highlight the impact of Illinois investigative and enterprise reporting as a reform tool within the context of state and local government waste, fraud, and corruption. Winners will be announced at a live ceremony at 5:30 pm Wednesday, May 24 at City Hall Events, 838 W. Kinzie St, Chicago. Tickets are now available.

The evening will be a celebration of awardees and include a conversation between BGA President David Greising and Megan Twohey, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times and a best-selling author who has focused much of her work on the treatment of women and children. 

Twohey, along with investigative reporter Jodi Kantor, broke the story of decades of sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein in 2017, helping to ignite the #MeToo movement. Twohey and Kantor co-authored “Chasing the Truth” and “SHE SAID,” inspiring the 2022 film by the same name.

Awards will be announced in two categories: Large Newsroom and Small Newsroom. In addition to the prestigious awards, winners will take home $27,000 in cash prizes. 

The finalists for the Large Newsroom (newsrooms with editorial staffs of more than 10) category are:

  • Capitol News Illinois / Lee Enterprises / ProPublica; “Culture of Cruelty” by Beth Hundsdorfer, Molly Parker
  • WBBM-TV; “DCFS Survivors” by Dave Savini, Michele Youngerman
  • ProPublica / Chicago Tribune; “The Price Kids Pay” by Jodi S. Cohen, Jennifer Smith Richards
  • Block Club Chicago; “Problems at COVID-19 Testing Pop-Ups” by Kelly Bauer

The finalists for the Small Newsroom (newsrooms with editorial staffs of less than 10) category are:

  • Injustice Watch; “Chicago police denied scores of undocumented crime victims a path to citizenship” by Carlos Ballesteros
  • Investigate Midwest; “How Illinois’ ‘fragmented system’ of pesticide monitoring exposure ‘allows individuals to get poisoned over and over without any brakes” by Sky Chadde, Amanda Perez Pintado
  • Injustice Watch; “Illinois changed its controversial ‘felony murder rule.’ Here’s who the reform left behind.” by Rita Oceguera and Chloe Hilles
  • Injustice Watch; “Investigation of SCRAM devices in Cook County courts” by Maya Dukmasova

Entries were judged by a panel of journalists and educators. For each category, two winners will be selected from the finalists.

Judges for the 2023 awards are Christopher Bury, senior journalist in residence at DePaul University; Brant Houston, professor and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Charles Whitaker, dean and professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media Integrated Marketing Communications; Jackie Spinner, associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago; and Jesús Del Toro, director and general manager of Chicago’s La Raza newspaper and editorial director of San Francisco’s La Opinión de la Bahía.

The awards are generously sponsored by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, which supports investigative reporting that fosters greater tra

Kathryn Dugal (she/her) joined the BGA in 2022 as the manager of audience engagement. Most recently, Kathryn served as the development and engagement specialist at the Center for Michigan, the nonprofit publisher of the news organizations Bridge Michigan and BridgeDetroit. Prior to that, Kathryn worked for a national healthcare association and for a regional philanthropic organization in northwest Michigan. Kathryn holds an MA in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University and a BA in Global & Area Studies from Michigan State University.