With more than 130 in attendance, the celebration, held May 24 at the City Hall events space captured the spirit of its namesake sponsor. BGA President David Greising in his introductory remarks lauded the late Richard H. Driehaus for his support of investigative journalism.
“His support of investigative journalism has made an indelible impact on the lives of residents across Chicago and Illinois, and the BGA has been honored by the responsibility to reward and encourage investigative reporting by our colleagues from news organizations across Illinois,” said Greising.
Since the inception of the Driehaus Awards in 2004, the BGA has received more than 400 submissions and honored more than 90 investigations.
Nicholas Burt, program officer for investigative journalism at the Driehaus Foundation, presented the awards at the ceremony.
In the small newsroom category (newsrooms with editorial staffs of less than 10), the first-place award went to Maya Dukmasova of Injustice Watch for their Investigation of SCRAM Devices in Cook County Courts.
The runner-up was Sky Chadde and Amanda Perez Pintado of Investigate Midwest for How Illinois’ ‘fragmented system’ of monitoring pesticide exposure ‘allows individuals to get poisoned over and over without any brakes’.
In the large newsroom category (newsrooms with editorial staffs of 10 or more), the first-place award went to Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards of the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica for their investigation The Price Kids Pay.
The runner-up award went to Dave Savini and Michele Youngerman of CBS2 for their investigation titled DCFS Survivors.
The evening’s special guest was Megan Twohey, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times investigative reporter and co-author of “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement.”
Twohey, in conversation with Greising, described her award-winning body of work, including her role in helping uncover Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse and her pioneering investigation which uncovered America’s underground market for adopted children. During the exchange, she implored the journalists present to continue to write the stories that spotlight abuse of power.
The 19th Driehaus Awards celebration also launched the BGA’s 100th anniversary, which officially begins on June 5.
In 1923, a group of clergy, business leaders and journalists, angered, frustrated and exhausted with rampant corruption in Chicago, formed the Better Government Association to counter the misdeeds of public officials. For a century, the BGA has produced data-driven investigative journalism, advocated for government reform, defended access to public information and mobilized people to demand better from their government.
We are grateful to the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for its long-standing support of the BGA and for underwriting the awards and thank our other sponsors: Edelman, Loevy & Loevy and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.