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Alumni respond to Rev. Dr. Waltrina Middleton, CRS executive director


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2020
  FOR MORE INFORMATION: LAURA S. WASHINGTON, 312.972.8422 lauraswashington@aol.com   JOHN A. MCDERMOTT JR., 773.617.3949 jamcdjr@gmail.com

“We have read Dr. Middleton’s statement.  It raises deep concerns that her “reimagining” of The Chicago Reporter will erode and end editorial independence and diminish its ability to do influence-free investigative and in-depth journalism.  

Her statement leaves many unanswered questions.

Will the Reporter have an independent editor and publisher, a position that has led the operation and direction of the investigations and reporting since its founding in 1972?

Why isn’t the process to reimagine the future of the Reporter more transparent? 

Who is involved in discussions about the restructuring of the Reporter? 

What will be the role of the proposed “Advisory Table” of “key stakeholders” for the Reporter? Who are these stakeholders? Why should they have influence over the recruiting and hiring of editorial staff, a step that will diminish the news organization’s editorial independence?

What is the vision for the Reporter – an independent news organization committed to its founding role to conduct fact- and data-based investigations on issues of race, ethnicity and poverty, or something else?

The Chicago Reporter, with nearly 50 years of effective and award-winning investigative reporting, cannot continue to do the work that must be done at this time of racial reckoning without an independent editor and publisher.

The “Save The Chicago Reporter”campaign is a group of more than 100 alumni of the pioneering publication that covers race and poverty.

#SaveTheChicagoReporter

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Nearly 50 years of impact

Here are some examples of the work that has set The Reporter apart over the years:

Covid Tracker
As Black and Latino people began testing positive for Coronavirus and dying at significantly higher rates than white people in Chicago and around the state, the Reporter launched the bilingual Covid tracking project this year and more than 1 million people, including the New York Times, have turned to the data as a vital source of information about the virus’ toll on people of color.

Exposing the magnitude of police misconduct
Since 2016, the Reporter has overseen an interactive database to track police officers behind city spending on legal settlements over allegations of civil rights abuses. In just more than a decade the city paid more than half a billion dollars, much of it borrowed the Reporter found, adding to the city’s mounting debt while eroding confidence in law enforcement.

Holding banks accountable for the foreclosure crisis
When the U.S. Department of Justice announced a $335 million settlement–the first of its kind related to the foreclosure crisis–in 2011 the Reporter was credited for spurring the lawsuit with an investigation that showed lenders steered African-American and Latino borrowers into subprime, predatory loans at higher rates than white borrowers.

Getting better care for Black people in nursing homes
Nursing home patients in Black neighborhoods have better nursing care today because of legislative reform spurred by a 2009 Reporter investigation that found more than half of all majority-black nursing homes in Chicago received the worst possible rating, while only 11 percent of majority-white homes shared the same fate.

Keeping Black and Latino children out of adult felony courts
Children, as young as 15 years old, are no longer automatically transferred to adult felony court over charges of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or public housing following a Reporter investigation that showed 99 percent of teens charged under the law were African American or Latino. A 2005 legislative reform ended the practice and teens were rerouted to the juvenile courts.

Changing the way Chicago police operate
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against Chicago police after the Reporter exposed a spike in disorderly conduct arrests –they were up 41.6 percent in the span of one year, from 8,724 in 1980 to 12,358 in 1981–through sweeps that occurred almost exclusively in majority Black and Latino police districts.

Creating equity in Chicago’s parks
A 1978 data analysis by the Reporter showed that parks in Chicago’s white wards got more funding, better facilities and programs than those in predominantly Black and Latino wards. That spurred the U.S. Department of Justice to sue the Chicago Park District, which settled by agreeing to boost staffing and spend most of $10 million a year for five years in capital funds to improve programs and facilities at parks in minority wards. 

Bringing emergency services to Black and Latino neighborhoods A Reporter investigation in March 1978 revealed that Chicago Fire Department ambulances in Black and Latino neighborhoods weren’t fully equipped with telemetry devices, which include a cardiac monitor and two-way radio, allowing paramedics to communicate vital medical information to emergency room doctors while en route to the hospital. The story was based on a tip from a paramedic, after a February1978 investigation reported that the department cut its firefighting force by 10 percent, although it had the highest fire death rate among major cities.

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100+ alumni respond to The Reporter “hiatus”

Note: The following letter was delivered to the Board and Executive Director of Community Renewal Society on Oct. 2, along with the signatures of more than 50 Chicago Reporter alumni. To date, more than 130 alumni have signed the letter. The writers of the letter are currently seeking permission from the signers to include their names on this website.

SIGN ON HERE

To: Rev. Dr. Waltrina N. Middleton and Members of the Board of the Community Renewal Society

From: Alumni of The Chicago Reporter

We are writing to you about The Chicago Reporter, where every one of us who has signed below worked at one point during the past five decades. We are very concerned about its future as a journalistic agent of change through its fact- and data-based reporting.

We are distressed by reports that the Community Renewal Society has put the Reporter on “hiatus” and has removed its editor and publisher with no public announcement or explanation and without any word about what will happen next.

There has never been a more important time for The Chicago Reporter to be actively engaged in the work it does best as activists and citizens raise issues of racial and economic disparities and police shootings of Black men and women.

Movements depend on the facts dug up and revealed by journalists about illegal, unfair and immoral acts of government and other institutions, and succeed in forcing change through the spotlight of publications such as the Reporter.

John A McDermott came to that conclusion as a well-respected activist who led the Catholic Interracial Council during the civil rights movement, hosting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at his office for strategy sessions during King’s 1965 open housing drive in Chicago.

After stepping down from the council, McDermott traveled the country to learn what it would take to get people to obey the new civil rights laws passed in the 1960s, and determined that the best way would be to give people the dispassionate hard facts.

McDermott brought the idea of The Chicago Reporter to the Community Renewal Society, whose executive director, Donald Benedict, welcomed him, believing CRS had room for activism, community building, chorale groups and The Chicago Reporter.

The Reporter has exceeded its promise. As one of the earliest not-for-profit investigative publications and among the few to early on focus on data, the Reporter continually breaks new ground with stories that prompt change.

Chicago’s need for improvement does not stop with the many reforms instituted after Reporter investigations on policing, emergency medical care, education, housing, hiring, contracting, banking and more.

And as a group, the Reporter has been critical to us, not only giving us journalistic training and development but also a firm grounding in issues of racial, ethnic and economic justice, making us better reporters, editors, journalists and writers.

The Reporter’s success depends on its independent editorial control and its freedom to conduct

its investigations and reporting without interference as it holds institutions and leaders accountable on issues of race, ethnicity, poverty and justice.

We ask you to explain why you have put The Chicago Reporter on hiatus and removed its editor and publisher. We request that you create a transparent process for the future of the Reporter.

And we insist the editor and publisher must have independent editorial control. These steps, we believe, will help reassure the community that The Chicago Reporter will continue to fulfill the role that John A. McDermott intended as a legacy of Dr. King’s campaign for racial justice in Chicago.

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Accolades for our work over the decades

Awards won by The Chicago Reporter since its founding in 1972.

1974

The Chicago Reporter – Michelle Clark Award for race relations reporting, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

1975

The Chicago Reporter – The James Brown IV Award of Excellence for Outstanding Community Service, Chicago Community Trust. Special mention of reporter Irene McCullough’s analysis of police statistics, “Murder in Chicago: Homicide Rate Zooms But There Are Few Interracial Killings,” May 1974

1978

The Chicago Reporter – James P. McGuire Award, Illinois Division of the American Civil Liberties Union.

1979

Stories on the high fire death rate and Chicago Fire Department problems, by Sharon B. Gelder – Peter Lisagor Award; Stick-O-Type for public service.

Stories on infant mortality, by Nancy Fischer Schulte – Unity in Media Award, Lincoln University; Stick-O-Type Award for investigative reporting.

1980

 “City’s Low-interest Home Loans Bypass Minority Communities; Blacks, Latinos Buy In White Area, Secure One-third of Loans,” by Tom Brune and Lawrence J. Tell – Jacob Scher Award for investigative reporting.

“Attack On Cook County Hospital Threat To Chicago’s Poor,” by Alfredo S. Lanier, Peter Lisagor Award.

The Chicago Reporter’s 1979 Annual Corporate Survey,” by Lawrence J. Tell – Stick-O-Type Award for business reporting.

Editorial on Chicago race relations by John A. McDermott – Stick-O-Type Award.

The Chicago Reporter – National Mass Media Medallion Award, National Conference of Christians & Jews.

1981

Ronni Scheier, health care reporter – Helen Cody Baker Award for Public Service, Social Service Communicators, Inc.; Ray Bruner Science Writing Fellowship Award, American Public Health Association.

1982

 “Godfather in the Ghetto: State Lottery Win Bet On Minority Gamblers,” by Kevin Blackistone and Ronni Scheier – Special Recognition Award, National Association of Black Journalists.

“Crisis Management: City Paramedics Must Gamble With Out-of-District Runs; Areas Left Unprotected While New Ambulances Sit Idle,” by James Ylisela, Jr. – Stick-O-Type Award for investigative reporting.

Stories on abortion issues for minorities and the poor, by Ronni Scheier – Excellence in Journalism Award, Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance.

The Chicago Reporter – Thomas & Eleanor Wright Award, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations; Outstanding Public Service Award, Chicago Association of Black Journalists.

1983

“Top Firms’ Minority Employment Drops Again, But Purchasing Up,” by Joanna Brown – Stick-O-Type Award for business reporting.

1984

“Education at South Shore High: A $4.5 Million Flop,” by Ann Grimes and Laura S. Washington – National Award for Education Reporting, Education Writers Association; Peter Lisagor Award; Stick-O-Type Award.

“Gallant Voice for Justice Loses Battle Against Despair,” Laura S. Washington and Cassiette A. West – Peter Lisagor Award.

“Public Teachers Pick Private Schools For Own Kids,” by Ann Grimes – Stick-O-Type Award.

“Race & Poverty in Chicago,” by Tom Brune, Eduardo Camacho, Ronnie Scheier and Willie Cole – Peter Lisagor Award; Stick-O-Type Award for best series.

“Full Service – Less Service,” by Laura S. Washington and James Ylisela, Jr. – Jacob Scher Award for investigative reporting.

“Dumpers Swamp City’s Southeast Side With Noxious, Toxic Waste,” by Ben Joravsky – Stick-O-Type Award for investigative reporting.

The Chicago Reporter – Public Service Award, Chicago Association of Black Journalists.

1985

Stories on The Woodlawn Organization and racial violence and harassment by Kevin Blackistone – Stick-O-Type Award for investigative reporting

“Hispanics in Chicago,” by Jorge Casuso and Eduardo Camacho – Community Service Award for Excellence in Reporting, Chicago Community Trust.

1986

“Asbestos in CHA Apartments Poses Possible Health Hazards,” by Martha Allen – Jacob Scher Award for investigative reporting.

1987

“Race in Chicago, What’s Ahead?” by John Schrag and Ben Joravsky – Stick-O-Type Award for series.

1988

“Enrollment Down, Taxes Up at Chicago City Colleges,” by Jean Franczyk and Valerie Phillips – Peter Lisagor Award for public service reporting.

1989

The Chicago Reporter – Annual Award In Recognition Of Excellence Of Achievement In Publishing Arts, Chicago Women In Publishing.

1991

“City Balks as Billboards Overrun Poor Areas,” by Laurie Abraham – Peter Lisagor Award for public service reporting; Clarion Award, Women in Communications; Print Media Award, Chicago Association of Black Journalists.

“Sick and Poor In Chicago,” by Laurie Abraham – Clarion Award, Women in Communications.

“West Side Loses in Clout City,” by Laura S. Washington and Curtis Lawrence – Clarion Award, Women in Communications.

“Eighty Percent of Chicago Area Recruits are Minorities,” by Rachel Jones – Clarion Award, Women in Communications.

 “State Budget Crisis Leaves Terminal Care for the Poor hanging in the Balance,” by Rachel L. Jones – Award of Excellence, National Hospice Organization.

The Chicago Reporter – 18th Annual Award In Recognition of Excellence of Achievement In Publishing Arts, Chicago Women In Publishing; Harold Washington Award, Independent Voters of Illinois.

Laura S. Washington – Kizzy Image and Achievement Award, Black Women Hall of Fame Foundation; “America’s Up & Coming Business and Professional Women,” Dollars and Sense magazine.

1992

“Troubled Courts, Troubled Kids,” by Laurie Abraham – Gavel Award and Kogan Media Award, Chicago Bar Association. 

Series of stories on Commonwealth Edison’s treatment of poor and minority neighborhoods, by James Ylisela, Jr., Lisa Capitanini and Ted Pearson – Peter Lisagor Award.

“Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Epidemic in Minority Communities,” by Lisa Capitanini – Chicago Women in Publishing Award.

“Housing in Chicago,” by Curtis Lawrence and Lisa Capitanini – Communication Award, Archdiocese of Chicago.

“State Budget Crisis Leaves Terminal Care for the Poor Hanging in the Balance,” by Rachel Jones – Communication Award, Archdiocese of Chicago.

1993

“New Police Plan Faces Obstacles,” by Thomas Corfman – Local Public Affairs News Award, Inland Press Association.

“’Just Say No’ Program Says ‘Yes’ to Public Funds,” by Muriel Whetstone – Peter Lisagor Award.

Thomas Corfman – Public Affairs Award, Asian American Bar Association.

Laura S. Washington – American Pluralism Award, Illinois Ethnic Coalition.

1994

“Beyond Chicago,” a series about Chicago’s suburbs by Paul Cuadros, Paul Caine, Ray Quintanilla, Helena Sundman, and Sharon McGowan – Local Public Affairs Award, Inland Press Association; Sigma Delta Chi Award, Society of Professional Journalists.

“The Cost of Racism,” by a joint effort by The Reporter and WTTW/Channel 11 – Ohio State Award, Ohio State University; Peter Lisagor Award; award from National Association of Black Journalists; Peter Lisagor for Best Newsletter.

“The Dream that Died,” an investigation of a federal housing subsidy program by Paul Caine – Peter Lisagor Award; award from National Association of Black Journalists.

“Failure to Communicate,” a report on the lack of translators at hospital by Ruth Richman – Communications Award, Archdiocese of Chicago.

The Chicago Reporter – Unity Award for Investigative Reporting, Lincoln University, for “the coverage of minority issues.”

1995

“The Wrong Side of the Track,” a story on the poor living conditions at Arlington International Racecourse by Danielle Gordon – Sigma Delta Chi Award, Society of Professional Journalists; Peter Lisagor Award; Local Public Affairs First Prize Award, Inland Press Association; Clarion Award, Women in Communications.

“The Pulse of Reform,” a series on health care reform by Paul Cuadros – Primary Care Journalism Award, Pew Charitable Trust.

“Trading Type for Bites,” by Mary Abowd – Award for Excellence in Journalism, Chicago Association of Black Journalists.

“State Neglects Cook County’s Poor Kids,” by Natalie Pardo – Communication Award, Archdiocese of Chicago.

Laura S. Washington – Matrix Award for Outstanding Achievement in Communications, Women in Communications.

1996

“Voter Registration: Too Good to be True,” by Burney Simpson – Journalism Award, National Press Club; Unity Award, Lincoln University.

“Republican Judges: The New Minority,” by Rekha Balu – Special Recognition Award, Chicago Council of Lawyers; Herman Kogan Media Award, Chicago Bar Association.

Series on lead poisoning at the Chicago Housing Authority, by Natalie Pardo, Medal for Meritorious Journalism, Casey Foundation.

1997

“Death Comes by Accident in Poor, Black Neighborhoods,” by Brian Rogal – Ray Bruner Science Writing Award, American Public Health Association; Unity Award, Lincoln University; Salute to Excellence Award, National Association of Black Journalists.

“Republican Judges: The New Minority,” by Rehka Balu – Herman Kogan Media Award, Chicago Bar Association.

Series on lead poisoning at the Chicago Housing Authority, by Natalie Pardo – Peter Lisagor Award.

Laura S. Washington – Racial Justice Award, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago; Media Advocacy Award, Illinois Association of Non-Profit Organizations.

1998

Series on sexual abuse of minority women and children by Natalie Pardo – Local Public Affairs News Award, Inland Press Association; Communications Award, Archdiocese of Chicago;

“Zoned Out,” an investigation into Chicago Empowerment Zones, by Burney Simpson –  National Headliner Award, The Press Club of Atlantic City

“Chicago Matters: What’s Working?” a series that included “Invisible Jobless” and an investigation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service by Danielle Gordon, and “Zoned Out,” by Burney Simpson – Award for Excellence in Writing, Chicago Women in Publishing.

Laura S. Washington – Bernadine C. Washington Human Relations Award, Chicago Commission on Human Relations

1999

“Chicago Matters: Our Region, Our Community,” Clarion Award for Magazine Series, Association for Women in Communications; two Peter Lisagor Awards.

“Sex Abuse Cases Decline, but Blacks Still Main Victims,” by Natalie Pardo – Peter Lisagor Award; Unity Award in Media, Lincoln University.

“Evanston, Oak Park Struggle to Keep Racial Balance,” by Alysia Tate – Feature Writing, Peter Lisagor Award.

“Wanted: Minority Voters for Governor’s Race” and “Latinos Do an About-face, Support Poshard,” by Alysia Tate and Sofia Javed – Unity Media Award, Lincoln University.

The Chicago Reporter web site – Excellence Award for Online Publications, Chicago Women in Publishing

Laura S. Washington – Community Service Fellowship, Chicago Community Trust; Studs Terkel Award, Community Media Workshop.

2000

“Special Report on Englewood,” by the Chicago Reporter staff – First Place Award, Inland Press Association; Best Online News Project Category for New Media, National Association of Black Journalists; Excellence Award, Chicago Women in Publishing; Peter Lisagor Awards for online public service and reporting.

“Policing Their Own,” about police misconduct in Chicago, by Rebecca Anderson – Newsletter Journalism Award, National Press Club; First Place Award, Inland Press Association.

“A Community’s Trauma,” by Alysia Tate – Award in Excellence in Magazines, Chicago Association of Black Journalists; Award of Excellence, Chicago Women in Publishing.

“Chicago Matters: Examining Health,” by the Chicago Reporter staff – Public Service, Newsletter Category, Peter Lisagor Award.

Jim McGowan – Peter Lisagor Award for layout and design.

Alysia Tate – Excellence Award, Southwest Women Working Together.

Laura S. Washington – Excellence in Media Award, Chicago Chapter of the National Organization of Women; Harry Chapin Media Award for Lifetime Achievement, World Hunger Year; Excellence Award, Southwest Women Working Together.

2001

“Chicago Matters: Education Matters,” a three-part series focused on inner-city schooling, children and families, by Mick Dumke, Brian Rogal and Sarah Karp and CATALYST  writers Dan Weissman, Maureen Kelleher, Bret Schaeffer and Elizabeth Duffrin – Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism

Story on Illinois juvenile transfer law by Sarah Karp – Award for enterprise reporting, Chicago Association of Black Journalists.

“Fighting the Odds: The Plight of Young Black Men,” by Alden Loury – Herman Kogan Media Award, Chicago Bar Association.

“State Drug Law Hits City Teens, Minorities,” by Sarah Karp – Herman Kogan Media Award, Chicago Bar Association.

“1,000 Feet,” the radio version of “State Drug Law Hits City Teens, Minorities,” by Sarah Karp and produced with WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago Public Radio – investigative reporting award, Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

“Transit Woes: The CTA’s Aging Bus Fleet,” by Rui Kaneya and Pamela A. Lewis – Peter Lisagor Award for online public service.

Jim McGowan – Peter Lisagor Award layout and design.

Laura S. Washington – Induction in Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame by the International Press Club of Chicago; Trailblazer Award, Chicago Association of Black Journalists; 5th Annual Women in History Month Award, Alpha Gamma Pi Organization, Metropolitan Cluster, National Hook-Up of Black Women Inc., and the Chicago Urban League.

2002

“Chicago Matters: Education Matters,” by Mick Dumke, Sarah Karp and Brian Rogal and CATALYST writers Liz Duffrin, Maureen Kelleher and Dan Weissmann – Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service, Society of Professional Journalists; Peter Lisagor Award for public service; Alden Loury and Rui Kaneya – Peter Lisagor Award for public service in online coverage; Jim McGowan – Peter Lisagor Award for layout and design.

“Giving Voice to the Anonymous,” by Stephanie Williams – First Place for personality profiles category, National Federation of Press Women; Mate E Palmer Communications award, Illinois Women’s Press Association.

Stories on drug abuse treatment in Cook County by Rui Kaneya – Mate E Palmer Communications award, Illinois Women’s Press Association.

Investigation of crack babies by Sarah Karp – Mate E Palmer Communications award, Illinois Women’s Press Association.

Alysia Tate – 2002 “40 Under 40” of up-and-coming leaders, Crain’s Chicago Business.

2003

Three-part series on the war on drugs by Alden Loury – Unity Award in Media for investigative reporting, Lincoln University of Missouri.

2004

Series on ex-offenders by Sarah Karp and Leah Samuel – Peter Lisagor Award for in-depth reporting.

“Power to His People,” a profile of black-reparation rights activist Conrad Worrill by Mick Dumke – Peter Lisagor Award for feature writing; Award for Excellence, National Association of Black Journalists Chicago Chapter.

“Foster Case Ends in Disaster,” by Sarah Karp – Award for Excellence, National Association of Black Journalists Chicago Chapter.

Alysia Tate – “You Make a Difference” award, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights, Region V; Fellow, Leadership Greater Chicago; Fellow, Poynter Institute Ethics Fellows Class.

2005

“Deadly Moves,” an examination of the danger created in gang-controlled areas after the emptying of high-rise public housing, by the Chicago Reporter and the Residents’ Journal – New America Award, The Society of Professional Journalists; Peter Lisagor Award for media collaboration.

“Our Next Generation,” by Sarah Karp – Sidney Hillman Foundation Award.

2006

Series of stories on ex-offenders by Sarah Karp, Rupa Shenoy and Robert VerBruggen – Peter Lisagor Award for in-depth reporting.

“Rising values,” by Kimbriell Kelly – Peter Lisagor Award for business reporting.

The Chicago Reporter – Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award for reporting on racial issues, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Independent Press Award for Local Coverage, Utne Reader.

2007

“51 Cents an Hour,” by Kimbriell Kelly – Clarion Award for magazine series, Association for Women in Communications.

Story on human trafficking by Kimbriell Kelly and Angelica Herrera – Peter Lisagor Award for business reporting

Alden Loury – Fellow, inaugural Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution.

2008

“High Price of Homeownership,” an examination of wide racial disparities in high-cost mortgage lending by Kimbriell Kelly and Alden Loury – Peter Lisagor Award for business reporting.

 “Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders,” a yearlong examination of immigration in the Chicago region, by the Chicago Reporter, the Chicago Community Trust, the Chicago Public Library, Chicago Public Radio and WTTW-Channel 11 – Midwest Light of Human Rights Award for the media collaboration, Heartland Alliance.

Three part-series on immigration by Kimbriell Kelly, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein and Angelica Herrera – Peter Lisagor Award for in-depth reporting

 “Missed Signals,” an investigation of Chicago Police officers sued for wrongful death in fatal shootings of civilians by Jeff Kelly Lowenstein and Rui Kaneya – Herman Kogan Media Award, Chicago Bar Association; and with and Colorlines Tram Nguyen – Watchdog Award for Excellence in Public Interest Reporting, Chicago Headline Club.

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein – Ochberg Fellow, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

Fernando Diaz – Emerging Journalist of the Year, National Association of Hispanic Journalists; Justice and Journalism Fellowship for Ethnic Media, USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism.

2009

 “A Renter’s Nightmare,” an examination of what happens to renters when lenders and mortgage firms take over foreclosed apartment buildings, by Kelly Virella – Peter Lisagor Award for business reporting.

“Children of the Incarcerated,” a series by Fernando Diaz, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Alden Loury, Rui Kaneya and Christiana Schmitz – Herman Kogan Media Award, Chicago Bar Association.

“Lower Standards,” an investigation of racial disparities in nursing homes by Jeff Kelly Lowenstein – Public Service Award, National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform.

Alden Loury – Studs Terkel Award, Community Media Workshop.

2010

“Above the Law,” an examination of why authorities do not expunge criminal records, by Kelly Virella, Rui Kaneya and Kimbriell Kelly – Herman Kogan Media Award, the Chicago Bar Association.

“Lower Standards,” an investigation of racial disparities in nursing homes by Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Kimbriell Kelly, Jessica Young and Jennifer Fernicola –  Salute to Excellence Award, National Association of Black Journalists.

2011

“Stolen Futures,” an investigation into how teens are prosecuted as adults, by Angela Caputo and Kimbriell Kelly – Salute to Excellence Award, National Association of Black Journalists.

 “17,” about teens prosecuted as adults for nonviolent offenses, by Angela Caputo, Kimbriell Kelly and Alissa Groeninger – Peter Lisagor Award for in-depth reporting; Jon Lowenstein and Mark Abramson – Peter Lisagor Award for photography; Christine Wachter – Peter Lisagor Award for graphics.

“Taser Timeout,” an examination of excessive Taser use at a Kankakee jail, by Kelly Virella and Kimbriell Kelly and WBEZ’s Natalie Moore – Peter Lisagor Award for multimedia collaboration.

2012

“Out at First,” an investigation of the Chicago Housing Authority’s policy of evicting a household for one crime, by Angela Caputo and Kimbriell Kelly – Sigma Delta Chi Award. Society of Professional Journalists; Peter Lisagor Award for in-depth reporting.

“Without a Smoking Gun,” an investigation into prosecution of teens for guns, by Angela Caputo, Kimbriell Kelly, Phil Jacobson and Samantha Winslow – Peter Lisagor Award in-depth reporting.

“Loopholes,” a story probing how spending $1 billion failed to revive the Loop, by Angela Caputo, Kimbriell Kelly, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein and Louis McGill – Peter Lisagor Award for business reporting; Christine Wachter – Peter Lisagor Award for best design.

“Empty Jackpot,” an investigation to set aside contract with disabilities, by Megan Cottrell, Rui Kaneya, Samuel Charles, Dylan Cinti, Caitlin Huston and Alexis Pope – Peter Lisagor Award for business reporting.

“Living with ADHD,” a joint program of the Chicago Reporter and WPWR-TV by Tasha Ransom, Kimbriell Kelly, Nancy Langfels, Jay Sondheimer, Suzanne Dumetz-Cole and Russ Sherman – Peter Lisagor Award for public affairs programming in television.

“Secure Communities,” Joe Gallo and Jason Reblando – Peter Lisagor Award for best photography.

 “Double Whammy,” Christine Wachter – Peter Lisagor Award for best graphics.

2013

“Abusing the Badge,” by Angela Caputo, Rui Kaneya and Yisrael Shapiro, May 2012 – Investigative reporting award, National Association of Black Journalists.

“Slammed: Photos of Juvenile Justice,” Jonathan Gibby – Peter Lisagor Award for photography.

“Dying for Attention,” by Maria Ines Zamudio, Rui Kaneya, Kate Everson, Kyla Gardner and Kaitlyn Mattson – Peter Lisagor Award for non-deadline reporting.

“Subsidized Housing,” “Wage Theft,” and “Juvenile Justice,” Christine Wachter – Peter Lisagor Award for graphics.

“Minor Misconduct,” by Angela Caputo, Rui Kaneya, Jonathan Gibby and Safiya Merchant – Peter Lisagor Award for in-depth reporting.

“Waiting in Vain,” by Maria Ines Zamudio, Rui Kaneya, Crystal Vance Guerra and Samuel Charles – Peter Lisagor Award for in-depth reporting.

“There is More to Being Gluten-Free,” a WPWR-TV story by Tasha Ransom, Kimbriell Kelly, Jay Sondheimer, Steve Long, Ken Goss and Bill Barth – Peter Lisagor Award for science, heath, technology, environmental reporting.

“Experts Talk About Sexual Assault and How to Defend Yourself,” a WPWR-TV story by Tasha Ransom, Kimbriell Kelly, Jay Sondheimer, Steve Long, Russ Sherman and Bill Barth – Peter Lisagor Award for public affairs programming.

Megan Cottrell – Studs Terkel Community Media Award, Chicago Media Workshop.

2015

The Chicago Reporter received the 2016 Justice Leadership Award from the Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), a nonprofit organization that helps divert people who have substance use and mental health conditions out of the justice system and into recovery in the community. The award recognizes the Reporter’s longtime reporting at the intersection of criminal justice, poverty and race.

Jonah Newman was a finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists in the local news category for his investigation, “Public Housing, Private Security.” The awards are sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the University of Michigan and honor outstanding achievement by professionals under the age of 35 in local, national and international reporting.

Deborah L. Shelton, was a finalist for the Urban Health Journalism Prize, awarded by the New York Academy of Medicine, for “Guilty of mental illness,” a story about the criminalization of people living with mental illness.

Adeshina Emmanuel won a Peter Lisagor Award for “Who’s doing business in the neighborhood.”

2016

Database reporter Jonah Newman and data editor Matt Kiefer received an Innovation in Investigative Journalism (small category) award from the Investigative Reporters and Editors for the “Settling for Misconduct” project and database of police settlements.

The Chicago Reporter received an award of excellence from the Society for News Design for its “Settling for Misconduct” database of police settlements.

The Chicago Reporter was a finalist for the Watchdog Award from the Chicago Headline Club for its “Settling for Misconduct” project and database of police settlements.

Education reporters Kalyn Belsha and Melissa Sanchez won a Chicago Headline Club Lisagor Award for Best Education Reporting in Newspaper or Magazine (non-deadline) for a series of stories about the digital divide in Chicago Public Schools.

2017

Settling for Misconduct cited in Justice Department report on needed reforms at the Chicago Police Department.

Lisagor Award – Best Business Reporting. “Wage theft victims have little chance of recouping pay in Illinois” by Melissa Sanchez and Matt Kiefer

2018

Lisagor Award – Best Business Reporting. “Alternative energy scams hit poor blacks and Latinos the hardest, complaints show” by La Risa Lynch

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“Ex-staffers launch campaign to save Chicago Reporter”

More than 100 former employees of the Chicago Reporter are fighting to save the investigative news organization after 48 years of vital reporting on issues of race, poverty and inequality. 

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Sun-Times: staff call for “a transparent process for the future of the Reporter.”

Publication of the Chicago Reporter, an investigative news source that has probed issues of race and poverty for nearly five decades, was halted without explanation after its editor and publisher was fired last month, according to a letter sent Friday to the outlet’s owner.

The letter, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, states that former employees and contributors were “distressed” to learn the Reporter’s former publisher and sole editor Fernando Diaz had been terminated Sept. 17 as the periodical was placed on “hiatus.” The latest story on the Reporter’s website was published a day earlier.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/2020/10/4/21501250/chicago-reporterhiatus-publisher-removal-journalism

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Nearly 50 years of impact

Covid Tracker
As Black and Latino people began testing positive for Coronavirus and dying at significantly higher rates than white people in Chicago and around the state, the Reporter launched the bilingual Covid tracking project this year and more than 1 million people, including the New York Times, have turned to the data as a vital source of information about the virus’ toll on people of color.

Exposing the magnitude of police misconduct
Since 2017, the Reporter has overseen an interactive database to track police officers behind city spending on legal settlements over allegations of civil rights abuses. In just more than a decade the city paid more than half a billion dollars, much of it borrowed the Reporter found, adding to the city’s mounting debt while eroding confidence in law enforcement.

Holding banks accountable for the foreclosure crisis
When the U.S. Department of Justice announced a $335 million settlement–the first of its kind related to the foreclosure crisis–in 2011 the Reporter was credited for spurring the lawsuit with an investigation that showed lenders steered African-American and Latino borrowers into subprime, predatory loans at higher rates than white borrowers.

Getting better care for Black people in nursing homes
Nursing home patients in Black neighborhoods have better nursing care today because of legislative reform spurred by a 2009 Reporter investigation that found more than half of all majority-black nursing homes in Chicago received the worst possible rating, while only 11 percent of majority-white homes shared the same fate.

Keeping Black and Latino children out of adult felony courts
Children, as young as 15 years old, are no longer automatically transferred to adult felony court over charges of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or public housing following a Reporter investigation that showed 99 percent of teens charged under the law were African American or Latino. A 2005 legislative reform ended the practice and teens were rerouted to the juvenile courts.

Changing the way Chicago police operate
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against Chicago police after the Reporter exposed a spike in disorderly conduct arrests –they were up 41.6 percent in the span of one year, from 8,724 in 1980 to 12,358 in 1981–through sweeps that occurred almost exclusively in majority Black and Latino police districts.

Creating equity in Chicago’s parks
A 1978 data analysis by the Reporter showed that parks in Chicago’s white wards got more funding, better facilities and programs than those in predominantly Black and Latino wards. That spurred the U.S. Department of Justice to sue the Chicago Park District, which settled by agreeing to boost staffing and spend most of $10 million a year for five years in capital funds to improve programs and facilities at parks in minority wards. 

Bringing emergency services to Black and Latino neighborhoods A Reporter investigation in March 1978 revealed that Chicago Fire Department ambulances in Black and Latino neighborhoods weren’t fully equipped with telemetry devices, which include a cardiac monitor and two-way radio, allowing paramedics to communicate vital medical information to emergency room doctors while en route to the hospital. The story was based on a tip from a paramedic, after a February1978 investigation reported that the department cut its firefighting force by 10 percent, although it had the highest fire death rate among major cities.

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Chicago Tribune: the Chicago Reporter has blazed a trail

For nearly 50 years, the Chicago Reporter has blazed a trail as an investigative not-for-profit publication focused on uncovering racial inequalities through database reporting.

Three weeks after parent Community Renewal Society, a Chicago faith-based organization, abruptly put the Reporter on hiatus and removed its editor and publisher, a group of more than 100 former employees is searching for answers and trying to “save” the publication.

Three weeks after parent Community Renewal Society, a Chicago faith-based organization, abruptly put the Reporter on hiatus and removed its editor and publisher, a group of more than 100 former employees is searching for answers and trying to “save” the publication. https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-chicago-reporter-editor-removed-hiatus-20201006-wmwqtwnze5e4jayha36mznlqky-story.html

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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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