BGA Twice Honored in the 2022 National Headliner Awards

Two projects, including "Cabrini-Green: A History of Broken Promises" and "Failures Before the Fires,” were awarded second place in two categories for online journalism. The Fires project, with the Chicago Tribune, was honored for the collaboration. The Cabrini Project was named in a category for online only journalism.

The Better Government Association has been recognized with National Headliner Awards for two of its investigative projects last year — Failures Before the Fires and Cabrini-Green: A History of Broken Promises.

Founded in 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City, the National Headliner Awards is one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalism excellence throughout the nation.

“Cabrini-Green: A History of Broken Promises” by former BGA investigative reporter Alejandra Cancino took second-place honors in the category of “Online investigative reporting for digital-only website.”

The project examined how the former residents of the former public housing complex were offered a long list of promises by the administration of former Mayor Richard M. Daley in his efforts to redevelop the neighborhood on the near North Side of Chicago.

More than two decades later — after the appropriation of more than $2 billion to convert a once-Black neighborhood into a predominantly white one — none of the those promises were kept. Residents were rarely allowed to move back, rarely got the highly desired constructions jobs, and were not allowed to participate in the economic boom that followed the razing of the notorious development.

“The Failures Before the Fires” by former BGA investigative reporter Madison Hopkins and the Chicago Tribune’s Cecilia Reyes also took a second-place honor in the category of “Online investigative reporting for digital partnerships with other news outlets.”

The BGA and Tribune investigation examined every residential fire throughout Chicago since 2014 and discovered how 61 people died in dangerous conditions the city had been warned about — sometimes for years — and yet did little to follow through.

“Denied,” an investigative report about discriminatory mortgage lending for The Markup by reporters Emmanuel Martinez, Lauren Kirchner and Malena Carollo, won first place in the category of digital-only websites. And “Pandora Papers,” by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Washington Post and Miami Herald, won in the category for digital partners with other news organizations, for an unprecedented collaboration by 600 journalists at 151 media outlets in 117 countries.

The National Headliner Awards program, presented by the Press Club of Atlantic City, is one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalistic merit in the communications industry. For a complete list of the winners and the categories, go here.