Event Recap | 2019 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards For Investigative Reporting

Thanks to the generosity of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation we are able to celebrate and reward, with $26,000 in prize money, the work of other investigative journalists in the watchdog fight.

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Investigative Reporting honor some of the best government-related investigative reporting in Illinois. These Awards recognize the importance of investigative journalism in advancing the principles of democracy.

The mission of the Better Government Association is to shine a light on government and hold public officials accountable. Thanks to the generosity of the Driehaus Foundation we are able to celebrate and reward, with $26,000 in prize money, the work of others in the watchdog fight.

This year's winners, honored May 21st at City Winery, revealed government secrets and improved our civic life. They exposed the failure to protect Chicago Public Schools students
from sexual harassment, corruption and misspending at the Illinois Tollway, and wanton disregard for the health of retired soldiers at a state veterans’ home.

The Awards also gave us the special opportunity to discuss government cover-ups and the future of journalism with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, known for his exposé of the massacre in My Lai, Vietnam as well as exposing atrocities at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.




First Place: $15,000

David Jackson, Jennifer Smith Richards, Juan Perez Jr. and Gary Marx
Chicago Tribune

Second Place: $7,000

"Surviving War But Not the Veterans' Home"
Tony Arnold, Dave McKinney and Alex Keefe
WBEZ Chicago

Third Place: $4,000

"Illinois Tollway Investigation"
Marni Pyke
The Daily Herald


Finalist: "Cook County Judges Examined" by Injustice Watch staff

Finalist: "Driven into Debt" by Melissa Sanchez of ProPublica Illinois and Elliott Ramos from WBEZ Chicago

Finalist: "Stuck Kids" by Duaa Eldeib from ProPublica Illinois




The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Barnes & Thornburg and Mark Rust, August Bechtner, Loevy & Loevy, William Donnell, Hyde Park Herald, The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Robert and Linda Levin, Hon. Julia Nowicki (ret), Northwestern Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications, Edelman, Eimer Stahl LLP, Aviva Futorian, The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, D. Carroll Joynes​ and Abby McCormick O'Neil, Jack Modzelewski and Sue Kiner, and The Nolan Family.


City Winery, Seminary Co-op Bookstores, and The Union League Club of Chicago.


The BGA was honored to have Mr. Hersh as our featured guest.


Chris Bury, Senior Journalist in Residence, DePaul University

Brant Houston, Professor and Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mike Miner, Chicago Reader

Jackie Spinner, Correspondent, Columbia Journalism Review

Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times