Dan Mihalopoulos, the veteran investigative reporter and political columnist who recently joined Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM, was honored Friday by the Chicago Headline Club for his work at the Sun-Times.
Mihalopoulos was named winner of the Anne Keegan Award for three feature stories he wrote last year, including one about an undocumented Mexican woman who lived most of her life in the Chicago area and was denied a life-saving transplant because she lacked a valid Social Security number.
Named for the late Chicago Tribune columnist, the Keegan Award recognizes journalists “who tell stories of ordinary people in extraordinarily well-reported and well-written prose.”
Recipients of the Headline Club’s Watchdog Award for Excellence in Public Interest Reporting were Jason Grotto and Sandhya Kambhampati of ProPublica Illinois and the Tribune for “The Tax Divide,” a series on the flawed property tax system in Cook County. “The sophistication of the work was beyond impressive,” according to the judges. “This project is a clinic in how to tackle stories about complex systems.”
Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Pam Zekman, Zay Smith and Bill Recktenwald, the three investigative reporters who broke the famous Mirage Tavern investigative series for the Sun-Times in 1978.
Peter Lisagor Awards, named for the late Chicago Daily News Washington bureau chief, were presented in 115 categories, encompassing print, broadcast and digital media. Teri Arvesu, vice president of news and content at Univision Chicago Local Media, emceed the awards dinner at The Union League Club of Chicago.
In a sign of the times, three Lisagor Awards were presented to entities that had ceased publishing during the year. Winners include Chicagoist, Chicagoly magazine and the Chicago Jewish Star.