It's the biggest day of the year for Chicago journalism — and it's all happening online.
In lieu of the annual banquet tonight at the Union League Club of Chicago (which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic), winners of this year's Peter Lisagor Awards have been announced in a "virtual celebration" online.
The presentation video is hosted by Brandis Friedman, correspondent and co-anchor of WTTW-Channel 11's "Chicago Tonight."
In addition to awards for journalistic excellence in print, broadcast and digital media categories, several special citations will be presented for outstanding work:
- Lolly Bowean, reporter for the Chicago Tribune, will receive the Anne Keegan Award for her "deeply-reported and beautifully-written stories" about life in the city’s African American community. "Bowen impressed the judges with her eye for detail, her sense of humor and humanity and – in true spirit of the Anne Keegan Award - her ability to capture the dignity and resilience of common men and women," the judges said.
- Jennifer Smith Richards of the Chicago Tribune and Jodi S. Cohen and Lakeidra Chavis of ProPublica Illinois will receive the Watchdog Award for "The Quiet Rooms," their joint investigation exposing harmful overuse and misuse of seclusion and physical restraints in public schools across Illinois. "The research that went into the reporting was unparalleled – hundreds of interviews along with 300 public records requests that fed into a database of 35,000 incidents – and the story made both immediate and long-term impacts in public schools," the judges said. "This was outstanding work on behalf of many vulnerable kids and their families.”
- As previously reported Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Jim DeRogatis, the longtime Chicago music critic, crusading reporter, author and broadcaster, and Clarence Waldron, former senior writer and senior editor of Jet Magazine. Both will be invited to deliver more public acceptances at the organization’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2021.
- Susan S. Stevens and Howard S. Dubin will receive the inaugural Chicago Headline Club Service Awards honoring their "decades of dedication and service to the club."
In a first for the Lisagor Awards, every finalist and winner will receive a free membership to the Headline Club and the Society of Professional Journalists this year.
The awards are named for Peter Lisagor, Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Daily News from 1959 until his death in 1976. The Headline Club established the awards in 1977.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Bill Figel: Is it too early to nominate [Rod Blagojevich] for the Radio Hall of Fame? I've got this nomination form and it's &*&%$# golden . . .