2008 Lisagor Finalists

Your browser may not support display of this image.FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     Contact: Dawn Reiss 312-590-1921 or Brian Pitts 847-727-6660

April 9, 2009        



Chicago Headline Club Announces Finalists for Peter Lisagor Awards 

The Chicago Headline Club, the largest Society of Professional Journalists chapter in the country, is pleased to announce the finalists for its 32nd annual Peter Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism.  Winners will be announced and awarded at the Lisagor Awards banquet Friday, April 24, at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson. Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner reception starts at 7 p.m.   

In addition to the Lisagor Awards, the Chicago Headline Club will present ABC7’s Andy Shaw and Chicago Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman with Lifetime Achievement Awards and a

Watchdog Award, funded by a Richard Driehaus Foundation grant, for investigative reporting. 

This blockbuster event includes keynote speakers Don Hayner,  editor in chief of the Chicago Sun-Times and Jane Hirt, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune. While Phil Ponce, host of WTTW11’s Chicago Tonight and WBBM Newsradio 780 anchor Felicia Middlebrooks are the masters of ceremonies, more than 200 journalists and editors from every major Chicago media outlet are expected to attend this event.    

“This is about recognizing the best in the business and honoring truly superior contributions to journalism,” said Dawn Reiss, president of the Chicago Headline Club.  “The Chicago Headline Club’s motto is protecting the public’s right to know.  Journalists play an important role in society in making sure the public is well informed and that governmental officials are accountable for their actions.”  

This event is open to the public. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit www.headlineclub.org

The Lisagor Awards finalists are: 


D1. Best Deadline Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Staff, The Associated Press, “Illinois Governor Arrest”

Staff, Chicago Sun-Times, “Corruption Crime Spree: the Arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich”

Staff, Chicago Sun-Times, “Guilty: the Tony Rezko Verdict” 

D2. Best Deadline Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Staff, Kane County Beacon News, “Fallen Angels”

Ginny Lee and Staff, Daily Herald, “Horror Hits Home”

Weekend Staff, Daily Herald, “Tragedy and Loss”


D3. Best Investigative Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Ben Lando, United Press International, “Shell-Iraq gas company is a monopoly, secret agreement shows”

Dan Mihalopoulos, Robert Becker, Darnell Little, Todd Lighty, Laurie Cohen, Chicago Tribune, “Neighborhoods for Sale” 

D4. Best Investigative Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Lori Caldwell and Jon Seidel, Post-Tribune, “The Killing Streets”

Joseph Ryan, Daily Herald, “House Advantage”

Diane Dungey, Jake Griffin, Jameel Naqvi, Jamie Sotonoff, Barry Rozner, Kimberly Pohl, Vincent Pierri, Mike Spellman, Ted Cox, Burt Constable, Daily Herald, “Return to NIU: Return, Remember, Recover” 

D5. Best Political and Government Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Mark J. Konkol, Annie Sweeney, Maudlyne Ihejirika and Frank Main,

Chicago Sun-Times, “59 Hours”

Staff, Chicago Tribune, “Governor Under Fire”

Tim Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, “Daley 3.0: The Next Generation of Chicago’s First Family” 

D6. Best Political and Government Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Phil Kadner, SouthtownStar, “State Fails Vets’ Needs”

John Patterson and Joseph Ryan, Daily Herald, “Governor’s Arrest”

Marni Pyke and Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, “The CN Merger” 

D7. Best Education Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Stephanie Banchero and Patricia Callahan, Chicago Tribune, “The $20,000 Question”

Maudlyne Ihejirika and Annie Sweeney, Chicago Sun-Times, “Four Minutes of Violence at Crane High School”     

Rosalind Rossi, Chicago Sun-Times, “Clout Kids”   

D8. Best Education Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Angela Caputo, SouthtownStar, “Pay and Perks”

Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, “School District Honored by a Company It Hired”

Catherine Ann Velasco, The Herald News, “Half of Grade Fails” 

D9. Best Science, Health, Technology or Environment Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Martha Irvine and Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press, “Staying Young”

Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press, “Risky Autism Study”

Sam Roe and Ted Gregory, Chicago Tribune, “Allergy Threat” 

D10. Best Science, Health, Technology or Environmental Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, “A Wing and A Prayer/Rescued and Released” 


D11. Best News Column or Commentary, circulation more than 300,000

Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times

John Kass, Chicago Tribune

Carol Marin, Chicago Sun-Times 

D12. Best News Column or Commentary, circulation less than 300,000

Denise Crosby, The Beacon News

Kristen McQueary, SouthtownStar

Catherine Ann Velasco, The Herald News  

D13. Best Editorial Writing, circulation more than 300,000

Marie Dillon, Chicago Tribune

Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times

John P. McCormick, Chicago Tribune 

D14. Best Editorial Writing, circulation less than 300,000

John Lampinen, Daily Herald

Karen Sorensen, SouthtownStar 

D15. Best Business or Consumer Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Don Babwin, The Associated Press, “Scrambling for Food/Meltdown Child Care”

Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Oneal, Chicago Tribune, “Child Hazards”

Susan Chandler, Chicago Tribune, “This House was a Steal”    

D16. Best Business or Consumer Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Staff, Southtown Star, coverage of the fate of St. Francis Hospital

Lisa Miner and Staff, Daily Herald, “Our Uncertain Times” 

D17. Best Feature Story, circulation more than 300,000

Melissa Isaacson, Chicago Tribune, “Fade to Black – Something’s Not Right with Mom”  

Barbara Mahany, Chicago Tribune, “Lucy’s Mom was There”

Stephanie Zimmermann, Chicago Sun-Times, “Saving Troy” 

D18. Best Feature Story, circulation less than 300,000

Kerry Lester, Daily Herald, “50 Years Later: Our Lady of the Angels”

Donna Vickroy, SouthtownStar, “Settimio’s Diary”

Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald, “Unfit or Unjust?” 

D19. Best Arts Reporting and Criticism, circulation more than 300,000

Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune, “A gallery of rogues” 

D20. Best Arts Reporting and Criticism, circulation less than 300,000

Ted Cox, Daily Herald, “Edgy Stuff: George Carlin Remembered”

Dann Gire, Daily Herald, “A Reluctant Icon: Paul Newman” 


D21. Best Sports Story, circulation more than 300,000

Brian Hamilton, Chicago Tribune, “Luke Harangody is not the best player in college basketball”

David Haugh, Chicago Tribune, “2 Bad Centuries in a Row?”

Jim O’Donnell, Chicago Sun-Times, “1 in an Arlington Million” 

D22. Best Sports Story, circulation less than 300,000

Bruce Miles, Daily Herald, “Quite a Hit”

Jim Owczarski, Aurora Beacon News, “Fighting The Good Fight”

Tim Sassone, Daily Herald, “Right Where They Belong” 

D23. Best Sports Commentary, circulation more than 300,000

Greg Couch, Chicago Sun-Times

David Haugh, Chicago Tribune

Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune 

D24. Best Sports Commentary, circulation less than 300,000

Tony Baranek, Southtown Star

Mark Lazerus, Post-Tribune

Jim Owczarski, Aurora Beacon News  

D25. Best News Photo, circulation more than 300,000

Charles Rex Arbogast and M. Spencer Green, The Associated Press, “The Obama Campaign: In Pursuit of the Presidency” 

M. Spencer Green, The Associated Press, “Nervous Governor” 

John H. White, Chicago Sun-Times, “Blagojevich and the Rat” 

D26. Best News Photo, circulation less than 300,000

Mark Welsh, Daily Herald, “Mother’s Day Tears”

Matthew Grotto, SouthtownStar, “Memorial”

Joseph P. Meier, SouthtownStar, “Soldier Funeral” 

D27. Best Feature Photo, circulation more than 300,000

Charles Rex Arbogast, The Associated Press, “Faces in the Crowd – The Obama Campaign”   

D28. Best Feature Photo, circulation less than 300,000

Matt Marton, SouthtownStar, “Hope Gifts”

Joseph P. Meier, SouthtownStar, “A Close Cut”

Brett Roseman, SouthtownStar, “Reflections of Service” 

D29. Best Sports Photo, circulation more than 300,000

Charles Rex Arbogast, The Associated Press, “Must – Wait Until Next Year”

Tom Cruze, Chicago Sun-Times, “One Day with the Cubs and Sox” 


D30. Best Sports Photo, circulation less than 300,000

Joseph Meier, SouthtownStar, “Cutting the Nets”

Brett Roseman, SouthtownStar, “Home Plate Obstruction”

Rick West, Daily Herald, “We Believe”


D31. Best Design, circulation more than 300,000

James Smith, Chicago Sun-Times  

Eric White, Chicago Sun-Times 

D32. Best Design, circulation less than 300,000

Chad Merda, SouthtownStar

Sandy Sempowicz, SouthtownStar

Scott Helmchen, Northwest Herald  

D34. Best Graphics, circulation less than 300,000

Tim Broderick, Daily Herald 


N1. Best In-depth Reporting in a General-Interest Publication

Kathy Chaney, Chicago Defender, “Gang Wars Make South Side city’s deadliest” 

Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, “Apparently Money Does Grow on Trees”

Jessica Pupovac, In These Times, “Silenced in the Barracks” 

N2. Best In-depth Reporting in a Community Newspaper

Ben Myers, Chicago Journal-Skyline, “Hospital Closing Shuns Mothers”

Pauline Dubkin Yearwood, Chicago Jewish News, “Obama and the Jews” 

N3. Best In-depth Reporting in a Business Magazine or Newspaper 

Andrea Hanis, Crystal Yednak and staff, Crain’s Chicago Business, “Residential Real Estate: The Emotion Factor”

Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago Business, “Olympic Lure in Harbor Deal”

Staff, Crain’s Chicago Business, “Markets in Crisis” 

N4. Best In-depth Reporting in a Magazine or Magazine Section

Anne Kavanagh, Chicago magazine, “Trauma Queen”

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Kelly Virella, Kari Lydersen, The Chicago Reporter, “Chicago Matters: Growing Forward”

Jessica Reaves, Chicago Tribune Magazine, “Inheritance of Loss” 

N5. Best News Column or Commentary

Bonnie McGrath, Chicago Journal, “South Loop Citizens Mean Business”

Michael Miner, Chicago Reader, “The Greater of Two Evils” 


N6. Best Editorial Writing

Barry B. Burr, Pensions & Investments, “A Needless Risk”

Ben Myers, Chicago Journal-Skyline, Series on Lincoln Park Hospital Closing

Stephanie Stapleton, American Medical News, “Vigilance Key to Fighting Foodborne Illness,” “The Case for Persistence” and “A Green Approach to Public Health” 

N7. Best Business Reporting

Lynda Edwards, ABA Journal, “The Curious Case of Alex Latifi”

Michael Lenehan, Chicago magazine, “Hello, Beautiful”

Kelly Virella, The Chicago Reporter, “A Renter’s Nightmare” 

N8. Best Feature Story

Lynda Edwards, ABA Journal, “The Forgotten”

Hillel Levin, Playboy, “The Strange Redemption of James Keene”

Don Terry, Chicago Tribune Magazine, “Six Blocks of Separation 

N9. Best Arts Reporting and Criticism

Brent DiCrescenzo, Areif Sless-Kitain and John Dugan, Time Out, Lollapalooza package

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune magazine, “Comeback Kid”

Josh Schollmeyer, Chicago magazine, “Bagging the Media Queen” 

N10. Best Sports Story

Jeff Ruby, Chicago magazine, “Playing the Fields”

Bryan Smith, Chicago magazine, “The Breakaway”

Rick Telander, Men’s Journal, “Brotherhood of the Offensive Line”  

N11. Best Photography

Stephen J. Serio, Crain’s Chicago Business, “40 under 40”

Golda Shira, Chicago Jewish News, “Eyewitness to History”

Erik Unger, Crain’s Chicago Business, “Journey to Java” 

N12. Best Design

Stephanie Gladney, Time Out Chicago

Jason McGregor, Crain’s Chicago Business

Melissa Phee, Crain’s Chicago Business  

N13. Best Graphics

Eric Semelroth, Modern Healthcare  


R1. Best Breaking News Story

Steve Grzanick, Bob Roberts, Mary Frances Bragiel and Staff, WBBM Newsradio 780, “NIU Shootings”

Nancy Harty, Steve Miller and Staff, WBBM Newsradio 780, “Lane Bryant Shooting”

Staff, WGN-AM, “Terror on Campus” 

R2. Best In-Depth News Story or Series

Steve Bertrand, WGN-AM, “Changing the Odds”

Steve Grzanich, WBBM Newsradio 780, “Chicago 1968 – The Whole World Was Watching”

David Schaper, National Public Radio, “Gov. Blagojevich Arrested” 

R3. Best Investigative Reporting

Linda Paul and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Addolfo’s Story” 

R4. Best Newscast

Steve Grzanich, Keith Johnson, Leon Coluin and Staff, WBBM Newsradio 780, The 4 p.m. Newscast (May 21; Nov. 4; Dec. 9, 2008)   

R5. Best Feature Reporting

Ben Calhoun and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Hugs”

Lynette Kalsnes and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio. “Unusual Camp Brings Comfort and Fun to Grieving Children”

Reed Pence and Sean Waldron, Radio Health Journal, “Radio Health Journal: Perinatal Hospice” 

R6. Best Public Affairs Reporting

John Conroy, Ben Calhoun and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Alton Logan”

Staff, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, 2008 General Election Coverage

Staff, WFMT, “Studs Terkel: Montage of a Life” 

R7. Best Business or Consumer Reporting

Cheryl Corley, National Public Radio, “Credit Crunch Hits Student Loan Industry”

Ashley Gross and Adriene Hill, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Bankrupt Builder” 

R8. Best Health or Science Reporting

Steve Miller, WBBM Newsradio 780, “Bypass”

David Schaper, National Public Radio, “Recycling Energy”

Gabriel Spitzer and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Parkinson’s Patients Cut a Rug”                 

R9. Best Sports Story

Jeff Joniak, WBBM Newsradio 780, “Joniak’s Journal/Anthony Adams”

Lynette Kalsnes, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Roller Skating” 


T1. Best Breaking News Story

Isis Chaverri, Maria de Lourdes Garcia and Aleksander Banks, Univision Chicago WGBO, Flood coverage  


T2. Best In-depth News Story or Series

Jackie Bange, Nelson Howard and Rick Strasser, WGN-TV, “Looking for Justice”

Mark Saxenmeyer, David Tresnowski and Timothy P. Smith, WFLD Fox Chicago, “Pet Rescue Inc.”

Paula Gomez, Isis Chaverri and Jessica Fernandez, Univision Chicago WGBO, “Quest of a Family Seeking Justice” 

T3. Best Investigative Reporting

Mark Saxenmeyer, Dartise Johnson and Lou Hinkhouse, WFLD Fox Chicago, “Where Did All the CHA Residents Go?”

Paula Gomez, Sonia Garcia and Erika Maldonado, Univision Chicago WGBO, “Dr. Scam” 

T5. Best Feature Reporting

Steve Sanders, Pam Grimes and Mike D’Angelo, WGN-TV, “Prodigy”

Mark Saxenmeyer, Kevin Tomich and Juan Ramirez, WFLD Fox Chicago, “Through the Lens of Loss”

Kim Vartis, NBC 5, “The New Reality” 

T6. Best Public Affairs Programming

Daniel Andries and Alexandra Silets, WTTW11, “Out and Proud in Chicago”

Mark Saxenmeyer, Lou Hinkhouse and Dartise Johnson, WFLD Fox Chicago, “Policing the Reserves” 

T7. Best Business or Consumer Reporting

Pam Grimes, Sean Maroney and Manny Medina, “Buy an Interview,” WGN-TV

Mark Saxenmeyer, Rod Stanbeck and Dartise Johnson, WFLD Fox Chicago,

“Stolen Houses” 

T8. Best Health or Science Reporting

Julianne Hill, Sharon Barrett and Carmen Jones, CNBC, “American Greed – Diluted Trust”

Nesita Kwan and Robert Ray, NBC 5, “Gut Check”

Kevin Roy and Stephen J. Lewis, WLS-TV/ABC7, “Surviving Suicide”  

T9. Best Sports Story

Pam Grimes and Mike D’Angelo, WGN-TV, “Little Sluggers”

Daryl Hawks, NBC 5, “A Fan’s Dream” 

T10. Best Videographer

Mark Carlson, The Associated Press, “8 Days of Ike”

Patrick Keating, WLS-TV/ABC7, “Bench, Break, Buzz!” 



AM2. Editorial cartoon

Marty Bach, Chicago Tribune 

Roger L. Schillerstrom, Crain’s Chicago Business

Marc Stopeck, Wednesday Journal   


S2. Best In-depth Report or Series

Sarah Karp and John Myers, Catalyst Chicago, “Class of 2011”

John Myers and Sarah Karp, Catalyst Chicago, “Weighing the Options”

Christine Stebbins, Reuters, “Grain users demand actions on CBOT prices” 

S3. Best Commentary

John Wasik, Bloomberg News, “No, Virginia”  

S4. Best Business or Consumer Reporting

Ben Klayman, Reuters, “Sports attendance up, hot dog spending down”

Christine Stebbins, Reuters, “CBOT grain trade swept by winds of change”

Jeff Wilson, Shruti Singh, Brian Louis and Mario Parker, Bloomberg News, “Crop Crash” 

S5. Best Feature Story

Terry Carter, ABA Journal, “The G-Man”

Victoria Stagg Elliott,  American Medical News, “Rebuilding Body & Spirit”

John Lippert, Bloomberg News, “Penny Pritzker Shows Why She Got Buffett to Aid Obama” 


X1. Best Interactive Project

Stephen Rynkiewicz and Darnell Little, chicagotribune.com, “Chicago Homes Heat Maps”

Brian Hill and Staff, dailyherald.com, “Return, Remember, Recover”

Matt Carmichael, Michelle L. Evans, Jeff Hartvigsen, chicagobusiness.com,  “Market Facts”   

X2. Best News Web Site

Kirsten Miller, Online Staff and Newsroom Staff, suntimes.com

Staff, chicagotribune.com

Staff, NWHerald.com 

X3. Best Online Commentary 

Roger Ebert, suntimes.com, “Roger Ebert’s Journal” 

Dawn Turner Trice, chicagotribune.com, “Exploring Race” 

Staff, chicagopublicradio.org, 2008 political convention coverage



X4. Best Neighborhood/Community News

Theresa Carter, thelocaltourist.com

Staff, chitowndailynews.org 

X5. Best Feature Story

Bob Cook, nbcsports.com, “Goats, Curses and 100 Years of Cubs Angst”

Danielle Guerra, NWHerald.com, “Jeff’s Last Delivery”

Rex Huppke and staff, chicagotribune.com, “Our Lady of the Angels: The Fire that Changed Everything” 

X6. Best Business or Consumer Reporting

Steve Daniels and David Sterrett, chicagobusiness.com, “Deloitte Partner Accused of Insider Trading” and “Buffett a Client of Accused Deloitte Partner”

Alby Gallun and Thomas A. Corfman, ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com, “Trump Sues Lenders for More Time to Pay Off on Tower”

Stephanie Zimmermann, suntimes.com, “The Fixer” 

X7. Best Original Political Reporting

Steven Gray, time.com, Campaign 2008

Natasha Korecki, suntimes.com, “Eye on Rezko” blog

Staff, chicagotribune.com, “Clout Street” 

X8. Best Investigative/Public Service Reporting

Erica Christoffer and Becky Schlikerman, ChicagoTalks.org and The Beachwood Reporter, “Out of Order” and “Off the Record”

Greg Scott, Aurora Aguilar and Joe DeCeault, chicagopublicradio.org, “The Brickyard”