These are the finalists for the 2022 Watchdog Awards

These are the finalists for the Chicago Headline Club’s 2022 Watchdog Awards, which honor outstanding reporting that calls attention to situations in which the public is being harmed or poorly served by the government, institutions or businesses at any level.

All entries will be reviewed by a panel of investigative journalists and editors from across the country. The final award will be presented at the Lisagor Awards banquet on May 12, 2023.

“Stillbirths: When babies die before drawing their first breath,” by Duaa Eldeib, ProPublica

ProPublica’s Duaa Eldeib has produced a powerful series examining the U.S.’s failure to prioritize stillbirth prevention, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eldeib’s timely reporting masterfully weaves the heartbreaking experiences of pregnant people around the country, while explaining the complex systems and dynamics that made them vulnerable to harm. A masterclass in sensitive, trauma-informed journalism.

“Center For COVID Control’s ‘Sham’ Testing Sites,” Block Club

Block Club Chicago’s extensive reporting on pop-up COVID testing centers exposed fraud on a massive scale that threatened public health during the height of the pandemic. Not only did their coverage lead to the shutdown of the fraudulent testing centers, it helped prompt federal investigations and legislation to prevent similar practices in the future — talk about impact!

“The Price Kids Pay,” by Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, and Jennifer Smith RIchards, Chicago Tribune

Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards’ initial investigations and tireless follow-up reporting on the widespread, punitive ticketing of students by local law enforcement resonated across the state, leading to official commitments to end the practice. Combining exhaustive pavement-pounding with public records reporting and data analysis, the series is a model for accountability journalism, local or otherwise—and the kind of investigative work that reminds reporters why we do what we do. It’s an outstanding achievement.

About the Watchdog Award

Sponsored by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, each year the Chicago Headline Club’s Watchdog Award presents a cash prize to Chicago-area journalists for enterprising journalism that defends and protects everyday folks.