Watchdog Award for public interest journalism

Sponsored by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Chicago Headline Club each year awards a cash prize for enterprising journalism that defends and protects everyday folks.

The finalists for the 2021 awards are:

“Improper Vaccinations, Financial Questions at Loretto Hospital” – Block Club Chicago & Better Government Association. Kelly Bauer, David Jackson

“The Ripple Effect of Anjanette Young: Uncovering Police Abuse and Trauma in Chicago” – WBBM-TV/CBS-Chicago. Dave Savini, Samah Assad, Michele Youngerman, Christopher Hacker

“Buried Secrets” – WBEZ. Dan Mihalopoulos, Alex Keefe, Angela Rozas O’Toole

Learn more about the finalists here

The The prize for work completed in 2021 will be presented at the Lisagor Awards banquet May 6, 2022. Get your tickets.

About the Watchdog Award

The Watchdog Award honors Chicago-area news reporting that calls attention to situations in which the public is being harmed or poorly served. Stories may involve public interest reporting at the local, state or national level. Stories may include coverage of the government, entities contracting with the government and public or private business.

The award is explicitly designed to encourage stories that stick up for the common person. Subject matter should include outstanding reporting that highlights disparities in how the public is served or which highlights those public activities that disproportionately affect certain segments of the population.

Judges consider reporting enterprise, barriers to obtaining the information, accuracy, clarity of analysis, writing style. Judges may consider civic impact and evaluate the circumstances prompting the coverage and results achieved.

The Watchdog Award is funded by a grant from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and is administered by the Chicago Headline Club and the Chicago Headline Club Foundation.

About our 2020 winner

“Left in the Dark” by Samah Assad, Christopher Hacker, Dave Savini of WBBM CBS 2. An investigation off wrongful police raids by the Chicago Police Department for over a year about missing body camera video footage from many botched search warrants.

Judges said: “Exhaustive reporting and excellent multimedia presentation mark this stunning project that reveals police willfully – and with little consequence – failing to activate their required body cameras in tens of thousands of citizen encounters.”

More previous winners