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Congratulations to the winners!


CHICAGO, May 6, 2016 – The Chicago Headline Club, one of the largest Society of Professional Journalists chapters in the country, presented the winners of its 2015 Lisagor Awards at its annual awards dinner tonight before more than 300 people at the Union League Club of Chicago. The awards recognize the best of Chicago journalism and are named for Peter Lisagor, the Chicago Daily News’ Washington bureau chief from 1959 to 1976.

Veteran journalists Jon Hilkevitch, Linda Lenz and Harry Porterfield received Lifetime Achievement Awards. Hilkevitch was a Chicago Tribune transportation writer and columnist for nearly 37 years and is best known for his “Getting Around” column and for hard-hitting investigations of Chicago area transit. Lenz is the founder and longtime publisher of Catalyst Chicago, a publication dedicated to chronicling efforts to educate the city’s children. Porterfield was an anchorman and reporter at CBS 2 and ABC 7 for more than 50 years. He was perhaps best known for his long-running profile series, “Someone You Should Know,” which first aired in 1977.

The 2015 Anne Keegan Award was awarded to Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich for his story about Norman Malone—“Childhood attack silenced pianist’s right hand, but not his dream”—and to Stefano Esposito of the Chicago Sun-Times for “Evi & Walter: A love story in any key.”

These two distinguished feature stories mirror each other. Each introduces us to an elderly man who overcame enormous adversity to distinguish himself in the world of music. The Keegan Award was founded in 2012 to honor journalists “who tell stories of ordinary people in extraordinarily well-reported and well-written prose.” The judging committee noted “Choosing a winner this year was especially difficult. In fact, it was impossible. For the first time, the judges decided that fairness required us to choose two.”

The 2015 Watchdog Award for Excellence in Public Interest Reporting went to Jamie Kalven for “Sixteen Shots,” which he wrote for Slate. Kalven’s relentless work to get the autopsy report of Laquan McDonald uncovered how the black teenager was fatally shot 16 times by a white police officer, raising questions of excessive force and misconduct. Kalven kept on the story, pushing for the release of police video of the shooting, which eventually led to firing of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and to the officer being charged with murder. As one of the judges put it, “Jamie Kalven’s article ‘Sixteen Shots’ demonstrated investigative persistence that led to the truth in the death of Laquan McDonald.”

Tom Corfman of Crain’s Chicago Business served as master of ceremonies at the dinner.

The winners in more than 100 categories, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio and digital media, may be viewed here.


Lisagor Finalists revealed! (And happy hour)

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: It’s time to announce this year’s Peter Lisagor Award finalists! Join the Chicago Headline Club at III Forks Chicago Tuesday as we unveil this year’s nominees for the first time.

This’ll be your first chance to find out this year’s finalists — we won’t be releasing the list until after the event is over.

We’ll also have half off the restaurant’s draft beer and draft cocktails — plenty of cheer to go around, even if you didn’t enter for any awards this year.

Come on out, grab a drink with your colleagues and congratulate this year’s finalists!

WHAT: Lisagor Finalists reveal happy hour
WHERE: III Forks at 180 N Field Blvd, Chicago
WHEN: Tuesday, April 12, 6-8p
More details and RSVP here

And don’t forget to buy your tickets to the Lisagor awards banquet here! Tickets must be bought by Thursday, April 28.

And the Lifetime Achievement Winners are…

The Chicago Headline Club, one of the largest Society of Professional Journalists chapters in the country, is pleased to announce the winners of its Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2015.

The honors go to veteran journalists Jon Hilkevitch, Linda Lenz and Harry Porterfield, who will be honored for their extraordinary work in Chicago journalism at the CHC’s Lisagor Awards banquet on May 6, 2016. The award is bestowed on those who have made lasting contributions to the community and profession.

Hilkevitch, a Chicago Tribune transportation writer and columnist for nearly 37 years, is being lauded for his work as the consummate beat reporter, holding officials accountable for delivering essential services to the city while regularly helping to improve people’s daily Hilkevitch was best known for his “Getting Around” column and for hard-hitting investigations of Chicago area transit. In 2001, a team of Tribune reporters co-led by Hilkevitch was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for their series “Gateway to Gridlock,” which chronicled the capacity crisis confronting the airline industry and the nation’s commercial airports.

Lenz is the founder and longtime publisher of Catalyst Chicago, a publication dedicated to chronicling efforts to educate the city’s children. Before launching Catalyst in 1990, she was the education writer for the Chicago Sun-Times and an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News. She also is former president of the Education Writers Association, a 900-member organization that promotes informed coverage of education.

Lenz was a trailblazer for founding Catalyst during a period of immense change in Chicago Public Schools. Its mission is just as important today, as a go-to source for education coverage as the CPS continues struggling through its challenges. She has mentored many a reporter as Catalyst took the school system to task at every opportunity.

Porterfield was an anchorman and reporter at CBS 2 and ABC 7 for more than 50 years, earning him 11 regional Emmy awards, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, a Studs Terkel Award and the Operation PUSH Media Fairness Award.

Porterfield was perhaps best known for his long-running profile series, “Someone You Should Know,” which first aired in 1977. He also created the Emmy-award winning shows “Channel Two: The People” and “Two on Two.” He began his career in broadcast journalism in 1955 as a jazz disc jockey with radio station WKNX in Saginaw, Michigan.

The Lisagor awards dinner will be held Friday May 6, 2016, at The Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson St. Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner and awards presentation is at 7 p.m.  The cost to attend is $90 for Headline Club members, $105 for non-members and $900-$1080 for a table of 10-12.

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award and Lisagor prizes, awarded in a variety of categories, the club also awards two additional special prizes: The Watchdog Award, for excellence in public interest reporting, and The Anne Keegan Award, named after a former Chicago Tribune reporter who highlighted the plight and achievements of the common man.

Tickets may be purchased here:

Questions about the Lisagor dinner may be sent to Kathy Catrambone at

Natalie Moore talks about ‘Segregation’ book

Join us Wednesday, March 30th for a discussion with WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore about her new book, “The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation.” As the Chicago Tribune notes, Moore explores “how segregation informs South Side living, exploring the structural impact it has on schooling, housing, food access, politics and violence.”

This program is jointly hosted by the Chicago Headline Club, the Columbia College Chicago SPJ student chapter and the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 30th. 6:30pm
WHERE: Communications and Media Innovation Department on the 2nd floor of 33 E. Congress Parkway (Wabash and Congress), Auditorium C-219

#FOIAFest is tomorrow! 

We’re excited to see everyone tomorrow at our sold-out #FOIAFest! The festivities begin at 9 a.m. with our keynote speaker Andy Shaw, president and CEO of the Better Government Association.

Please take a moment to check out the schedule: We have sessions on police, politics, education, business, breaking news and more. Don’t forget a laptop if you’re interested in attending our data sessions.

Just a reminder: FOIAFest is in two locations at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower campus. We’ll start the day at Regents Hall in Lewis Towers, 820 N. Michigan Ave. (Entrance is on Pearson Street). Later, we’ll move to the Corboy Law Center, 25 E. Pearson St. Please refer to the schedule to find the sessions that interest you.

Due to popular demand, there will be NO TICKETS sold at the door.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thank you to our sponsors: Loyola University Chicago, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the Chicago Headline Club.


FOIAFest set for March 12 at Loyola Water Tower

Tickets are now on sale for the Chicago Headline Club’s fourth annual FOIAFest!

Come learn from more than two dozen journalists and other experts on everything from police misconduct and politicians using private email for public business, to filing a public records request and digging through data.

Andy Shaw, president and CEO of the Better Government Association, kicks off the day as our keynote speaker.

Please visit, our website dedicated to public access issues, for a complete schedule and line-up of speakers. Here’s a snapshot of what you need to know:

WHAT: FOIAFest 2016
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat., March 12
WHERE: Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower campus
* Sessions split between Lewis Towers, 820 N. Michigan Ave. (entrance is on Pearson Street) and Corboy Law Center, 25 E. Pearson St. More details to come.

COST: (breakfast and lunch included)
$5 for students
$15 for Chicago Headline Club members
$20 for non-members


FOIAFest is generously supported by the Chicago Headline Club, Loyola University Chicago and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Headline Club offers grants for investigative reporting

The Chicago Headline Club, the largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the nation, has grants available to help defray the costs of investigative stories, such as an airline ticket or a stack of public records.

Apply by April 29 for up to $575 or by July 29 for up to $2,000.

Interested? Get more details and download our application here:
Questions? Contact Alejandra Cancino at

Funding is thanks to the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. While all journalists are eligible, we are looking for those without the financial backing of a major media shop.

Pre-Oscar Invite to view ‘SPOTLIGHT’

You, the public and fellow journalists are invited to view the acclaimed film, SPOTLIGHT, in the exclusive Lake Street Screening Room, followed by Q&A with journalists, investigators, film critics and clergy.

Monday, February 22 (Oscars winners to be announced Feb 28.)
Doors open at 6:45 p.m./Movie to start at 7 p.m.
The Lake Street Screening Room
70 E. Lake St., Chicago

This event, organized by the Chicago Headline Club Foundation and theChicago Film Critics Association, offers tickets for $30. Donations also accepted with proceeds benefiting the Chicago Headline Club and its foundation’s scholarship program.

Get your tickets via EventBrite:

Nominated for five Oscars, SPOTLIGHT depicts The Boston Globe’s investigation into cases of widespread child sex abuse by numerous Catholic priests in the Boston area and the decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. It is based on a series of stories by the Globe’s Spotlight team that earned the paper the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

SPOTLIGHT is inspiring students to go to journalism school–just as All The President’s Men did back in the day. In addition to encourage conversation about this film and the role of investigative journalism in our society, this event aims to help new journalists succeed.

Light refreshments will be served