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ProPublica Nominated for 13 Peter Lisagor Awards

The Chicago Headline Club, the nation’s largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, named ProPublica a finalist for 13 Peter Lisagor Awards. The Lisagor Awards honor the best journalism produced across the Chicago region.

ProPublica received six nominations in the Best All Media categories, which span all news mediums and platform sizes; a nomination in the General Interest Daily Newspapers, News Service or Bureau categories for a collaboration with the Chicago Tribune; and six nominations in the Online categories. These projects reflect the depth and range of the newsroom’s collective efforts, from features, data journalism and investigative reporting, to illustrations and newsletters. Winners will be announced virtually on May 14.

Here are the nominated projects:

Grace: A Failure in Michigan’s Juvenile Justice System,” by Jodi S. Cohen and Duaa Eldeib, is a finalist for best investigative reporting and best series — non-deadline reporting. Co-published with the Detroit Free Press, Bridge Michigan and Bridge Detroit, the series, led by Cohen, examined the story of Grace, a 15-year-old Black girl who was jailed for not doing her online schoolwork after her school in suburban Detroit shifted to remote learning at the height of the pandemic’s first wave, and the deeply flawed juvenile justice system that allowed her detention. “A Teenager Didn’t Do Her Online Schoolwork. So A Judge Sent Her to Juvenile Detention.,” the first story in the series, is a finalist for best non-deadline reporting.

Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories,” by Melissa Sanchez, is a finalist for best feature story, best illustration and best feature story or series. The story revealed that teenagers, as young as 13 or 14, who attend school by day, are routinely working in illegal and often dangerous jobs on factory assembly lines at night. Sanchez ultimately unveiled an invisible world operating in plain sight in one Chicago suburb and in places like it around the country. The newsletter, “The Stolen Childhood of Teenage Factory Workers,” which told the story of Sanchez’s father, who had worked as a child, is a finalist for the best individual blog post-affiliated.

COVID-19 Took Black Lives First. It Didn't Have To.,” by Eldeib, Adriana Gallardo, Akilah Johnson, Annie Waldman, Nina Martin, Talia Buford and Tony Briscoe, is a finalist for best feature story and online-best feature story or series. The team of reporters told the story of the disproportionate toll of the pandemic among Black Chicagoans, illuminating what the emerging patterns of racial disparities in pandemic deaths exposed about long-standing flaws within the health care system.

Grenades, Bread and Body Bags: How Illinois Has Spent $1.6 Billion in Response to COVID-19 So Far,” a collaboration with the Tribune, is a finalist for best data journalism and best illustration. In the first comprehensive analysis of the state’s COVID-19 spending, reporters Ash Ngu, Cohen and the Tribune’s Jennifer Smith Richards documented how state agencies had spent more than $1.6 billion in COVID-19-related federal and state funds, including questionable purchases such as grenades and other crowd-control equipment.

The Pandemic and Illinois Schools: A Digital Divide, Vulnerable Students and Hidden Data,” a collaboration with the Tribune is a finalist for Best Education Reporting — Circulation more than 100,000. Reporters Cohen and Richards produced a collection of stories focusing on the impact of the pandemic on some of the state’s most at-risk students.

A Sundown Town Sees Its First Black Lives Matter Protest,” by Logan Jaffe, is a finalist for best individual blog post-affiliated. Jaffe wrote about the young activists who organized a Black Lives Matter protest in the small town of Anna, Illinois, whose troubled racial history Jaffe had profiled in an earlier article.

In addition, Briscoe was nominated for Best Science, Health, Technology or Environment Reporting — Circulation more than 100,000, for a story published in his previous position at the Tribune.

See a list of all the Peter Lisagor Award finalists here.

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