WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune have been on a winning streak bringing home several regional and national awards including the National Headliner Award. WGN-TV won first place in the broadcast division for Investigative Reporting. This national award established by the Press Club of Atlantic City is one of the oldest and largest annual contests. We were also finalists in the multiplatform category for the national Investigative Reporters & Editors Award.
In a team effort between WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune we also took first place in the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for Investigative Reporting—a Midwest region award. “Starting with just one tip, WGN News’ Investigative team and the Chicago Tribune tracked down this story and uncovered details that has led to another major political scandal in Illinois,” commented Greg Caputo, WGN-TV news director. “These honors are well deserved for this public service our team has done.”
A tip from a frustrated worker to WGN-TV led the station’s investigative team to a vacant park, where union sources revealed shocking abuses of Illinois’ pension system. This secret discussion led to a four-month multimedia series that exposed waste and fraud within an already cash-strapped state pension system.
A team of five poured over government records and scoured multiple databases to clearly explain how top union leaders scammed the system to receive large public pensions. The series led to a federal grand jury investigation into the pension deals of nearly a dozen of union officials. The Department of Labor began to audit one of the city’s key unions and the Governor signed a bill that would help prevent further abuses of this kind. Kudos goes to Marsha Bartel, lead investigative producer at WGN-TV and Anchor Mark Suppelsa. Jason Grotto, Ray Long and Jodi Cohen reported on the stories for the Chicago Tribune.