NPR Illinois Wins Three Top Illinois AP Awards

Apr 26, 2020

NPR Illinois was awarded first place in three categories of the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association Awards, announced Saturday.   

Among them, the report "Preserving the Reputations of Sexual Harassers" was named Best Investigative Report.  It was the culmination of a months-long collaboration between NPR Illinois and ProPublica Illinois to uncover how the University of Illinois handled sexual harassment complaints against University of Illinois faculty.  The effort by reporters Rachel Otwell, Mary Hansen and Alex Mierjeski has led to more calls for transparency and other reforms.  It also launched a still unresolved conflict over whether reporters who are employees at the U of I are required to alert the school when hearing from sources who allege campus sexual misconduct.  

Reporter Dusty Rhodes took the Best News Feature Award for "School Nurse Breaks a Rule to Save a Life."  Rhodes told the story of Jennifer Jacobs, who was on duty at Glenview Middle School in East Moline in 2018, when a diabetic student became seriously ill during a hypoglycemic episode.  Jacobs and her assistant violated school policy by using glucagon that belonged to another student. It worked.  After Dusty's story aired, Illinois lawmakers changed the rule, which now allows nurses to use medicine available during an emergency.  

On a lighter note, Brian Mackey took home the Best Light Feature award for "Have We Been Misspelling J.B. Pritzker's Name?", which went to the main source to find out if there should be periods between J and B.  Brian's report found while the governor had little preference, reporters want to get it right.  At NPR Illinois, we use the periods after the initials, in accordance with the Associated Press Stylebook.  

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to you for supporting NPR Illinois throughout the year.  

Here is the complete award list:

Radio I/Metro Radio  Best Spot News: First, WBBM-AM, Chicago, "Chicago Public School Teachers Strike"; Second, Kate McGee, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, "Sister Jean Turns 100." Best Sports Report: First, WBBM-AM, Chicago, "69 Cubs." Best Light Feature: First, Monica Eng, Jessica Pupovac and Jesse Dukes, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, "Chicago's Hidden Indie Rock Archive"; Second, Lisa Fielding, WBBM-AM, Chicago, "Life Tough Kids. Best Hard News Feature: First, Susie An and Kate Grossman, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, "Naperville Schools Try to Rebuild Trust." Best Series or Documentary: First, Claudia Morell, Becky Vevea and Alex Keefe, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, "2019 Chicago Election Coverage"; Second, WLS-AM, Chicago, "Mayor Daley On the Record." Best Investigative Report: First, Maria Ines Zamudio, Will Craft and Alden Loury, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, "Chicago's Water Prices Are Skyrocketing." Best Use of Sound: First, Carrie Shepherd and Tricia Bobeda, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, "Word Jazz Creator and Host Ken Nordine Dies." Best Newswriter: First, Monica Eng, WBEZ-FM, Chicago. Best Reporter: First, Kate McGee, WBEZ-FM, Chicago; Second, Lisa Fielding, WBBM-AM, Chicago. Best Newscast: First, WBBM-AM, Chicago; Second, John Dempsey, WLS-AM, Chicago. Outstanding News Operation: WBBM-AM, Chicago.  Radio II/Local Radio  Best Spot News: First, Ethan Kruger and Rick Koshko, WCMY-AM, Ottawa, "Skydiver Lands in River"; Second, Scott Reeder, Herb Trix and Michelle O'Neill, WVIK-FM, Rock Island, "Liggins Sentenced to Life." Best Sports Report: First, Jason Parrott, WIUM-FM, Macomb, "RAGBRAI's Visit to Keokuk"; Second, Zach Wilson, WVIK-FM, Rock Island, "Shrinking Minor Leagues Could Affect Local Teams." Best Light Feature: First, Brian Mackey, WUIS-FM, Springfield, "Have We Been Misspelling J.B. Pritzker's Name?"; Second, Brad Palmer, WSIU-FM, Carbondale, "Students Solve Death Investigation." Best Hard News Feature: First, Dusty Rhodes, WUIS-FM, Springfield, "School Nurse Breaks a Rule to Save a Life"; Second, Ryan Denham and Edith Brady Lunny, WGLT-FM, Normal, "Failing Rica." Best Series or Documentary: First, Eric Stock, Ryan Denham and Dana Vollmer, WGLT-FM, Normal, "Down On the Farm"; Second, Mary Cullen, WGLT-FM, Normal, "Fines and Fees System Fail The Disadvantaged." Best Investigative Report: First, Rachel Otwell, Alex Mierjeski and Mary Hansen, WUIS-FM, Springfield, "Preserving the Reputations of Sexual Harassers"; Second, Ryan Denham and Edith Brady Lunny, WGLTFM, Normal, "Failing Rica." Best Use of Sound: First, Rich Egger, WIUM-FM, Macomb, "Jingle All the Way"; Second, Amelia Blakely, WSIU-FM, Carbondale, "SIU's Field School Unearths Forgotten History." Best Digital Presence: First, Ryan Denham, WGLT-FM, Normal; Second, Tim Shelley, Dana Vollmer and Kristin McHugh, WCBU-FM, Peoria. Best Newswriter: First, Susan Stephens, WNIJ-FM, DeKalb; Second, Dave Dahl, WTAX-AM, Springfield. Best Reporter: First, Ryan Denham, WGLT-FM, Normal; Second, Sarah Jesmer, WNIJ-FM, DeKalb. Best Newscast: First, Brian Moline, WILL-AM, Urbana; Second, WGLT-FM, Normal. Outstanding News Operation: WGLT-FM, Normal.  Television I/Metro TV  Best Spot News: First, Tracy Davis, Joe Kolina and Angie Rosemond, WMAQ-TV, Chicago, "Aurora Henry Pratt Workplace Shooting"; Second, WLS-TV, Chicago, "Deputy Killed." Best Sports Report: First, Mike Bush, Scott Suppelsa and Adam Dew, KSDK-TV, St. Louis, "The Right Note"; Second, Alex Maragos, Lexi Sutter and Scott Doll, WMAQ-TV, Chicago, "Concussions and the Future of Youth Football." Best Light Feature: First, WLS-TV, Chicago, "Rita's Quilt"; Second, WMAQ-TV, Chicago, "Secrets of the Trade." Best Hard News Feature: First, Mike  Bush, Scott Suppelsa and Adam Dew, KSDK-TV, St. Louis, "Paradise Volleyball"; Second, WLS-TV, Chicago, "Kids Off the Block." Best Series or Documentary: First, WLS-TV, Chicago, "Return to Auschwitz: A Survivor's Story"; Second, Courtney Copenhagen, Phil Rogers and Michael McGovern, WMAQ-TV, Chicago, "Cannabis in Illinois." Best Investigative Report: First, WMAQ-TV, Chicago, "The Death of a State Trooper"; Second, WLS-TV, Chicago, "Kim Foxx - Derrion Albert Investigation." Best Videography: First, WLS-TV, Chicago, "Chicago's Legendary Outdoor Basketball Courts"; Second, WLS-TV, Chicago, "Revolution Workshop." Best Digital Presence: First, WMAQ-TV, Chicago; Second, WLS-TV, Chicago. Best Newswriter: First, Jeremy Ross, WBBM-TV, Chicago; Second, Mike Bush, KSDK-TV, St. Louis. Best Reporter: First, Jeremy Ross, WBBM-TV, Chicago. Best Newscast: First, WMAQ-TV, Chicago; Second, WLS-TV, Chicago. Outstanding News Operation: WLS-TV, Chicago.  Television II/Local TV  Best Spot News: First, Ana Espinosa, Justin Carter and Grace Boehm, WICS-TV, Springfield, "Death of Ta'naja Barnes"; Second, KWQC-TV, Davenport, "Flood Coverage." Best Sports Report: First, Elizabeth Wadas and Stephanie Mattan, WQAD-TV, Moline, "Night Crew"; Second, David Sugarman, WGEM-TV, Quincy, "Sports in Focus: Nick Trotter." Best Light Feature: First, Elizabeth Wadas and Andy McKay, WQAD-TV, Moline, "Making Memories"; Second, Brianna Clark, WPSD-TV, Paducah, "Changing Lives with Wheelchair Ramps." Best Hard News Feature: First, Caitlin Knute and Emily Ogden, WEEK-TV (NBC), East Peoria, "Abuse in the Peoria Catholic Diocese"; Second, Kristin Crowley and James Stratton, WREX-TV, Rockford, "The Human Impact of Violating Scott's Law." Best Series or Documentary: First, Lauren Kostiuk, WICD-TV, Champaign, "Addicted Illinois"; Second, Ana Espinosa, William Hatfield and Kelsey Evans, WICS-TV, Springfield, "Project Illinois: Justice for Ta'Naja." Best Investigative Report: First, Doug Wolfe and Andy Barker, WAND-TV, Decatur, "Small Town Cop"; Second, Lauren Melendez, WEEK-TV (NBC), East Peoria, "The Death of Kayla Fannon." Best Videography: First, Stephanie Mattan, WQAD-TV, Moline, "River Rider"; Second, Kyle Yonkers and Robert Burke, WREX-TV, Rockford, "Rockford in Color." Best Digital Presence: First, Audrey Moon, WREX-TV, Rockford; Second, Kevin Schwaller, WMBD-TV, Peoria. Best Newswriter: First, James Stratton, WREX-TV, Rockford; Second, Kristin Crowley, WREX-TV, Rockford. Best Reporter: First, Deron Molen, WAND-TV, Decatur; Second, Kristin Crowley, WREX-TV, Rockford. Best Newscast: First, WREX-TV, Rockford; Second, WGEM-TV, Quincy. Outstanding News Operation: WREX-TV, Rockford