Chicago Public Media has won seven regional Murrow awards — the most of any radio station in the area.
Named in honor of celebrated broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, the awards recognize outstanding work in radio, TV and digital media. WBEZ competed against other stations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
WBEZ’s winning entries span topics including the COVID-19 pandemic, allegations of sexual abuse, and arts and culture, with accolades for both reporting and production. Top submissions from each region will advance to the national Murrow competition, with prizes set to be awarded this summer.
Here’s a look at the WBEZ stories that advanced:
Allegations of abuse among Chicago lifeguards: Dan Mihalopoulos’ ongoing reporting into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse among lifeguards at the city’s beaches and pools was honored with two awards, one for investigative reporting and one for hard news. Two top Chicago Park District executives resigned following his coverage of the scandal, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has opened a criminal investigation into the city’s handling of the matter.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual abuse scandal: Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney took home an award for their continuing coverage of how the Blackhawks handled a former player’s allegations of sexual abuse against an assistant coach. The team later launched an internal investigation that led to the resignation of top team officials and a $2 million fine.
COVID-19 vaccine access: Mariah Woefel, María Inés Zamudio, Becky Vevea and Kristen Schorsch were honored with the award for excellence in diversity, equity and inclusion for their coverage of vaccine distribution and access throughout the region. Reporting across Chicago and Illinois, the team documented how communities of color were often left behind.
The pandemic’s toll on one Chicago family: Sarah Karp’s look at how one Little Village family navigated the pandemic won the prize for best feature reporting. The story, which focuses on death, job loss and the challenges of remote learning, was part of a monthslong project supported by the Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being.
Exploring Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood: Curious City’s Pilsen episode, reported and produced by Maggie Sivit, Joe DeCeault, Leslie Hurtado and Monica Eng, was honored for excellence in innovation. The podcast, which answers audience questions about the neighborhood’s Lotería doors, sidewalks and high school, was supplemented by an in-person community event.
A prom to remember: Adriana Cardona-Maguigad’s story on a pandemic-era prom won the award for excellence in sound. Reported from a Chicago high school’s front lawn, the story captures the joy and excitement of students reuniting with friends after months of remote learning.
Libby Berry is a digital producer at WBEZ. Follow her @libbyaberry.