Two investigative projects by David Jackson of the Better Government Association have received the National Izzy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Journalism.
First, Jackson was honored — along with his Block Club Chicago reporting partner Kelly Bauer — for an “explosive series” about corruption at Loretto Hospital and its role in distributing COVID-19 vaccines to residents. blacks and latinos.
Second, the award presenters – Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College – singled out Jackson Milking’s Medicaid series, which revealed how privatization shifted hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to insurance companies and away from medical providers and Medicaid recipients.
‘The impact of their stories has been enormous,’ the judges said, ‘bringing down a greedy elite of politicians, businessmen, hospital administrators, board members and doctors , while telling the stories of the incredible courage of patients and workers to act to expose the cruel malpractice and vaccine scandals at Loretto Hospital.
The judges commented, “Such nonprofit newsrooms in big cities are crucial because corporate media too often overlooks big stories affecting the urban poor.
“These investigations led to an FBI investigation into Loretto Hospital’s immunization program and exposed the malign conflict of interest at the top of Illinois’ Medicaid program,” according to the award announcement.
The Loretto series was recognized as a finalist in 2021 for Collaboration of the Year at the LION Publishers Local Journalism Awards.
The Izzy Prize is named after IF “Izzy” Stone, the dissident journalist who started IF Stone’s Weekly in 1953 and questioned McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, racial injustice and government deceit. This year’s judges were Jeff Cohen, founding director of PCIM and founder of FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting); Linda Jue, executive director of the GW Williams Center for Independent Journalism; Robert W. McChesney, professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Raza Rumi, director of the Park Center for Independent Media; and Patricia Rodriguez, associate professor and chair of the department of politics at Ithaca College.
Other recipients this year include freelance journalist Jenni Monet for her weekly newsletter giving voice to Native American communities; the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, for their presentation on the Pandora Papers; and Greg B. Smith of THE CITY, a New York-based nonprofit newsroom, which uncovered how 5,000 public housing apartments in buildings deemed long clear of contamination contained lead paint.
The award ceremony will take place at the end of April.
The Better Government Association of Chicago is Illinois’ only full-service, nonpartisan government watchdog organization.