Herald writers, photographer honored for exemplary work
The Daily Herald won three Peter Lisagor awards for exemplary journalism Friday night, including top honors for public service.
At a banquet held by the Chicago Headline Club, the Daily Herald won honors for deadline reporting, photojournalism features as well as public service.
A team of writers and photographers won in the public service category for a four-part examination of the growing suburban heroin and club drug problem in a series titled, "The Hidden Scourge."
Projects Editor Madeleine Doubek, reporters Alicia Fabbre, Sara Burnett and Erin Holmes, and photojournalist M. Scott Mahaskey detailed the abuse that took at least 13 young lives last year while exploring answers to a problem few wanted to acknowledge publicly.
The series was unique because it detailed the personal struggles of several suburban drug addicts, using those accounts to help in the search for solutions.
The contest judges called the series "so good, in fact, it is difficult to imagine it being done better by any newspaper in the country."
The newspaper is continuing the occasional series this year, writing about every young drug death reporters uncover in an ongoing attempt to prevent others from succumbing to drug addiction.
Photographer Mahaskey also won a separate features photojournalism award for his images of heroin drug dealing and rave attendees he produced for "The Hidden Scourge" series.
Reporter Shamus Toomey led a team of reporters including Teresa Mask, Eric Krol, David R. Kazak, Dave Mann, Diana Wallace, Melynda Findlay and Justin Kmitch who won in the deadline reporting category. Their report, "A shooter's sordid life," offered a comprehensive look at a shooting rampage in Melrose Park.
Four Navistar employees and shooter Willie D. Baker died in the rampage, and the Daily Herald team's report portrayed conflicting memories of a man some had once considered kind.
The Chicago Headline Club, the local chapter of the national Society of Professional Journalists, created the annual media awards in 1977 in memory of journalist Peter Lisagor, the late Chicago Daily News correspondent.