The Herald & Review has received top honors in the investigative reporting and public service categories in the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors 2017 newspaper contest.
The first-place award for Investigative Reporting went to the staff for stories on:
- The Decatur Public Housing Authority spending $1.7 million on homes that sat empty, by reporter Claire Hettinger
- Macon County not being reimbursed by the state for prisoner autopsies, by reporter Ryan Voyles
- Licensing issues involving a driver accused of two fatal crashes, by reporter Tom Lisi and Jaylyn Cook
- An examination of Decatur’s process for razing derelict properties, by former reporter Chris Lusvardi
- Emails showing a former judge suggesting a political appointment, by Voyles
- An analysis of the Decatur intersection with the most crashes, by Cook
The Public Service award was for the Herald & Review’s analysis of the city's blighted properties list, some of which have sat empty for several years. The two-day series, with reporting by Lusvardi, included various multimedia, an editorial on the matter and columns from candidates for mayor on the issue.
Other APME awards for the Herald & Review include:
- Second place, Enterprise Story, to Cook, for his analysis of fatal crashes involving the same driver
- Second place, Digital Storytelling, to reporter Ryan Voyles and managing editor Allison Petty, for a story and multimedia storytelling about gaming revenue in Decatur
- Third place, General News Photo, to photographer Jim Bowling for his photo of new Decatur school board members
Thirty-four daily newspapers submitted 901 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns and photos from 2017. The Herald & Review competes with newspapers that have similar circulation numbers.
The awards for General Excellence and Photo and Editorial Sweepstakes, as well as News Innovator of the Year, will be announced during the annual convention of the Illinois Press Association on June 7 in Normal.