First Prize

UNO
For Insiders, Charter Schools Pay

source: Chicago Sun-Times

Clout In Session

UNO's Family Ties

More UNO Money Went To Insider

State Cuts Off Charter School's Funds Over Inside Deals

UNO Has Wall Street Worried

UNO Had Money For Gala, Not Contractors

Leader of Clout-Heavy UNO Quits

Judges’ Comments

“I loved this story.  Mostly because the stories sparked so much change!  And the reporters succinctly summarized their findings in a clear way.  It’s hard to discover family tree contracting and then it’s even harder to explain to readers why it matters and why it’s problematic.  But the reporter did a great job fleshing out the flaws in the state policy, the amount of Wall Street investment in charter schools and what the story means to the average tax payer.”

“Color me impressed! Wow! In less than a year’s time, Mihalopoulos’ reporting undid years of questionable charter school investing by local and state agencies — and got them to at least attempt to change their processes going forward. Untangling this story must have been painstaking but the result is highly digestible, thoughtful writing about a complex web of nepotism and influence. The graphics and photos were integral to making the stories reader-friendly and were also very well done. The package of stories also shows how, years after the first charter school opened, the processes behind their creation are still far from foolproof.”