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DePaulia Investigation Wins Best Sports Story at Professional Journalism Awards

DePaul Journalism Students
DePaul Journalism students (from left) Brendan Pedersen, Ivana Rihter and Samantha Rivera accepted the Best Sports Story Award at the Chicago Headline Club's 40th annual Peter Lisagor Awards May 12 at the Union League Club. Photo by Amy Merrick.
DePaul Journalism students won first place for their investigative reporting at the Chicago Headline Club’s 40th annual Peter Lisagor Awards May 12.

The DePaulia’s investigation into the public/private funding of the DePaul’s Wintrust Arena was judged best sports story for non-daily newspapers in Illinois, the Headline Club announced​.

Students competed against professionals from Crain’s Chicago Business and Chicago Magazine in their category.

Students in Senior Journalist-in-Residence Chris Bury’s Investigative Reporting class produced a series of stories and multimedia for the DePaulia called “Payment Day: University funds for arena due next month.” The work previously was recognized as one of three national finalists for investigative reporting at the 2016 College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards.

Students in the class who worked on the project included Amanda Crane, Anita Lukacs, Brendan Pedersen, Frank Muisenga, Jen Nazha, Jessica Duarte, Matthew Paras, Agathe Muller, Brenden Welper, Deni Kamper, Khari Thornton, Vanessa Navarrete, Adam Garlewicz, Alicya Dennison, Bea Aldrich, Gurnik Singh, Maxwell Newsom, Samantha Rivera, Evelyn Baker, Ivana Rihter, Michael Schmidt, Piper Schad and Sanjana Karanth.

Bury is a former national correspondent for ABC News who won Emmy and Peabody Awards during a distinguished investigative and political reporting career. He’s been part of the DePaul Journalism Program’s faculty since 2013.

Journalism adjunct instructor Martha Irvine of The Associated Press won five Lisagor Awards for her multimedia work. Alumni Jeremy Gorner of the Chicago Tribune (best online deadline reporting) and Ryan Burrow of WGN News 720 AM (best breaking radio news story) also received awards.

“We’re very excited that our students have received recognition that the work they produce meets the highest professional standards,” said Journalism Program Chair Jason Martin. “Our students get to learn from the best and do work that’s honored alongside Chicago’s top journalists.”

In addition, DePaul’s Brendan Pedersen was named the winner of the Chicago Headline Club’s annual Les Brownlee Scholarship at the Lisagor ceremonies. He is the third consecutive DePaul student to win the award given annually to a Chicago-area journalism major. Jessica Villagomez won in 2016 and Megan Deppen won in 2015.