Block Club Chicago Named Publisher of the Year, Gets 3 More LION Local Journalism Awards

CHICAGO — The Block Club Chicago was named Publisher of the Year and received three other honors at this year’s LION Publishers Local Journalism Awards.

The annual awards recognize excellence in journalism and business among local independent online news publishers. The ceremony took place on Tuesday evening.

Block Club was named Publisher of the Year in the medium/large category.

“Block Club Chicago’s emphasis on a consistent presence in neighborhoods to build trust has made it a leader in community-rooted local news,” wrote a judge. “The team’s responsiveness to people’s needs during the pandemic demonstrates the organization’s fundamental commitment to public service and public trust. The range of storytelling is impressive, as is the creativity on the business side.

His other awards:

  • Best Visual Journalism Project, for his “A Year of Loss” project, which marked one year since COVID-19 arrived in Chicago and included nearly 30 stories, videos, photos, interactive graphics and a specialized newsletter. “Remarkable. The videos were beautifully shot and incredibly compelling,” wrote one judge. “So little COVID coverage has been dedicated to the grief we all feel and share. I deeply appreciated the level of dedication and know- be engaged in this effort.
  • Best breaking news, for its coverage of the police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, including stories that provided context about the officer who killed Toledo, reactions from residents, and policy changes announced by authorities in response to murder.
  • Better coverage of protests and movements, for his sensitive coverage of the police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and the community protests that followed. “Block Club Chicago is to be commended for the editorial decision to publish two versions of the story, with and without the graphic video,” one judge wrote. “Giving readers a choice of what to see without being re-traumatized is a thoughtful approach, and another newsroom should take heed.”

Block Club tied for Best Visual Journalism Project and Best News with Borderless and San José Spotlight, respectively.

See all of the winners of the LION Publishers Local Journalism Awards here.

Block Club was also a finalist for:

  • Best Solutions Project of the Year, for its free, bilingual COVID-19 helpline that connects people to tests, vaccines, rent relief, and other essential information and resources.
  • Public Service Award, for her reporting on Ida Nelson, a mother who fights to change her 4-year-old son’s school rules after forcing her to take out her braids. Ida and her son are black. The story inspired a state senator to write a bill, which became law, that banned anti-dark hair discrimination statewide.
  • collaboration of the year, for his hard-hitting collaboration with the Better Government Association to produce an ongoing series of investigative reports that uncovered mismanagement and corruption at a hospital in Loretto.
  • Overall Excellence: Revenue Growth, for capitalizing on local stories to effectively launch merchandising campaigns to increase revenue.

Block Club has published over 14,000 articles since its launch, covering everything from Chicago’s beloved Chance the Snapper to the vaccine scandals at Loretto Hospital. Over the past year, its staff has answered more than 900 questions from Chicagoans through its free, bilingual COVID-19 helpline, connecting residents to tests, vaccines, financial assistance and more. .

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