CU-CitizenAccess.org, a community online news and information project directed by GSLIS-affiliated faculty member Brant Houston, has won the 2012 Peter Lisagor Award for its work with Hoy Chicago to examine changing demographics and racial issues in Central Illinois.
Houston, who holds the Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting in the Department of Journalism, co-founded and launched CU-CitizenAccess.org in 2009. The project aims to give a voice to marginalized and underrepresented groups in the Champaign-Urbana area by bringing together various media outlets, community organizations, civic leaders, and journalists to share information and address community issues. CU-CitizenAccess.org recently collaborated with Hoy Chicago, the Spanish-language newspaper of the Chicago Tribune, to produce “Midwest Chronicles: Diversity Flourishes”:
This project took a deep look at the demographic shift across 16 counties in Central Illinois, including stories on racial issues and data analysis of crime statistics. The project included presentations in video, audio, and text on the organizations' Web sites and a 16-page supplement published in editions of the [Champaign-Urbana] News-Gazette and Hoy Chicago last fall.
The Lisagor Award is presented by the Chicago Headline Club, the largest Society of Professional Journalists chapter in the country, and honors individual journalists, editors, and cartoonists for their work along with larger organizations.
CU-CitizenAccess.org has garnered several other awards, including one from Investigative Reporters and Editors and one from the Society for News Design. Houston is a recipient of the 2012-2013 Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement (CAEPE) for his work on the project.