The Block Club Chicago staff in summer 2022. Credit: Alex Garcia/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Block Club Chicago was honored for outstanding coverage and revenue campaign of the year at this year’s LION Publishers Local Journalism Awards.

The annual awards recognize excellence in journalism and business at local independent online news publishers. The ceremony was held Friday night in Austin, Texas.

Block Club won the Outstanding Coverage award in the medium/large newsroom category for Senior Editor Kelly Bauer’s investigation into COVID-19 pop-up testing companies. Bauer’s reports revealed Chicago-area companies received more than $500 million from the federal government even while customers reported widespread issues with their sites.

Bauer’s reports led to state and federal investigations into the companies. At least one, the Center for COVID Control, closed completely.

“Very strong journalism that potentially led to law enforcement investigations and shutdowns of the problematic testing facilities,” a judge said. “I appreciated the use of Google Forms to dive deeper into the topic — it shows how people-focused journalism can have an impact.“

Block Club also won the Revenue Campaign of the Year award for its partnership with Chicago-based artist Steve Shanabruch to offer his WPA-inspired neighborhood prints to new subscribers. The popular deal encouraged hundreds to subscribe to Block Club.

“This campaign shows what’s possible when an organization marries entrepreneurial business acumen with strongly developed community ties,” a judge said.

Block Club was recognized as LION’s Publisher of the Year last year. In the past year, it was also named Editor & Publisher’s Best News Site and INN’s Community Champion of the Year. Bauer was named the Chicago Journalist of the Year, as well.

Block Club Chicago is a nonprofit, reader-funded newsroom dedicated to delivering reliable, nonpartisan and essential coverage of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.

Help Block Club Get
500 More Subscribers!

Subscribe to Block Club now and you’ll get a free 16-by-20-inch Chicago neighborhood print of your choice, helping us reach our goal of getting 500 more subscribers before 2024. Click here to subscribe or click here to gift a subscription.

Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: