Paul Reynolds sprays fungicide in Champaign County, Illinois, on Wednesday, July14, 2010. photo by Heather Coit, The News-Gazette

Investigate Midwest’s work investigating Illinois’ system for monitoring human exposure to pesticides was named a finalist Friday as part of the 46th Lisagor Awards for Journalism in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. 

The winning piece — “How Illinois’ ‘fragmented system’ of monitoring pesticide exposure ‘allows individuals to get poisoned over and over without any brakes’” — published April 14, 2022. Sky Chadde and Amanda Pérez Pintado spent months reviewing the state system and detailed how workers had been exposed to pesticides.

Sky Chadde
Amanda Pérez Pintado

This work was followed by lawmakers pursuing protections. On May 8, legislation to increase penalties for spraying people with pesticides passed in both houses of the Illinois legislature. 

“This is just one more example of the impact our work has,” Executive Director and Managing Editor Erin Orr said. “Farm work is labor intensive and takes many hands. The health and wellness of farmworkers is as critical to production and harvest of a good crop as are good soil, weather and tending it.”

Reporters Chadde and Pérez Pintado were Best Investigative Reporting finalists in the Best Coverage by Subject category for small print/online operations.

Their work on this story was supported in part by the Lumpkin Foundation.

Chadde is assistant editor and senior reporter with Investigate Midwest. He was part of an award-winning reporting and editing team for the series “Big Ag U.” He previously served as Investigate Midwest’s first managing editor. Chadde has a master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism.

Pérez Pintado worked at Investigate Midwest and was a Report for America corps member. 

“Investigate Midwest is committed to deep reporting,” Orr said. “We appreciate the recognition.”

Investigate Midwest (previously The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting) is an independent, nonprofit newsroom started in 2009. Its mission is to serve the public as a watchdog over influential corporations and institutions through in-depth and data-driven investigative journalism.

Winners were announced at a dinner ceremony Friday, May 12, at the Union League Club of Chicago.

The Headline Club established the Lisagor Awards in 1977. As the Chicago Daily News Washington bureau chief from 1959 to 1976, Peter Lisagor was one of the nation’s most respected and well-known journalists, according to the organization’s website.

Type of work:

News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.