TOP PICKS

Systems in place for survivors of sexual, emotional abuse at DePaul leave victims feeling abandoned

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A two-year investigation by The DePaulia into the university’s handling of Title IX cases uncovered a pattern of negligence and disregard for the safety and emotional well-being of the DePaul community regarding sexual and relationship misconduct.

Conducted trauma-informed interviews with seven survivors of sexual or emotional abuse, four of which were included in the story. Obtained police records, court records, homeless shelter records and internal Title IX documents to verify anecdotal testimony. Studied Title IX law to assess potential violations. Interviewed sexual violence experts to provide both campus and Covid-19 context to the story.

‘A veiled threat’: Changes to racist clause in faculty handbook stalled by provost

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In early 2019, two DePaul professors began questioning the language and purpose of a clause in the university’s Faculty Handbook that states “a pattern of extreme intimidation and aggression towards other members of the university committee” can be grounds for faculty dismissal or other repercussions. The language, they argued, provides no objective criteria for violation, leaving it ripe for abuse – particularly toward faculty of color, who are often accused of being threatening or aggressive if they are outspoken. Two years later, despite support from the Faculty Council and two faculty committees, the language remains unchanged, blocked by Interim Provost Salma Ghanem in June and now stuck in negotiations over the language.  

Interviewed five sources, developing a trusting relationship, and obtained internal memos and emails.

DePaul trustees chair pledged tens of thousands in political donations to 2020 Republicans

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The newly appointed chair of DePaul’s board of trustees — the group of donors that help make all the university’s major decisions — donated the highest amount of money permitted by law to key Republican groups and candidates in the weeks before and after the 2020 election, federal disclosure records show

Obtained federal disclosure records, analyzed them and negotiated for background sourcing versus off-record statements.

Fact check: False nepotism claim against Montana’s governor in GOP ad

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Studied Montana state law, obtained multiple federal documents, interviewed all key players, fact checked information with inside and outside sources, studied storied Parrot tailings dispute, utilized background sourcing in addition to on-record sourcing, analyzed reported information to determine veracity of claim.

Operation HerStory to send women veterans on state’s first all-female Honor Flight

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Operation HerStory wants to send 100 of those women in Illinois on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where they will tour war monuments for a day and be celebrated for their service upon their return home.

Attended announcement ceremony and interviewed four female veterans present and the president of Honor Flight Chicago. Achieved front page.

Chicago Police throw maskless gathering in DePaul classroom

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With six boxes of Giordano’s pizza in tow, Chicago Police Department personnel filed into the DePaul Center Concourse on Sunday, Sept. 6 for what shaped up to be a surprise party.

Observed officers breaking university and police COVID-19 protocol, requested comment from university spokespeople and CPD spokespeople and questioned on-duty Public Safety officers. Wrote grafs 1-5 and co-wrote the rest of the article.

Fact check: Trump lost the 2020 presidential election

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Analyses of the 2020 election — looking specifically at popular and electoral votes, failed lawsuits and Biden’s success with swing voters in the suburbs of “blue wall” states — explain Trump’s loss to Biden.

Interviewed Dave Wasserman, studied official results and utilized critical thinking skills to analyze the 2020 election’s outcome.

West Town art collective helps artists turn craft into career

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On the third floor of an unassuming warehouse in West Town, artists gather to create and share their work. The space is home to the Fulton Street Collective, a local incubator that wants to help artists take their passion and turn it into a paycheck — or better yet, a career.

Pitched feature to the Sun-Times, visited the space to interview its owner, interviewed visual artists in the collective and both professional and college musical artists who had performed in the space.

Fact check: Post linking Illinois’ COVID-19 lockdowns, income tax is missing context

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The claim that Illinois’ COVID-19 “shutdowns” led to significant business closures and employment loss, and in return, the governor wants to increase income taxes by 20% to make up for that lost revenue is missing context.

Studied Illinois’ financial woes and interviewed three experts.

Leftists struggle with voting ‘blue’ as Democrats court moderates, conservatives

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On Election Day, Ben Jaeger won’t head to the polls. He’s not voting early, and he hasn’t requested a ballot by mail — nor does he intend to. Jaeger, a member of DePaul Socialists, is not voting in the 2020 Election. He’s one of a number of leftists who believe neither party or candidate can fix the problems facing America today.

Interviewed three students and a political ad creator.

Fact check: Nations beating back COVID-19 are female-led, but it’s more complicated than just gender

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It’s true that the listed female-led countries have lower death rates per million people than the listed male-led countries. However, it’s misleading and lacking context to say those successes and failures are solely due to gender.

Analyzed COVID-19 data from 14 countries to compare deaths per million, used critical thinking skills to analyze the reason female-led countries fared significantly better than male-led countries in the COVID-19 pandemic.

As coronavirus spreads, anxiety spreads faster

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People with health anxiety often fixate on particular illnesses, then try to adjust their environment to reduce their risk of getting it. Those fears can be amplified when public health concerns break out.

Utilized social media to crowdsource interviews of individuals living with health anxiety and interviewed three mental health experts.

DePaul professor claims broken rules, discrimination led to denial of tenure

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Dr. Lisa Calvente repeatedly told her students one thing while teaching at DePaul: You have agency, and your voice is powerful. On May 29, Calvente used her own voice to send a message. In a mass email to current and former students, Calvente wrote that she’d be leaving DePaul — but not by choice. 

Obtained documents that proved near “willful distortion” of facts led to denial of tenure and interviewed students in section five. Fully wrote section one, and collaborated on writing sections three and five.

‘Connected in a different way’: The impact of sudden loss

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When celebrities die unexpectedly, the world mourns their loss. But thousands of ordinary people die suddenly every day, and the aftermath is just as devastating. 

Detailed the loss of my best friend at age 15, connecting it to the sudden loss of basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter and examining the broader implications of sudden loss. Interviewed an individual who similarly lost a friend suddenly, two friends of my late friend and a grief expert.

Fact check: Illinois governor didn’t scheme to give ‘politician buddies’ raises amid pandemic

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We rate the claim that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker schemed to give his “politician buddies” a pay raise amid the pandemic as false because it was not supported by our research. 

Interviewed state politics expert and studied the state’s cost of living adjustment and budget, using critical thinking skills to reach the conclusion that no such raises would occur.

DePaul faculty, staff donate almost all protective gear to local hospitals fighting COVID-19

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PPE donations were made by DePaul faculty and staff as reports of shortages of protective gear sweep both Chicago and the nation. As COVID-19 cases continue to climb and protection for medical professionals dwindles, fear of a secondary health crisis — an overwhelmed health care system — is increasing among professionals. 

Discovered scoop by emailing all department heads who might have access to PPE. Interviewed five individuals who donated, four of which were included in the story.

Students question Title IX office’s accessibility and conduct

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A lack of clear communication and information is a major issue that can hinder the productivity of any organization. For a department dealing with issues of sexual violence, these pitfalls can prove even more problematic.

Uncovered patterns of inaccessibility and misconduct within the university’s Title IX office after noticing a lack of Title IX officials present at sexual violence prevention events. Crunched data, interviewed victims retraumatized by the office and campus advocates and connected past failures of the current Title IX coordinator to perform her job well at another university for which she previously worked. The Title IX coordinator did not return to the university the next quarter.

Ion Apartments, formerly 1237 West, described by residents as less-than utopic experience

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Tenants at Ion, which was formerly known as 1237 West, were promised apartments with stunning floor-to-ceiling windows, quality amenities and a lifestyle that would make any casual Instagram user envious. Once the leases were signed, though, the experience for some wasn’t so picture-perfect. 

Filed FOIA requests for all emergency and criminal situations in section one and wrote those sections, interviewed Madelyn Funk and wrote that segment and accessed public records regarding failed inspections through one of Chicago’s public databases.