The Columbia Journalism Review hands out more kudos to Chicago’s long-running education magazine, Catalyst, in its roundup of Our favorite local journalism from 2015:

“In a remarkable show of force for independent media, an Uber-driving freelancer and a veteran education reporter at a small niche publication helped drive the political agenda in Chicago this year, with journalism that led to a federal indictment of the top schools chief and the firing of the police chief.

“In October, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to a felony following a federal investigation into a kickback scheme connected to a $20.5 million, no-bid contract. The federal charges echoed questions that had been first raised in July 2013 by reporter Sarah Karp in Catalyst Chicago, a newsmagazine devoted exclusively to public education. Justice in the case took two years—but it made 2015 a banner year for independent media in Chicago.”

A few days ago, CJR honored the Tampa Bay Tribune series on school resegregation in another roundup.

It’s my contention that local investigative pieces like these are outliers, excellent and impressive as they are, and a balance between investigations into district and charter efforts. Still, these are great stories and deserve to be celebrated.

Related posts: CJR 2015 Journalism Roundup Features Big Hits & MissesIndie Outlet Broke Chicago SUPES Scandal — Two Years AgoThe Strange Off-Balance State Of Local Investigative Coverage.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.