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Dave Savini

savini Dave SaviniAward-winning Chicago journalist Dave Savini serves as investigative reporter for CBS 2 Chicago.

Savini, whose exclusive investigations have earned him broadcast journalism’s top honors, began work at CBS 2 Chicago in July 2004. He was recently awarded broadcast journalism’s most coveted national award, a 2008 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for his investigation exposing gaping holes in security at O’Hare International Airport. The duPont Award is broadcast’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize which is also decided by a panel of judges at Columbia University in New York.


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Savini’s investigations have uncovered corruption in several police departments, exposed medical negligence, government waste, fraudulent charities and child exploitation. His reports have resulted in legal reforms and policy changes within government agencies, local corporations and have prompted new laws.

Savini won the 2006 Emmy for Best Hard News Series “Blindsided.” The investigation revealed how metal based road reflectors were breaking loose from roads, crashing through windshields and severely injuring motorists. The expose led to the immediate removal of broken or loose reflectors in DuPage County. Savini also broke the national story involving secret sexual harassment settlements involving William Kennedy Smith and his role with a Chicago based charity.

Savini has won the Associated Press award for Best Reporter five times and has been honored for excellence throughout his investigative reporting career. His many awards include: twenty-nine Associated Press Awards; twelve local Emmy Awards, including four for Individual Excellence; twelve Peter Lisagor Awards; two Herman Kogan Awards from the Chicago Bar Association; a national Clarion Award; twelve regional RTNDA awards and the national Edward R. Murrow Award.

Savini and long-time producer Michele Youngerman were honored in 2006 by the Chicago Bar Association for their series “Good Gifts Gone Bad.” The yearlong probe led to a new law after they revealed how millions of dollars worth of donated cars, clothes and toys meant for charity were actually being ripped off by felons and unlicensed middlemen. Savini and Youngerman also received the 2005 Associated Press Newspaper Award for Investigative Reporting about the scam that ran in the Naperville Sun, CBS 2 Chicago’s media partner. Their on-going series “Fly at Your Own Risk” exposed nearly 4,000 missing employee access badges at O’Hare International Airport– the largest security breach of its kind. The series led to sweeping arrests, federal investigations and a Chicago Inspector General probe into the Chicago Department of Aviation’s handling of these badges. The series was honored with a 2007 Silver Dome Award, 2008 regional RTNDA Murrow award and the 2008 Alfred I. duPont Award.

Before joining CBS 2 Chicago, Savini worked at WMAQ-TV in Chicago as an investigative reporter (1993-2004). His series “Selling Innocence” led to the arrest and conviction of a child sex-offender who was running a child modeling website. Savini was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show after he showed how the website was merely a front for a child porn operation. The series won a national Clarion award and was an Alfred I. duPont Award Finalist.

Savini exposed local 911 operators who were asleep on the job; uncovered faulty background checks of CTA workers; and revealed how children were being locked in dangerous time-out rooms in some Illinois schools. Savini’s investigation of “The Ford Heights Four” revealed four wrongfully imprisoned men who were sentenced to death. This report made national headlines, led to new DNA tests and ultimately led to their freedom.

Prior to working at WMAQ, Savini worked at WROC-TV in Rochester, New York as an anchor and investigative reporter. Before that, he was the Raleigh bureau chief at WNCT-TV in Greenville, North Carolina (1990-92). He began his career as a weekend anchor and investigative reporter at WHIZ-TV in Zanesville, Ohio. Savini’s fascination with broadcast journalism and investigative reporting began when he worked as an intern in WMAQ’s investigative unit in 1987. In addition to his broadcasting duties, Savini has written for several area newspapers including the Naperville Sun and the Aurora Beacon News.

Savini, who is an avid chef and triathlete, was born and raised in Chicago and is a 1985 graduate of Weber High School. He went on to earn a B.A. in Communications from the University of Dayton in 1989.

Mailbox

2 Investigators: Postmaster Taking Long Breaks In Middle Of Work Day

The postal system is in financial trouble but the CBS 2 Investigators uncovered a boss at the federal agency who is anywhere but at work in the middle of his government day.

07/09/2014

Jennifer Plank shows how her hand was nearly severed by shrapnel. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Store-Bought Targets Are ‘Dynamite Waiting To Go Off’

Explosive target material being sold at local stores could cause injuries and death. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports.

06/30/2014

An example of an "International Driver's License." (CBS)

2 Investigators: Some Motorists Buying Bogus Driver’s Licenses Online

They’re known as International Driver’s Licenses — and they’re completely invalid. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports.

05/19/2014

(GETTY IMAGES/AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN

2 Investigators: Cops Used TASER Several Times On Mentally Ill Man, Family Says

A call to Chicago police for help with a mentally ill man led to an arrest, a TASER being repeatedly deployed and an outraged family. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports.

05/16/2014

candy

2 Investigators: Kids Used To Sell Candy For Fake Charities

Young children are being sent to unfamiliar neighborhoods sell candy door-to-door in the name of charity. CBS 2′s Dave Savini has been investigating these operations and found, in some cases, criminals claim to have charities and use children to peddle their goods.

05/13/2014

Metra Air Quality

2 Investigators: What Passengers Are Breathing On Metra Train Cars

CBS 2′s Dave Savini launched an investigation to find out what passengers are being exposed to.

CBS 2–05/01/2014

the-2-investigators

2 Investigators: Injured Fans File Lawsuits Against Major Concert Promoter

They just wanted to see their favorite performers in concert, but ended up in the hospital instead. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports on lawsuits filed against Live Nation.

04/10/2014

TSA officers found two military-grade shells in the bags of two minors returning to the U.S. from London on Monday. (Credit: Transportation Security Administration)

WWI Artillery Shells Found In Teens’ Luggage At O’Hare

The Transportation Security Administration says the bags belonged to a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old who were returning from a school field trip to Europe.

04/08/2014

A poppy. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Dried Poppy Pods Sale Lands Chicago-Area Man In Legal Trouble

Baking with poppy seeds and using the pods in flower arrangements are both common but few people know that growing a certain kind of poppy plant or possessing them is illegal in the United States. CBS 2-Investigators talked to a West Chicago man who found out the hard way.

04/01/2014

The smashed CTA Blue Line train is removed from the tracks on Tuesday night. (Credit: Photo provided to CBS)

O’Hare CTA Crash Brings NTSB Back To Chicago

NTSB investigators combed Monday’s scene after just finishing a probe into another CTA train crash September 2013. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports.

03/24/2014

Murder suspect Joseph Felton; victim Sheray Felton (Henry County Police; Facebook)

Standoff Suspect Faced Charges In Court Last Week, But Wife Failed To Show

Could Sheray Felton be alive today? Her husband — the murder suspect surrounded by police along Lake Shore Drive on Sunday — was supposed to face serious charges in court last week. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports.

03/17/2014

Blue Cross Blue Shield

2 Investigators: Transition To Affordable Care Act Rough For Some Blue Cross Customers

CBS 2’s Dave Savini talked with a number of Chicagoans who are caught in insurance limbo –- and to Illinois’ biggest insurer, which says it is working hard to fix some problems.

03/13/2014

Two sisters -- shown here as youngsters -- were kept in foster care for years, even though an aunt was trying to gain custody, the family says. (courtesy: family)

2 Investigators: Clerical Error Keeps Sisters Stuck In Abusive Foster Care For Years

2 Investigator Dave Savini reveals how actions by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services kept two girls from their family.

03/10/2014

Tire repair (CBS)

2 Investigators: City Paying Pothole Claims Only About Half The Time

CBS 2 obtained a list of about 2,100 claims made by pothole victims from 2011 through 2013, which totaled about $1.2 million. Only about $217,000 was ever paid out, and half these filed claims are unresolved. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports.

02/26/2014

Annealed glass, which can shatter into shards, is found across the city. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Older Glass Windows Are Potentially Deadly

Annealed glass is found in windows in older homes, schools and storefronts exempt from more current rules requiring safer, tempered glass windows. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports.

02/17/2014

Elmwood Police Sgt. John Wasilenko, left; Angelo Ditore, his alleged victim. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Cop Allegedly Bilked Ailing Senior Of $20,000

A Cook County official says Elmwood Park Police Sgt. John Wasilenko stole tens of thousands of dollars from an elderly man suffering from dementia. CBS 2′s Dave Savini reports.

01/02/2014

A CTA train. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Stolen Keys Can Be Used To Access CTA Trains

The CBS 2 Investigators uncovered trains and other access points can be breached with keys that have been stolen. Dave Savini has this original report detailing what some are calling a major gap in security.

12/11/2013

Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Delays Plague State Crime Lab

Piles of evidence, critical to getting criminals off the street, sits at the Illinois State Police crime lab. Major delays in testing frustrate crime victims and means some dangerous offenders remain free. Dave Savini and the CBS 2 Investigators look into these delays in this original report.

11/20/2013

Kratom. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Dangerous New Drug Kratom Being Sold Legally In Illinois

The DEA says there’s a new and dangerous drug popping up all over the country and parents need to be on the look-out for it. The CBS 2 Investigators found while it’s banned in some states it’s being legally sold all over the Chicago area.

11/19/2013

Surveillance  image of an alleged robber in Bucktown. (Credit: Daria Bernacki)

2 Investigators: Police Ignore Home Surveillance Video In Bucktown Robberies

Cameras catching criminals in action, yet the offenders remain free. Home surveillance cameras record potentially great evidence, but police do not always use it. CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini has this original report.

11/13/2013

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