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.

A kit of Naloxone, a heroin antidote that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, is displayed at a press conference about a new community prevention program for heroin overdoses in which New York police officers will carry kits of Naloxone, on May 27, 2014 in New York City. The New York Police Department is being provided 19,500 kits for officers; the program will begin after officers receive training. The Naloxone is administered nasally. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

2 Investigators: Why Aren’t More Cops Carrying Naloxone?

Every three days someone living in the suburbs dies from heroin. A medication that can reverse an overdose from heroin, and other opioids, is being carried by some first responders but not others.

03/25/2015

Tim Ryan (left) says he got his son Nick (right) addicted to heroin. (Family provided photos)

2 Investigators: Family Wrecked By Heroin Offers Sobering Lesson

Suburban mother of three Shannon Ryan recorded cell phone video to document her son Nick Ryan’s heroin addiction.

03/24/2015

Benito Juarez High School (CBS)

2 Investigators: High School Allegedly Used Grade-Cheating To Pass Students

Sources say the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Inspector General is looking into how Benito Juarez Community Academy High School uses “benchmark recovery” — a grading system that is supposed to help failing students meet standards. CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.

03/05/2015

Inside the FBI's Regional Computer Forensics Lab in Chicago. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Chicago Lab Analyzes Cyber Evidence To Track Down Criminals

Bank robbers, killers, terrorists and other criminals leave behind digital and cyber evidence. Analyzing that evidence is the job of forensic lab investigators here in Chicago.

03/04/2015

Dave Savini pouring through a dumpster containing medical files with sensitive information. (Credit: CBS 2)

Feds, State Investigate After Medical Records Found In Firm’s Garbage Bin

Federal authorities will be in Northbrook on Friday, investigating a massive breach of medical and personal records first exposed by CBS 2’s Dave Savini.

02/26/2015

Dave Savini pouring through a dumpster containing medical files with sensitive information. (Credit: CBS 2)

2 Investigators: Medical Files With Personal Info Found In Dumpster

A massive breach of medical records containing confidential personal information has prompted both federal and state investigations.

02/25/2015

Artificial turf using crumb rubber could pose a cancer risk. (Credit: CBS0

2 Investigators: Crumb Rubber Turf Could Pose Cancer Risk

CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini did some testing of the turf being used by kids, teens and adults, and has the results in this Original Report.

02/11/2015

John Wayne Gacy's clown suits on display at the National Crime Museum in Washington D.C. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Were John Wayne Gacy Clown Suits Stolen From Evidence Room?

CBS 2’s Dave Savini, in this Original Report, uncovered evidence those clown suits ended up on the market.

02/10/2015

Veteran Karl Moess (CBS)

2 Investigators: VA Tells Live Claimant He’s Dead

The problem is, veteran Karl Moess is very much alive, CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.

01/29/2015

Alex Cipolla shows the damage done to her car by a city tow truck. (CBS)

2 Investigators: City Tow Truck Damages Car, Leaves Scene

Alex Cipolla says she called 3-1-1, 9-1-1 and the Department of Streets and Sanitation, but no action was taken until CBS 2 got involved.

01/15/2015

driveway

2 Investigators: Woman’s Driveway Crumbles After Construction Work Next Door

Construction of one home causes destruction at a neighboring home. The damage inflicted months ago has yet to be fixed.

01/06/2015

Surveillance video captured three women breaking into Abbonte's apartment. (Credit: John Abbonte)

2 Investigators: Burglary Victim Says Cops Ignoring Surveillance Video After Gun Stolen

A loaded gun was stolen from a Chicago apartment and the suspects caught on surveillance camera. The gun’s owner says he tried to get Chicago Police to investigate, but could not.

12/10/2014

Stray voltage at a city utility pole. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Stray Electricity Poses Hidden Danger

In this Original Report, CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini explains the danger you will not know about, until it is too late.

11/25/2014

(CBS)

2 Investigators: Dump Thrived For Years Along DuPage River

Now, authorities are going after a land owner and looking into why action wasn’t taken sooner. CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.

11/20/2014

burglary

2 Investigators: How Burglars Operate To Steal From Your Home

The busy season for home burglaries is now. While people ship presents and travel for the holidays, burglaries spike.

11/11/2014

Dmitry Smirnov (Oak Brook Police Dept.)

2 Investigators: Video Confession Provides Insight Into Mind Of Stalker

An online-gaming friendship turned into a real life obsession and murder. A local woman was stalked and killed by a Canadian man and his stunning confession was obtained by our CBS 2 Investigators.

11/05/2014

A Virginia Tech lab tests the safety of football helmets. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Schools Using Football Helmets With Low Safety Ratings

2 Investigator Dave Savini took helmets belonging to a middle-school player and had them tested at a Virginia lab. The outcome raises concerns for many young players.

11/03/2014

beating bus

2 Investigators: Video Shows Kid Get Beat On Way To School While Driver Does Nothing

Video showing a 13-year-old being beaten on his way to school has surfaced and the boy’s outraged parents say school officials put him in danger. CBS 2’s Dave Savini has their story in this Original Report.

10/22/2014

A power sub station. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Electric Grid Vulnerable To Attacks, Natural Disasters

Criminal action or natural disaster, there are warnings that both pose impending threats to our electrical grid. In this Original Report, CBS 2’s Dave Savini looks at the security of our power system. Whether the electric grid gets hacked by cyber criminals, physically attacked at a power plant or Mother Nature strikes — all could be devastating to the system.

10/07/2014

Lisa Voss (CBS)

2 Investigators: Woman Billed For Imposter’s Psychiatric Services

A Chicago woman was billed for psychiatric services she purportedly received at Stroger Hospital. CBS 2’s Dave Savini investigates.

10/03/2014

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