Award-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.
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.
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.
Explosive target material being sold at local stores could cause injuries and death. CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.
They’re known as International Driver’s Licenses — and they’re completely invalid. CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.
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.
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.
CBS 2’s Dave Savini launched an investigation to find out what passengers are being exposed to.
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.
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.
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.
NTSB investigators combed Monday’s scene after just finishing a probe into another CTA train crash September 2013. CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.
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.
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.
2 Investigator Dave Savini reveals how actions by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services kept two girls from their family.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.