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.

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

Don Banks and Angela Seals-Banks, whose son's 2002 murder remains unsolved.

2 Investigators: Parents Say Cops Didn’t Do Enough To Solve Son’s Murder

Killers are getting away with their crimes, more often than you probably think. CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini looks at how often Chicago Police solve murders and and how often killers remain at large.

10/22/2013

O'Hare International Airport

2 Investigators: Are Airline Pilots Getting Enough Training?

Tougher pilot training standards, expected to be released next week, have fallen victim to the government shutdown. Those fighting for the now-delayed federal rules say the changes could make regional flights safer.

10/15/2013

Molly, the powder or crystalline form of MDMA -- the chemical in ecstasy -- is gaining popularity as a party drug. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Overdoses Of Drug ‘Molly’ Skyrocketing

Skyrocketing overdoses of a drug called Molly have law enforcement concerned. CBS 2’s Dave Savini investigates Molly also known as MDMA.

10/08/2013

A bench at Brookfield Zoo shows wear and tear. (CBS)

Brookfield Zoo Makes Repairs After Visitor Contracts Tetanus

Zoo staff members are fixing or marking safety hazards that CBS 2 exposed with undercover cameras earlier this week. CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.

10/03/2013

Brookfield Zoo. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Woman Gets Tetanus After Getting Cut On Bench At Brookfield Zoo

A young mother of two nearly died after a day at Brookfield Zoo. She wants to warn others about what she believes is a danger there and she spoke with CBS 2’s Dave Savini in this original report.

10/01/2013

Michael Lewis died after he was accidentally set aflame outside a Chicago nursing home. (handout)

2 Investigators: Nursing Home Patient Catches Fire, Left To Smolder Outside

A man smoking a cigarette catches on fire. What happens next has outraged his family. CBS 2’s Dave Savini has video of the incident.

09/30/2013

(credit: ThinkStock)

Gun Advocates Want Change To Illinois Self-Defense Laws

Conceal carry in Illinois will mean more people with guns who can protect themselves — but self defense laws have not yet changed.

09/24/2013

(Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Safe Passage Routes Lead Kids Past Sex Offender Shelters

Questions tonight about two Chicago Public School safe passage routes and whether children are being put in harm’s way. CBS 2’s Dave Savini investigates routes having children walk right by shelters with sex offenders.

09/10/2013

Shawn Taylor says five pit bulls broke free from this fence and attacked his stepson Nikita Hampton right on the sidewalk outside of a laundromat at Kedzie and Roosevelt. (Credit: CBS)

Man Recovering After Being Attacked By Five Pit Bulls

A Chicago man is recovering after a vicious attack by five pit bulls. As CBS 2’s Dave Davini explains it all happened in broad daylight this weekend and may have been prevented.

09/01/2013

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