Award-winning Chicago journalist Dave Savini serves as investigative reporter for CBS 2.
Savini, whose exclusive investigations have earned him broadcast journalism’s top honors, began work at CBS 2 Chicago in July 2004. He was 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.
In 2016, Savini won the Investigative Reporter Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for individual excellence on camera. That same year, he won the Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Investigative Reporting, exposing Chicago’s dangerous light poles, which were falling on people causing injuries and property damage due to a lack of maintenance.
Savini won the 2016 Silver Dome Award for his series of investigations into the death of Philip Coleman. Coleman who was suffering from a mental illness and needed medical care. Instead, he was taken to police cell and was shot with a Taser 16 times and ultimately died. Savini uncovered police video documenting the use of force and use of Tasers on Coleman. As a resul, the Chicago Police Department now has implemented crisis intervention training to deal with these kinds of medical cases.
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; 16 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.
He received the 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Achievement For Reporter along with 2014 Outstanding Investigative Report for his story on Metra’s dirty air aboard trains departing Union Station.
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.
Savini has added the Neighborhood Food Pantries of Northern DuPage County to his volunteer and emcee duties, helping to feed those need. He also emceed the annual charity fundraiser for Blessons, which provides educational workshops for all women. The organization also offers scholarships to disadvantaged, low-income women who have had their higher education interrupted due to cancer, mental illness, physical or emotional abuse.
Dave donates his time to groups helping military veterans, raising awareness for organ donation, and funds for pediatric brain cancer research. Some of the other charities he acts as emcee for include The Max Lacewell Foundation, Operation Welcome You Home and Kyle Zuleg Foundation.