Tim Novak, Investigative Reporter, Chicago Sun-Times
Novak joined the Sun-Times in 1995, focusing on political corruption in Chicago, Cook County and the state of Illinois. He has spent the last five years investigating the homicide of David Koschman, a case that was left unsolved until he and his colleagues doggedly pursued the story, leading to the manslaughter conviction of Richard J. “RJ” Vanecko, whose uncle, Richard M. Daley, was Chicago’s mayor when Koschman died. Last year, Novak and his colleagues were awarded the George Polk Award for Local Reporting for their coverage of the Koschman case. Novak also helped topple Daley’s Hired Truck Program. City taxpayers spent $40 million a year leasing hundreds of dump trucks from politically connected, often mobbed-up companies that did little or no work. The investigation sparked a federal probe that led to 49 indictments, garnering Novak several journalism honors.