With this issue, The Chicago Reporter kicks off two new features, “#Muckrakers” and “In Focus.” They  will showcase investigations, enterprise reporting and photojournalism previously published at www.chicagoreporter.com and on our Chicago Muckrakers blog.

Blogger/reporter Megan Cottrell has been named the recipient of a Studs Terkel Community Media Award. The honor, which goes to “outstanding media professionals for excellence in covering and reflecting Chicago’s diverse communities,” is well-deserved recognition for Cottrell, who has been blogging for the Reporter since 2010.

“Cottrell is a risk-taker; yet every chance has led her career along a Terkelian road,” noted the Community Media Workshop, the award’s sponsor. “Cottrell’s storytelling style reflects her passion for people and her need to make their stories heard by making news approachable.”

Cottrell joins two other Terkel award recipients: Dave Hoekstra, staff writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, and Fernando Diaz, the managing editor of Hoy and a Reporter alumnus. The awards will be presented on March 14 at the 24th Anniversary Studs Terkel Community Media Awards benefit.

The Reporter is one of eight news outlets worldwide to receive a grant from the Investigative Reporters and Editors Data Journalism Fund, sponsored by Google Ideas. The grant will fund a Reporter investigation into Chicago’s public housing programs.

Other Google Ideas awards went to the Centre for Investigative Reporting in the United Kingdom, selected to investigate industrial facilities and emissions in Europe, and to El País newspaper in Spain for its data journalism training program.