Two award-winning veteran journalists, Alejandra Cancino and David Jackson, are joining Injustice Watch as part of our ongoing expansion and growing commitment to investigative journalism.
Jackson is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a four-time finalist with a reporting career spanning more than 30 years, much of it at the Chicago Tribune. Cancino was most recently the deputy editor at City Bureau, where she led the editorial team and a fellowship program for emerging reporters. Both will be senior reporters at Injustice Watch.
Cancino began her reporting career at the Palm Beach Post before moving to Chicago to cover manufacturing, economic development, and labor at the Chicago Tribune. She spent more than five years as a senior investigative reporter at the Better Government Association, where she exposed systemic failures in local government and focused on the intersection of government and business. She was also a 2015 Associated Press-NORC journalism fellow at the University of Chicago, where she wrote national stories focused on aging and long-term care.
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Among her many recognitions was the 2019 Editor & Publisher EPPY Award for best investigative/enterprise feature for her series exposing how decades of broken promises and billions in public money spent at O’Hare International Airport benefited the politically connected. She also was recognized for her work revealing how elected leaders spent more than $2 billion converting the predominantly Black neighborhood surrounding Cabrini-Green into a mostly white one — leaving a legacy of broken promises and a long record of neglect.
“I’m beyond thrilled to join the talented team at Injustice Watch and continue their tradition of exposing abuses of power through investigative reporting,” Cancino said.
Jackson was born and raised in Chicago and was an investigative reporter at the Tribune from 1991 to 2020, except for a year at The Washington Post, where he shared the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service for a series on residents shot by police. Those articles prompted U.S. Department of Justice oversight and broad reforms that led to a 66% decline in police shootings in Washington, D.C.
At the Tribune, four of his projects were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, including an exposé of profit-making juvenile detention companies and a series on extradition failures, which prompted congressional hearings and reform efforts in the United States, Mexico, and elsewhere.
“I am thrilled to join this great and growing nonprofit newsroom,” Jackson said. “I believe the truest index of a society’s moral values is the way it treats its least powerful citizens, and Injustice Watch consistently has exposed inequities and wrongdoing in Illinois courts and government agencies.
“This type of investigative reporting is urgently needed now more than ever.”
After losing a campaign to find a civic-minded owner for Tribune Publishing’s chain of regional newsrooms, Jackson joined the Better Government Association in 2020. There, his articles revealed foster children locked in detention because the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services couldn’t place them, Chicago’s dearth of programs for young people arrested for carjacking, and failures in Illinois’ privatized Medicaid system.
“Alejandra and David are not only terrific investigative reporters, they are incredible mentors to younger journalists,” said Jonah Newman, Injustice Watch’s managing editor. “I’m so excited for them to join our growing editorial team and to elevate our investigative reporting on the Cook County courts.”