Reed, Herguth quit in BGA shakeup

Better Government Association

Better Government Association

Two top officials of the Better Government Association resigned this week in a shakeup at the Chicago-based nonprofit investigative news organization and civic watchdog group.

Robert Reed stepped down as director of programming, and Robert Herguth stepped down as director of investigations. Both veteran Chicago journalists joined the BGA in 2010 and oversaw numerous award-winning investigations into corruption, fraud and waste.

Robert Reed

Robert Reed

Their resignations were prompted by changes in the organization’s structure and revisions in its investigative strategy under Andy Shaw, president and CEO of the BGA.

“Reed and Herguth are outstanding journalists who contributed so much to the BGA’s watchdog work over the past six years,” Shaw said in a statement. “I wish them the best in their future endeavors.”

Before joining the BGA, Reed served as communications director for Governor Pat Quinn and editor of Crain’s Chicago Business. Herguth previously was a reporter and editor at the Sun-Times, the Daily Herald and the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Robert Herguth

Robert Herguth

Under Reed and Herguth’s leadership, the BGA published more than 550 investigations, resulting in the saving of an estimated $50 million in public funds, according to the organization. Their work was honored with 35 local and national journalism awards.

No permanent replacements were named, but Shaw announced the hiring Wednesday of two consultants in key roles.

Doug Longhini, a longtime investigative news producer at the network and local levels, will serve as a consultant to the BGA’s investigative unit. Longhini worked for the BGA early in his career, including posing as a bartender for the famous Mirage Tavern investigation conducted with the Sun-Times.

Clark Bell, former reporter, columnist and editor for the Chicago Daily News and the Sun-Times, will serve as a consultant for strategic initiatives. Bell also was journalism program director of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and member of the BGA board of directors.

Shaw said the restructuring will help expand the scope and impact of the investigative unit and boost the BGA’s digital reach through multimedia platforms and collaborations.