Sarah Conway is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter in Chicago

I write investigative stories rooted in records and data about Chicago's deeply marginalized and overlooked people. I report on how government failures and public health crises often amplify the pre-existing issues of labor exploitation, police misconduct, the state's care of minors, and gender-based violence.

In 2024, I won the Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting for Missing in Chicago, a seven-part investigative series with City Bureau and the Invisible Institute that exposed systemic patterns of mismanagement in Chicago police’s handling of missing persons cases — which disproportionately affect Black women and girls. Published with the Chicago Reader, South Side Weekly, The TRiiBE, and Word in Black (a groundbreaking collaboration of 10 legendary Black news publishers), the investigation came at a critical moment in Illinois as elected officials work to address Chicago’s missing persons crisis.

Research for the series was based on an analysis of over 30,000 complaint files, which identified buried patterns of misconduct that marginalized homelessness, substance use, and mental health disorders, and an examination of one million public records. The investigation emerged from over two years of building relationships with dozens of loved ones, neighbors and local advocates impacted by the missing persons crisis to center their narratives and experiences.

The series received several national and local awards, including the 2024 Izzy Award for "the qualities of the best local journalism being produced today: deeply investigative, collaborative, data-driven, community-focused, and nonprofit, with an emphasis on multimedia narrative" and the 2024 Driehaus Foundation Award for Investigative Reporting regarding "the most important contributions to government-related investigative reporting in Illinois."

My writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Injustice Watch, the Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Reader, Belt Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, BuzzFeed News, South Side Weekly, In These Times, Block Club Chicago, and other outlets. 

I am a senior reporter at City Bureau where I have written stories and managed projects that connect the public to information to improve their own lives, including The People’s Guide to Community Benefits Agreements and Alternatives, which equips Chicago residents to be active participants in the city's public development process, and The Cord, a text app and series of stories that delivered news and resources directly to pregnant women, mothers, and anyone else who wants information for expecting moms in Chicago.

Since 2017, I've worked with hundreds of civic reporting fellows and led reporting teams covering neighborhood economic development, criminal justice reform, and food justice at City Bureau. I worked as a court reporter in collaboration with WBEZ and Injustice Watch. BuzzFeed News included my reporting in its list of 29 Times Nonprofit Journalism Made A Difference In 2018: "City Bureau reporters followed the opening of the nation's first restorative justice court, on Chicago's West Side, bringing an unprecedented amount of transparency and community input to an experimental and opaque court system."

I was a Social Justice News Nexus fellow at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and an International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) reporting grantee in 2019. There, I designed and wrote Asylum City, a year-long look into the stories of asylum seekers in Chicago that culminated in a 10-part project that included first-person narratives, reported features, and a nonfiction graphic novel. IWMF named me one of 19 women changing journalism in 2019 who "against all odds are turning the tide with reporting that challenges traditional narratives and brings new stories to light."

I won the Chicago Review of Books "Best Essay" award for After Unthinkable Loss and was a finalist for the Chicago Society of Professional Journalists "Best Feature Story" award in 2018. I co-authored "The Promise," a nonfiction graphic novel about one man's asylum journey from Syria to Chicago, which was a finalist for the Chicago Society of Professional Journalists "Best Illustration" award in 2019.

I am a New York University's Arthur L. Carter School of Journalism graduate.