Derek L. John is WBEZ’s Community Bureaus Editor. He oversees a team of reporters stationed in bureaus on Chicago's West, North and South Sides as well as Northwest Indiana.
Before coming to Chicago, Derek lived in New York City for more than a decade where his first jobs were in film and television. After helping launch a Bravo! reality show, he worked for Bill Moyers at PBS and finally found his calling at WNYC's On the Media. He went on to file stories for several NPR news magazines on subjects ranging from early hip-hop to the future of books.
In 2004 Derek began a long, rewarding gig at Studio 360 w/ Kurt Andersen, the Peabody Award-winning program on arts and culture. His work there was honored by the Third Coast Festival, the Gracies, and the National Association of Black Journalists. He won a national Edward R. Murrow award for "Best Use of Sound" in 2012. His hour-long documentary on The Autobiography of Malcolm X remains his proudest radio achievement.
Derek’s writing has appeared in New York, The New York Sun, and the Village Voice among other publications. He holds a Masters in Cultural Reporting & Criticism from NYU, where he later taught a graduate radio reporting course.
The Kansas native first caught the radio bug from a local doo-wop deejay who called himself "the daddio of the rad-dio." Inspired, Derek eventually hosted his own shows at the University of Kansas’ KJHK including a funk/soul show called "Bump & Hustle" – which he credits with helping woo his wife. They currently live with their daughter on Chicago's North Side.