Robert Wildeboer is the senior editor overseeing a team of three investigative reporters on the station’s criminal justice desk. The team reports local and national stories on gun violence, solutions to gun violence, policing, alternatives to policing, prisons, mental health and many other issues. The team has been the creative and journalistic force behind several of WBEZ’s most well-known and celebrated podcasts, including 16 Shots on the killing of Laquan McDonald by former Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, Motive Season 4 exposing corruption inside Illinois’ prisons and Motive season 5 documenting former gang members in Chicago who are working to reduce violence in the city.
Previously, Rob served as the senior editor of news overseeing the station’s daily news operation. In that position he also helped expand the newsroom and establish subject desks in education, politics and criminal justice to deepen the station’s coverage in daily and enterprise news.
As WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter from 2008-2016, Rob loved working with audio, mixing interview clips together with sounds to create compelling narratives and scenes in the service of investigative stories. Rob’s work has been recognized with dozens of awards from groups such as Amnesty International, The Chicago Bar Association, The John Howard Association, AP Illinois, Scripps Howard, First Defense Legal Aid and many others. His work has been featured on WBEZ’s local programs as well as NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Reveal and Today Explained. He has also contributed to Tell Me More, Here and Now, This American Life, the CBC, various BBC programs and Voice of America.
Rob studied at Loyola University Law School in Los Angeles as part of its journalism law school program, and was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow for criminal justice reporting at John Jay College at the City University of New York. He spent the 2014-15 academic year as the Knight Wallace Law fellow at the University of Michigan (where he also took classes in jazz piano improvisation).
Rob has taught journalism in the graduate journalism program at Columbia College Chicago and at North Park University. He also frequently lectures locally and nationally at colleges, law schools and once — somewhat strangely — at a medical school. He has an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College and a B.A. in philosophy from Calvin College. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, he resides in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, Christine.