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Chip Mitchell

Chip Mitchell

West Side Reporter

Based at WBEZ’s studio on Chicago’s West Side, Chip reports largely about policing, immigration, low-wage industries and underground business.

His investigative and narrative work for WBEZ has earned dozens of local and national honors. In 2013 and 2015, Chicago’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter gave him its annual award for “best reporter” in broadcast radio. He has won two first-place National Headliner Awards, one for a 2014 exposé series that led to a felony indictment of Chicago’s most celebrated police commander, another for a short 2013 documentary about a Chicago heroin supply chain through Mexico and Texas. Other honors have come from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Sidney Hillman Foundation, the Radio Television Digital News Association (Edward R. Murrow awards), the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation/Better Government Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Illinois Associated Press, the Chicago Headline Club and Public Narrative (Studs Terkel award).

Chip has also been WBEZ’s reporter in investigative collaborations with the California-based Center for Investigative Reporting and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity.

Before Chip joined WBEZ in 2006, his base for three years was Bogotá, Colombia, where he focused on the participation of U.S. government and corporate entities in that country’s civil war. He reported from conflict zones around Colombia and from several other Latin American countries. His stories reached U.S. and international audiences through PRI’s The World, NPR’s Morning Edition, the BBC, the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor, the Committee to Protect Journalists and other outlets. From 1995 to 2003, Chip focused on immigration and the U.S. role in Latin America as editor of Connection to the Americas, winner of the 2003 Utne Independent Press Award award for “general excellence” among newsletters nationwide.

In 1995, the Milwaukee Press Club named a story he authored for the Madison newspaper Isthmus the year’s best investigative report in Wisconsin. The story examined a fatal shooting by narcotics officers in a rural mobile-home park. In 1992, he co-founded two daily news shows broadcast ever since on Madison’s community radio station, WORT.

Chip was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood with his partner and their daughter.

Recent Stories


Police Boss Helped Officer Tied To Corrupt Cops Get Promoted

Patrol Bureau Chief Fred L. Waller “was not aware of potential wrongdoing or the complaint record,” a spokesman said.


Ex-Inmate Gets OK To Seek Money In Case Tied To Corrupt Sergeant

A Cook County judge grants the certificate to a South Side man convicted on drug charges linked to former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts.


CPD Reviewing Convictions Tied To Corrupt Sergeant

A police spokesman tells WBEZ that the department is reviewing convictions connected to corrupt former Sgt. Ronald Watts.


Another Conviction Tied To Corrupt Sergeant Thrown Out

Lionel White spent more than two years behind bars after his 2006 arrest by a team led by Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts.


Chicago Police Welcome New Trainee Class

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson welcomed a new class of police trainees with a word about deadly force.


Lawsuit: Feds Beat Up Detained Immigrant In Chicago

A man claims federal immigration officers at a downtown facility beat him up and left him unconscious while getting ready to deport him.


City Not Planning To Fight Probe For People Framed By Crooked Sergeant

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration says it does not “intend to oppose” a request for a court-appointed investigator to identify wrongful convictions tied to corrupt former cop.


Prosecutors OK With Idea Of Identifying People Framed By Sergeant

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is working with advocates pushing for a court-appointed ‘special master’ to identify wrongful convictions tied to former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts.


Chicago Agency Scraps Plan To Take Police-Shooting Videos Offline

IPRA now says there will be no “expiration” of internet access to recordings and officer reports on shootings by cops.


County Fires Homeland Security Chief For His Work As Police Boss

Toni Preckwinkle dismissed Ernie Brown after reading an article that argued a code of silence protected corrupt cops working under him.


Petition Seeks Probe For Wrongful Convictions Tied To Corrupt Cop

A journalist and advocate is planning to ask a judge for help identifying wrongful convictions tied to Ronald Watts, a corrupt former sergeant.


Police Training Expert: There Won't Be Much Change Without Follow-up

As Chicago cops take a two-day course on de-escalating conflicts without force, a police training expert says it won’t change much without continuous follow-up.


Young Undocumented Immigrants Face Uncertain Future Under President Trump

A federal policy affecting hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants could be thrown out when Donald Trump settles into the Oval Office.


Foxx Wins Cook County State's Attorney Race

Democrat Kim Foxx declared victory over Republican Christopher E.K. Pfannkuche in the race for Cook County state’s attorney.


Cook County Officials Want Body Cameras For Probation Officers

Commissioner John Daley says the body cameras could help avoid costly lawsuits.


Some Aldermen Say Police Are Putting Up With Too Much Disrespect

At a budget hearing Thursday, the aldermen asked police Superintendent Eddie Johnson at what point cops can make arrests for it.


IPRA Investigators May Retain Jobs At COPA, Must Re-Apply

The head of the agency that investigates Chicago police shootings is giving aldermen some mixed signals about changes that may -- or may not -- be coming.


Cook County Board President Calls For Judges To Cut Down On Bail

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says it’s unfair--and expensive for taxpayers--when judges set bail for nonviolent defendants beyond their ability to pay.


Rally On Laquan McDonald Shooting Anniversary Pushes Bill For Voter Recall

Relatives of people killed by Chicago cops rallied with community activists and supporters Thursday night in front of police headquarters.


Police Whistleblower: ‘I Won’t Remain Silent Ever Again’

Shannon Spalding worked undercover on a case that sent two officers to prison. She is resuming her battle to expose corruption.

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