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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


Chicago Cop Faces New Charges In Shooting Of Laquan McDonald

A grand jury added 16 new counts against Officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot a black teenager 16 times.


Experts: Promotion of Cop With 90 Complaints Raises ‘Red Flags’

Experts appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to study police accountability are questioning the promotion of a cop with a long complaint history.


Mayor, Top Cop Defend Promotion Of Commander With 90 Complaints

James Sanchez has one of the Chicago Police Department’s longest complaint histories but heads a busy West Side district.


Chicago Cop With Long Complaint History Heads Busy Police District

Chicago Police Cmdr. James Sanchez has almost twice as many complaints as any other district commander.


Cook County State's Attorney Reexamining Double-Murder Conviction

After his 1997 arrest in a double-murder case, Jaime Hauad claimed the police threatened to cut off his toes if he didn't confess.


Double-Murder Conviction To Be Reexamined

State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx’s office says it’s reviewing the conviction of a man who claims Chicago police officers threatened to cut off his toes.


Van Dyke’s Attorney Tries To Tie Johnson To Case

A lawyer tried to link police Supt. Eddie Johnson to CPD bosses who backed reports that the Laquan McDonald shooting complied with policy.


Chicago’s Top Cop To Trump: Fight Violence By Fighting Poverty

As the president talked about the city’s shootings again, police Supt. Eddie Johnson listed ways for the feds to help.


Mayor’s ‘Code Of Silence’ Speech Still Burdens City Attorneys

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speech helped him out of a political crisis, but his acknowledgment keeps coming up in lawsuits.


Chicago’s Murder-Clearance Rate Falls to Historic Low

Amid a surge in gun violence, the city’s cops last year solved fewer than one in five killings — the lowest rate in at least a half century.


CPD Gathers Records On Corrupt Cop's Cases

Chicago police are gathering data to turn over to prosecutors trying to identify wrongful convictions tied corrupt former Sgt. Ronald Watts.


Chicago Revives ‘Officer Friendly’ Program

School kids across the city will get to meet a cop as the police department tries to "heal wounds" between officers and the community.


Aldermen Mull $4 Million For Man Who Claims Detective Tortured Him

Shawn Whirl said a detective repeatedly slapped his face and dug a key into an existing wound on his leg until he confessed.


Panel Begins Drawing Up Community-Policing Strategy

Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson says the goal is “to make CPD the model law-enforcement agency across the country.”


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.

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