Chip Mitchell | WBEZ
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Chip Mitchell

Chip Mitchell

Criminal Justice Reporter

Based at WBEZ’s studio on Chicago’s West Side, Chip focuses on policing, gun violence and underground business. His investigative and narrative work has earned dozens of local and national honors. In 2017, 2015 and 2013, the Chicago Headline Club (the nation’s largest 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 2014 reporting 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 and Public Narrative (Studs Terkel award).

He has also reported as part of award-winning WBEZ 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. He reported from conflict zones around that war-torn country and from numerous other Latin American nations. Topics ranged from national elections to guinea-pig meat exports to bus rapid transit. The stories reached U.S. audiences through PRI’s The World, NPR’s Morning Edition, the BBC, the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

From 1995 to 2003, Chip focused on immigration and U.S. roles in Latin America as editor of Connection to the Americas, winner of the 2003 Utne Independent Press Award for “general excellence” among newsletters nationwide. In 1995, the Milwaukee Press Club named one of Chip’s stories 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


Newly Released Documents Detail Top Cop’s Role In Shooting That Shook Chicago

When Johnson saw video of Officer Jason Van Dyke killing Laquan McDonald, he didn’t object to a narrative that the shooting was justified.


Lightfoot Releases ‘Cover-up’ Records In Laquan McDonald Shooting

The Chicago mayor fulfills a campaign vow to disclose documents in the city’s probe of how CPD handled Officer Jason Van Dyke’s shooting.


Chicago Murders Less Likely To Be Solved If The Victim Is Black

City data over 19 months show police solved 47% of murders with white victims and 22% with black victims.


Special Prosecutor Investigating Kim Foxx Allowed To Stay On Despite Funding Her 2016 Campaign

The prosecutor, Dan K. Webb, was appointed to look at why the state’s attorney dropped charges against former Empire actor Jussie Smollett.


Third Man Convicted In Slaying of 9-Year-Old Tyshawn Lee

A Cook County jury finds Corey Morgan guilty of first-degree murder. He’s the third person convicted in the execution-style killing.


Special Prosecutor Investigating Kim Foxx Helped Fund Her Campaign

The prosecutor, Dan K. Webb, was appointed to look at why the state’s attorney dropped charges against ex-‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett.


Despite Lightfoot Vow, City To Withhold Most Records On ‘Cover-up’ For Van Dyke

Chicago officials say they’ll release records “as soon as Thursday” but not nearly as many as promised by Lightfoot during her mayoral run.


Lightfoot Adds Gang-Outreach Veteran To New Public Safety Office

Norman Livingston Kerr wants anti-violence ‘sustainability’ but his staff will be tiny until the mayor lifts a freeze on city hiring.


After Court Ruling, Lightfoot Vows Release of Laquan ‘Cover-Up’ Records

Mayor’s office says lifting the gag order in Jason Van Dyke’s case brings city closer to releasing files on CPD’s handling of the shooting.


Chicago Mayor, Top Cop Unveil Plan To Track Gun Offenders

The initiative comes as officials fight over 2017 changes to Cook County bail that have allowed more pretrial defendants out of jail.


Police Data: Most Fatal Hit-And-Run Crashes In Chicago Go Unsolved

Even if the police investigators are not making progress in a case, family members say they still want to hear from them.


4 Chicago Police Officers Fired In Alleged Cover-up For Jason Van Dyke

Years after the imprisoned Chicago cop shot Laquan McDonald, the city dismisses four veteran officers for false reports about the shooting.


City Takes Obama’s Ex-Boss To Court To Get ACs for Low-Income Seniors

With high temps on the way, Chicago forces the landlord to put air conditioners in a 72-unit South Side building.


For Black Representation, Police Hiring Spree A Missed Opportunity

Compared to three years ago, the Chicago Police Department looks less like the communities hit hardest by gun violence.


Chicago Murders Down This Year Despite High Victim Tally This Weekend

June ended with a burst of gun violence. Still, the 47 murders reported by CPD during the month were the fewest June murders since 2015.


Despite Campaign Vow, Lightfoot Refuses To Release Laquan ‘Cover-Up’ Records

Chicago’s new mayor says she is working “as quickly as possible” on legal changes to allow public access to city probe of teen’s killing.


Schools Program Curbs Street Violence Without Cops

Safe Passage posts civilian monitors around schools in their neighborhood. New research suggests the program tamps down violent crime.


Aldermen Eye ‘Pro-Police Bias’ At Agency That Probes Shootings By Cops

Nine Chicago City Council members call for a hearing about a “crisis of leadership” at the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.


15 Years For Cartel Figure Tied To Murder, Kidnapping, Drug Trafficking

Handing down the sentence, a federal judge in Chicago praised Vicente Zambada Niebla's cooperation in bringing down cartel leaders.


If Prosecutors Get Their Way, Mexican Cartel Figure Could Be Free In 4 Years

They say Vicente Zambada Niebla’s cooperation led to charges against dozens of traffickers, including Mexico’s most powerful drug boss.

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