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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

WBEZ Updates

Journalist Testifies In Murder Case Against Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke

A journalist had to testify Wednesday in the murder case against Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. But he didn’t have to say much.


Hearing To Focus On Journalist Who Broke Laquan McDonald Story

The judge in the murder case has ordered Jamie Kalven to ‘establish he’s a reporter’ with the privilege to protect his confidential sources.


How A Chicago Cop Sentenced To Prison Could Affect The Van Dyke Trial

Marco Proano was sentenced to five years in prison for shooting into a car of black teens. His lawyer is also representing Jason Van Dyke.

WBEZ Updates

Officers With Cases Tied To Corrupt Former Sergeant Put On Desk Duty

Seven Chicago police officers who were put on paid desk duty Thursday could be in hot water for years.

WBEZ Updates

Judge Tosses Out 18 Convictions Tied To Corrupt Former CPD Sergeant

A judge tossed out 18 convictions tied to a corrupt former Chicago police sergeant.


Prosecutor: No More Indictments In Laquan McDonald Shooting

A special prosecutor has no plans to indict any more Chicago police officers present when a fellow officer fatally shot McDonald in 2014.


Judge Refuses To Dismiss Charges In Laquan McDonald Case

A judge has rejected a motion to dismiss the murder charges against the officer accused in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

WBEZ Updates

Courthouse Masturbation Drives Attorney To Breaking Point

She’d never filed a criminal complaint about a defendant fondling himself and saw it as her duty to handle it alone. That recently changed.


Public Defender Removes Staff From Lockups Over Masturbation

Cook County official orders staff out of courthouse areas where defendants expose selves.


Posner: ‘I’m Forming Nationwide Pro-Bono Group’

A pledge by former federal appellate judge Richard A. Posner to spend his retirement helping people in court who lack an attorney is starting to materialize.

WBEZ Updates

Judge Wants Activist-Journalist To Testify About Documents

The judge in the murder case against the Chicago cop who fatally shot Laquan McDonald says a journalist might have to testify.

WBEZ Updates

Chicago Mayor: Shootings In Englewood Down 43 Percent From Last Year

Chicago officials are talking up a big drop in gun violence in a part of town that’s struggled with shootings for years.


Chicago Adds 376 Cops, 594 To Go

In a heavily promoted speech last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised to expand the police department by 970 officers by the end of 2018.


Mayor’s Police Accountability Panelists Balk At His Plan To Select Next COPA Chief

Police accountability task force members are not on board with the mayor's plan to select COPA's leader.


Advocates: Las Vegas Shooting Could Lead To Licenses For Illinois Gun Dealers

Gun control proponents say Sunday’s massacre could help pass a bill that would require gun dealers to have a state license.

WBEZ Updates

Judge Allows Jason Van Dyke To Keep Lead Attorney

The judge in the murder case against the Chicago cop who shot Laquan McDonald is letting the officer keep his lead attorney.

WBEZ Updates

Sharon Fairley Is Planning To Resign

The chief of Chicago’s police-oversight agency is planning to step down. The union for the city’s cops wants Mayor Rahm Emanuel to replace her with someone more to its liking.

WBEZ Updates

Chicago Officers Undergo Use Of Force Training

Chicago police officials say they’ve now put almost every officer in the department through a four-hour class on the use of force.

WBEZ Updates

More Claim Wrongful Convictions Tied To Corrupt Chicago Sergeant

A line of people claiming they were wrongfully convicted at the hands of a corrupt Chicago police sergeant just got a lot longer.


Cop’s Trial Comes Down To Whether Shooting Was Reasonable

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday in the trial of a Chicago cop who shot into a car. Here is what lawyers have argued so far.

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