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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


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.


Journalist-Activist Hails Police Records Dump

The city has released data on more than 100,000 complaints.


Who Will Control New Agency That Probes Police Shootings?

Wednesday’s vote left an unanswered question about a new agency that will investigate police-misconduct complaints and shootings by cops: Who is going to control it?


Mayor Emanuel Says Early Next Year, He'll Unveil Another Step To Increase Police Accountability

The idea is to provide an oversight role to the community, but it’s not clear how powerful that role will be.


City Council To Consider IPRA Replacement

A proposed revamp of Chicago’s police-oversight system could get City Council approval this week.


Former IPRA Chief Declines Florida Job

The ousted former head of the Chicago agency that investigates police shootings declined to become inspector general of Jacksonville.


Judge To Decide If Laquan McDonald's Child-Welfare Records Belong In Trial

A Cook County judge says he will look through Laquan McDonald's child-welfare records to see if they belong in the trial of Jason Van Dyke.


Alleged Witness To McDonald Shooting Says Officers Pressured Her To Change Story

A woman who said she witnessed the shooting of Laquan McDonald is claiming in a federal lawsuit that officers wanted her to change her story.


Ousted IPRA Chief Gets Big Job Offer In Florida

Scott Ando, forced out as chief administrator of IPRA last December, has been asked to serve as inspector general of Jacksonville.


Judge Takes More Time To Convene Laquan McDonald Grand Jury

A Cook County judge says he needs more time to impanel a special grand jury to investigate an alleged police cover-up.


Why Mayor Emanuel Is Denouncing Street Gangs By Name

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is calling out gangs by name. An expert says there’s a risk of adding to their prestige on the streets.


After Trump Suggestion, Chicago’s Top Cop Talks Up City’s Gun Seizures

Eddie Johnson is defending the city’s efforts to get illegal guns off the street after a suggestion from Donald Trump curbing violence.


Here's A Subject Mayor Emanuel's Public-Safety Speech Avoided

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is laying out a wide-ranging plan to solve the city’s gun violence. He largely avoided the role of parenting. And it didn’t go unnoticed. WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell reports.

Morning Shift

Community Reaction to Mayor’s Public Safety Speech

WBEZ’s West Side reporter Chip Mitchell breaks down the specifics of his police proposals, including giving the Chicago Police Department more resources to fight crime.


Mayor Emanuel To Give 'Major' Public Safety Speech

Emanuel will deliver what he called a major public safety speech that is expected to outline a violence solution.


Former Head Of CPD Says Today's Political Climate Empowers Criminals

Former Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement.


FULL SPEECH: Former CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy On A "Culture Of Legitimizing Noncompliance"

Former Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says he would not have released video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

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