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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


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.


Fires Put Chicago Neighborhood On Edge

Suspected arson blazes in Pilsen early Friday killed a man and displaced 39 people from their homes.


Who’ll Get To Choose The Leader Of Chicago’s New Police-Oversight Agency?

Mayor Emanuel’s administration says it’s working with aldermen to refine a police-oversight proposal. The final draft might leave out something crucial to many civil-rights groups.


Police Oversight Proposal Faces Aldermen Questions

Mayor Emanuel's proposal to overhaul police oversight faced scrutiny about funding and autonomy at its first hearing before council members.


Commander: CPD Ready For Labor Day Weekend

The Fraternal Order of Police doesn't want its members to work overtime this weekend, but Commander Karen Konow says the CPD is ready.


Chicago Police Union Says Adding Civilian Oversight Will Make It Harder To Fight Crime

The union for Chicago police says adding more civilian oversight will make it harder for officers to fight crime.


Police Union: Plan For More Civilian Oversight Will Make It Harder To Fight Crime

Fraternal Order of Police president calls Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposals ‘very dangerous for law-abiding citizens.’


Advocates On COPA: A Step In Right Direction

The mayor’s plan to replace IPRA would create a new police watchdog chosen by the city’s Inspector General.


Emanuel Releases Proposal To Revamp Police Oversight

The ordinance would create a new police watchdog and replace the Independent Police Review Authority, but there could be sticking points.


State Police Probe Two Shootings By Troopers In Chicago

Unlike the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois State Police has no policy against firing at, or into, vehicles.


IPRA Ousts Attorney Over Twitter Interaction With Drug Dealer

Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority forced its chief investigative law officer, Lindsay Wilson Gowin, to resign after she exchanged dozens of private messages with a Twitter user who claimed to be part of a drug-dealing gang on the city’s South Side.


Chicago Sets Aside Stop-And-Frisk As Deterrence Strategy, Police Data Show

Police stops during the year’s first six months were down 84 percent from the same period last year. Tallied by month, the number of stops has not increased much since falling off a cliff last winter.

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