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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


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.


Union To Cops: Reject Overtime On Labor Day Weekend

The Fraternal Order of Police is asking Chicago officers to pass up extra hours during what could be one of the year’s most violent weekends.


Anti-Police Brutality Activist Works With Cops To Stop Gun Violence

Ja’Mal Green, 20, is cooperating with Chicago officers to stop gun violence just after his release from electronic monitoring for allegedly hitting and trying to disarm a cop.


South Siders Decry 6-Year-Old’s Shooting

About 150 people gathered Wednesday night in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood near a porch where a drive-by shooting injured a 6-year-old girl named Tacarra Morgan on Tuesday.


Alleged Cover-Up In Laquan McDonald Shooting A Hot Potato

Cook County judges are taking their time to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Jason Van Dyke’s fellow officers.


Investigator Headed To Court To Defend Key Report On Burge Torture

Michael Goldston, who authored the first government report documenting a pattern of abuse under former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, has been called to testify by a prisoner, who claims detectives tortured him.


Judge Orders Probe Of Cops Accused Of Cover-Up In Laquan McDonald Shooting

A special prosecutor will be appointed to investigate Chicago cops who were on the scene when officer Jason Van Dyke opened fire on McDonald, a Cook County judge said Friday.


Judge Mulls Request For Probe Into Alleged Police Cover-Up

A Cook County judge is considering a request for an investigation of an alleged police cover-up after the shooting of Laquan McDonald.


Judge Casts Statewide Net To Find Prosecutor For Murder Case Against Cop

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke may have to wait until August to find out who will prosecute him in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, 17.


Police Union Head: Gun Violence Owes Partly To ‘Disrespect’ For Cops

Dean C. Angelo Sr., president of the union that represents Chicago officers, says the city’s murder numbers could be on their way to early-1990s levels.


What's Chicago's Timeline For Its Law Department Review?

Former federal prosecutor Dan Webb says he’s still looking into how Chicago’s Law Department handles shootings by police. And, after more than five months at it, he’s not saying when he’ll be done.


City Agency Flubs Move To Fire Cop Who Has Long Complaint Record

After missing a deadline spelled out by Illinois law, IPRA withdrew a recommendation to fire a lieutenant with dozens of police-brutality complaints in his career.


McCarthy: Mayor Didn’t Take My Advice On ‘Dysfunctional’ Police Discipline

In a sworn deposition, former police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he recommended “a top-to-bottom review” of the system in “early 2012” during conversations with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


Testimony: Top Cop Johnson Backed Commander With Long Complaint History

Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson is at odds with his predecessor, Garry McCarthy, about a 2012 promotion of one of the department’s leading recipients of excessive-force complaints.


City Releases Videos Of Police Shootings

After recent scandals and public pressure, the city released hundreds of videos where cops shot or injured someone.


Judge To Appoint Special Prosecutor In Laquan McDonald Case

A Cook County judge says he’ll consider an investigation of Chicago police officers whose reporting about the Laquan McDonald shooting conflicted with a video the city was ordered to release.


City Record: Police Boss Recommended Promotion Of Lieutenant With Dozens Of Complaints

Former Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he believed Eddie Johnson recommended Lt. Glenn Evans’ promotion to commander, according to the record.


Detective's Resignation Not Connected To Pension

An embattled Chicago police detective is resigning just before a city hearing on whether to fire him. But, contrary to speculation, Det. Dante Servin’s resignation had nothing to do with his pension.

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