Rob Wildeboer | WBEZ
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Rob Wildeboer

Rob Wildeboer

Senior Editor of News

Rob is the Senior Editor of News for WBEZ, heading up the daily news operation. 

Much of his work in the last couple of years as a reporter has focused on prisons, expensive institutions that are subject to little public oversight. Rob spent much of 2012 seeking access to the prisons in Illinois, waging a very public battle with Gov. Pat Quinn. The governor had refused to let reporters into the facilities, citing safety and security. However, when WBEZ threatened to sue the governor and the Department of Corrections the state relented and hosted tours that attracted dozens of reporters from across the state. Rob’s efforts were featured in several publications, including a cover story on prison reporting and access in the Columbia Journalism Review

In 2012 Rob also reported on the high cost of phone calls for inmates in the Cook County Jail. The series won many awards, including a Scripps Howard award and a PRNDI for best investigative reporting. It was also honored as an IRE finalist and got an honorable mention in the Casey Medals competition.

Rob's reporting has been recognized with dozens of other awards, including several Edward R. Murrow awards, PRNDIs, Lisagors, and he’s received numerous awards from the Associated Press in both Illinois and Indiana. Those recognized him as best news writer and best reporter. His contributions have also been recognized by the Chicago Bar Association, First Defense Legal Aid, and the prison watchdog John Howard Association. Rob has also been fortunate to win a number of fellowships. He studied at Loyola University law school in Los Angeles as part of its journalism law school program. He’s also been a Guggenheim Fellow for criminal justice reporting at John Jay College at the City University of New York. He spent the 2014/15 academic year as the Knight Wallace Law fellow at the University of Michigan.

Rob joined Chicago Public Media in September 2004 as an intern for Eight Forty-Eight, later becoming a freelance contributor for the news department before taking over his current beat. Rob’s work is featured on WBEZ’s local programs as well as NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He’s also contributed to Tell me More, Here and Now, This American Life, the CBC, various BBC programs and Voice of America.

Rob has taught journalism in the graduate journalism program at Columbia College Chicago and at North Park University. He also frequently lectures locally and nationally at colleges, law schools, and once, somewhat strangely, at a medical school. Rob has an M.A. in Journalism from Columbia College and a B.A. in Philosophy from Calvin College.

Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Rob resides in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, Christine.

Recent Stories


The Year in Criminal Justice Stories From WBEZ

The sentencing of Jason Van Dyke in the Laquan McDonald murder trial kicked off 2019.

Reset with Jenn White

Jason Van Dyke Sentenced To 81 Months In Prison

The former Chicago Police officer was sentenced to nearly seven years Friday for the 2014 shooting death of a black teenager.

WBEZ Updates

Investigation Finds Property Tax System Unfairly Benefits High-Value Owners

A ProPublica Illinois/Chicago Tribune investigation found that the property tax system unfairly benefits owners of high-value properties.

Every Other Hour

When Shooting Feels ‘Like A Drug’

A middle-aged man says he’s done a lot of “evil” things, and feels he has to carry a gun to protect himself.


Report: Chicago Police Received Thousands Of Complaints Without Consequence

Chicago police officers received nearly 135,000 complaints over 34 years and less than one percent of officers faced serious discipline.


US Rep. Mel Reynolds Wants To Plead Guilty In Tax Case

Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds said in a handwritten court filing posted Tuesday that he wants to plead guilty to misdemeanor federal charges of failing to file a tax return.


Chicago Releases Hundreds of Emails in Fatal Police Shooting

Among other things, the cache reveals communication between the mayor's office and the agency tasked with investigating police misconduct.


Complaints Against Chicago Cops Published After 20-Year Saga

A massive database of complaints against Chicago police is being published online today. It provides an unprecedented and historic look into how the City of Chicago patrols its communities and its officers.


Chicago aldermen have few questions about police discipline

At a time when policing is of major public concern nationally, Chicago aldermen had just a smattering of questions for the head of the Chicago Police Board Friday. 


Chicago alderman questioning IPRA investigation of police misconduct

Ald. Ameya Pawar of the 47th ward says questioning the police is not being anti-police. In fact Pawar says it’s important to question public institutions in a healthy democracy.


IPRA fails to pursue potential crime by cops

Video of a police raid on a tanning salon in 2013 shows Chicago police officers engaging in potentially criminal activity. Some of that activity was reviewed by the Independent Police Review Authority but not all. 


Asian-American community: IPRA not holding cops accountable

Members of Chicago’s Asian-American community say their meeting with Scott Ando shows his agency, the Independent Police Review Authority, has a problem holding cops accountable.


IPRA chief to explain discipline for cops in video

Members of Chicago’s Asian-American community are scheduled to meet Monday with the head of the Independent Police Review Authority to discuss a cop caught on tape making racist comments and death threats during an arrest in a salon.


Chicago Police Supt. speaks on human tragedy

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy held a press conference Thursday on details surrounding the toddler whose dismembered remains were found in the city's Garfield Park lagoon.


Emanuel refuses to weigh in on discipline for cops in salon video

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is refusing to discuss a 25-day suspension being recommended for a cop caught on video yelling racist comments.


Activists want cops in parlor video fired

Asian-American activists in Chicago are expressing outrage over the lack of punishment being recommended by the city agency that investigates police misconduct.


Fired IPRA investigator suing city

An official who was fired from the agency that investigates shootings by police in Chicago is suing the city for wrongful termination.


New law limits bail profits Cook County can take from poor

A new Illinois law is going to cost Cook County $5 million in revenue each year. But the politician who pushed the law says those profits were being taken out of the pockets of the poorest residents.


Prosecutor in “El Chapo” case not surprised by prison escape

Former federal prosecutor Andrew Porter Porter says he doesn’t think Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape immediately means more drugs on the streets of Chicago,


Police refuse to give job status on cop in punch video

Chicago police are refusing to say whether an officer is still patrolling the streets after being caught on camera seemingly using unnecessary force.

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