Criminal and Legal Affairs Reporter, WBEZ (Chicago)
American criminal justice and science Judge
Robert Wildeboer is the criminal and legal affairs reporter for WBEZ, the public radio station in Chicago. He is responsible for covering federal and state courts as well as law enforcement agencies and issues of crime. In addition, he is also on the special projects and investigations desk at WBEZ. Much of his work in the last couple of years has focused on prisons, expensive institutions that are subject to little public oversight. Wildeboer 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 reasons. 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. Wildeboer's efforts were featured in several publications, including a cover story on prison reporting and access in the Columbia Journalism Review. His dogged reporting has shed light on numerous issues of injustice in Chicago and Illinois calling the public officials to account and often resulting in changes that serve the public. His reporting has been recognized with dozens of awards. He teaches in the graduate journalism department at Columbia College, Chicago.