The Investigative Project on Race and Equity Board President Laura Washington and Executive Director Angela Caputo.

CHICAGO — An investigative reporting project launched this week, focusing on exposing systemic racism and training journalists in data-driven reporting.

The Investigative Project on Race and Equity debuted Wednesday with its first investigation. The organization aims to partner with newsrooms to launch in-depth investigative work and help train early-career journalists, particularly non-white reporters, in investigative reporting on issues related to race and equity.

Laura Washington, Block Club Chicago’s board president and Chicago Tribune contributing columnist, is a founding board member of the Investigative Project. Angela Caputo, formerly of the Tribune, Chicago Reporter and American Public Media, serves as executive director.

Several longtime and former Chicago journalists also are advisory council members, including:

  • Susy Schultz, freelance editor for the Sun-Times
  • Thom Clark, co-founder of the Community Media Workshop (now Public Narrative)
  • Kathleen Humphries, formerly of the Chicago Reporter
  • Alden K. Loury, Data Projects Editor at WBEZ Chicago
  • Josh McGhee, formerly of Injustice Watch, the Reporter, WVON and DNAInfo
  • Sharon McGowan, former editor at WBBM-AM and WBBM-TV
  • John Schrag, former managing editor and reporter at the Reporter
  • Christine Wachter, formerly of the Reporter and Catalyst Chicago
  • James Ylisela Jr., a former investigative reporter at the Sun-Times, Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Crain’s Chicago Business and the Reporter.
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Its first investigation is a collaboration with WBEZ Chicago exploring how police officers in cities throughout Illinois routinely undercount traffic stops despite a 20-year-old law that requires police departments to report that information to the state.

The investigation also concluded that police across Illinois are increasingly stopping Black drivers. In Chicago, Black drivers are being stopped more than four times as often as white drivers.

“This investigation is the kind of data-driven reporting, vivid storytelling and journalistic partnership that the Investigative Project will be known for,” Washington said in a statement. “The Investigative Project exposes the corrosive practices that separate us, practices that policymakers and the public must confront. We are excited to work with WBEZ to bring our first project to light.”

The first story in the three-part series debuts on WBEZ Chicago Wednesday.


Chicago Police Are Arresting Thousands More Black Drivers After Traffic Stops Than They Report (Block Club Chicago and Injustice Watch)

The New Stop And Frisk? Chicago Police Make Millions Of Traffic Stops While Searching For Guns (Block Club Chicago and Injustice Watch)

Cops Rarely Pull Over Drivers In Their Own Neighborhoods, Data Shows. Motorists In Black Neighborhoods Aren’t So Lucky (Block Club Chicago)

5 Black, Latino Drivers Sue Chicago Police After Cops Stop Them More Than 50 Times In 6 Years (Block Club Chicago)

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