ProPublica Illinois today announced that Steve Mills has been named deputy editor of the Chicago-based investigative newsroom.
Mills comes to ProPublica Illinois from the Chicago Tribune, where he has worked for the past 23 years as an investigative reporter and editor. His reporting has largely focused on exposing flaws in the criminal justice system, from inequities in the death penalty to false confessions and crime laboratory failures. This work has contributed to several sweeping reforms, including Illinois Gov. George H. Ryan’s decision in 2000 to declare a moratorium on executions, and helped free numerous innocent people from prison. Mills has also been an editor, working with reporters on investigative and enterprise stories.
In 2004, Mills and colleague Maurice Possley investigated the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for the arson murders of his three young daughters. Their investigation showed that Willingham was convicted and executed based on forensic theories that had been disproved years earlier through scientific advances — the first execution case in the U.S. where scientific evidence pointed to a man’s innocence. Mills’ 2006 co-written series on the wrongful conviction and execution of Carlos De Luna became the subject of a 2008 documentary, “At the Death House Door.”
Before joining the Tribune, Mills worked at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and the Winston-Salem Journal. A three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, his work has also been honored by two American Bar Association Silver Gavel Awards, the George Polk Award, Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award, Worth Bingham Prize and Studs Terkel Award.
“Steve is a master of investigative journalism,” said Louise Kiernan, editor-in-chief of ProPublica Illinois. “His addition to our team will help carry out our mission of producing accountability journalism that spurs real-life impact.”
“I’m thrilled to be joining ProPublica Illinois,” Mills said. “Its ambitions and urgency are exciting. I hope to continue doing the kind of work there that gives a voice to the voiceless and exposes, and corrects, the deepest problems in our society.”