Steve Mills

Deputy Midwest Editor

Photo of Steve Mills

Steve Mills is the deputy Midwest editor of ProPublica. He came to ProPublica from the Chicago Tribune, where for 23 years he was an investigative reporter and editor. At the Tribune, his reporting 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 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. His 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, he worked at the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle and the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal.

A Rare Statue of Buddha Fails to Sell at Auction as Questions Swirl Around a Renowned Art Collection

What happened may be a sign that objects from the collection of James and Marilynn Alsdorf will have trouble finding buyers following questions about how they were acquired. The piece from Nepal was once displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Questions Shadow These Items From a Renowned Art Collection

Chicago art mavens James and Marilynn Alsdorf amassed their collection during an era where standards were looser than they are today. Now, the origins of more than a dozen objects they acquired face scrutiny.

Nepal Wants a Sacred Necklace Returned. But a Major Museum Still Keeps It on Display.

Questions about the origins and ownership of some Asian artifacts in a key collection at the Art Institute of Chicago have cast doubt on the museum’s commitment to keeping its galleries free of stolen antiquities.

Daniel Taylor Was Innocent. He Spent Decades in Prison Trying to Fix the State’s Mistake.

He was in police custody at the time of the murders, but a dubious confession led to his wrongful conviction while Chicago police and prosecutors turned a blind eye to inconvenient facts that eventually exonerated him.

How Much Money Has Your Doctor Received From Drug Companies?

Use ProPublica’s Dollars for Docs database to find out. I did.

We Stick With Our Stories Until We See Results

Think we’re done reporting on ticket debt, research violations at the University of Illinois at Chicago or issues at Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital? Think again.

Why Do Journalists Describe What Story Subjects Look Like?

Do those descriptions help readers? Or do they reveal our biases?

Cook County Judge Loosens Unusual Restrictions on Publishing Details of Child Welfare Case

Calling her previous order “overbroad,” the presiding judge of the child protection division says ProPublica Illinois is free to report on the case but can’t disclose the identities of the children.

Cook County Judge Keeps Limit on Publication in Place in Child Welfare Case

The presiding judge of the child protection division of juvenile court says she will rule soon on ProPublica Illinois’ request to lift ban.

Cook County Judge Blocks ProPublica Illinois From Publishing Details of Child Welfare Case

In moving to shield minors, the judge weighs a challenge to the First Amendment right to publish.

Say What? How Reporters Gather and Use Quotations

Journalists work hard to get the truth and capture comments that are compelling and colorful.

Get Out of Jail for a Price: The First Investigation From Our Illinois Reporting Project

Over the next few months, we’ll publish more stories from across the state — including ones that look at topics involving the environment and worker safety.

How Do We Prevent Typos and Other Errors From Appearing in Our Stories?

We don’t always, but we sure try. A lot of eyes on a story helps.

Defining the Delicate and Often Difficult Relationship Between Reporters and Sources

Journalists stay in touch with the people who give them information and might even meet them for lunch or a drink. But there are boundaries.

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