top of page






Witt was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his groundbreaking coverage of civil rights issues.


As a foreign correspondent, Witt reported from more than 70 countries over nine years.


As a reporter, Witt mastered the art of long-form series; as an editor, he guided others to do the same. 


"There currently are about 59 Americans whose parents decided to call us 'Howard Witt.'"

Civil Rights


Shaquanda Cotton
The story that freed a 14-year-old girl from youth prison. 

The Jena 6
The groundbreaking account of a racially twisted case that led to the largest civil rights demonstration in a generation. 

Billy Ray Johnson
An expose of racial injustice that led to a $9 million jury verdict. 

Paris, Texas

Racial tensions plague a Texas town.

School discipline disparities
The first national assessment of stark inequality in public schools. 

Highway robbery in Tenaha, Texas
You can drive into this town if you're African-American, but you might not be able to drive out of it—at least not with your car, cash or valuables. 

The Aaron Hart case
A mentally-retarded Texas teen with an IQ of 47 is sentenced to 100 years in prison for sex assault. 

Does crackdown cross line?
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's crackdown on illegal immigrants stirs racial profiling claims.

In minority neighborhood, cancer risk soars
Hispanic kids suffer worst leukemia rates in the shadow of the Houston Ship Channel. 

On May 21, my blogging colleagues and I posted a Chicago Tribune story written by Howard Witt regarding the plight of six young men in a place called Jena, Louisiana. How could any of us have known what this article, these posts would spur in terms of a 'new civil rights movement'? Nearly four months to the day, tens of thousands of Americans marched on the premise that every citizen deserves equal justice."

-- Shawn Williams, Dallas South blog


Foreign Reporting

Witt was a foreign correspondent from 1987-1994, based in Canada, South Africa and Russia. He stood outside the gates as Nelson Mandela walked free from prison; he chipped chunks of concrete from the Berlin Wall when it fell; he followed Charles Taylor on his murderous march through the jungles of Liberia; and he chronicled two bloody coups in Moscow as the Soviet Union broke apart.

From 2001-2003, he was the chief diplomatic correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, based in Washington, D.C. He has reported from more than 70 countries around the world.

Cheap oil, but at what cost?

The environmental toll of Canada's oil sands could be extreme

If these trees fall in the forest, a disaster may ensue

Canada’s vast forests, once huge absorbers of greenhouse gases, now add to the problem


The day Nelson Mandela called my name
I will never forget the day Nelson Mandela called my name. Mandela nodded at me and said simply, "Yes, Howard?"

U.S. in nation-building, like it or not
The concept so loathed by the Bush administration was precisely what the United States needed to do in Afghanistan after toppling the Taliban.

Terror war has U.S. in dubious alliances
After 9/11, terrorism became the new communism. And the U.S. went courting a fresh crop of unseemly allies.

A dangerous policy
The trouble with pre-emption is that others can beat you to it.

Hussein a no-show at his birthday bash
You know it's a special day in Iraq when the anti-aircraft guns are draped with colorful streamers.

The house at 10 Stuhmer Allee

A door in Berlin opens onto a dark chapter of a family's past

The Nazis murdered my ancestors. So why do I want to become a German citizen?

On my decision to seek German naturalization

Stars and Stripes has often been the military's version of a corporate newsletter, a house organ designed to accentuate the positive and boost morale. No more, apparently. Enter new senior managing editor Howard Witt, a former civil rights reporter and foreign correspondent for the Tribune Company."

-- WGBH, Beat the Press 



Reviving Antoine's
A New Orleans culinary icon struggles to come back after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. 

Oklahoma City: 10 Years Later
The lessons from the Oklahoma City bombing are stark: America treats casualties of terrorism unequally. The heroes of a disaster often go on to become its victims. And the wounds do not ever fully heal.

Race in America
For the first time in U.S. history, a black man has won the highest office in the land. Yet racial tensions and misunderstandings remain the abiding subtexts of many of our national conversations.

22-year-old thrives in world of spam
An investigation unmasks one of America's worst spammers--and leads to a $1 million fine.

[Conceived & Edited]

Waiting to Exhale
A Journal & Courier chronicle of one drunken weekend at Purdue University and the culture of inevitability that enables it.

The Great Chicago Myth
A Journal & Courier investigation that pierced a toxic racial myth and challenged some of the community's most fiercely-held prejudices.

My wife was killed in the OKC Bombing 10 years ago. I just read your story twice & was very impressed. My feelings are that we got the shaft, as Congress handed out millions to the Sept. 11th victims. While I grieve with them hand in hand, it doesn't seem fair. I was a factory worker, working at a meat processing plant at the time of my wife's death. We have a son together, he was 5 at the time. But I had to go back to work & I am still a paycheck to paycheck factory worker. I would like to go back to counseling, but have been told the fund is no more. Thank you for the story & for showing the world the truth."

-- Email from the husband of an Oklahoma City bombing victim



What's in a name?
This is a story about me. Well, not about me exactly. It's more about a bunch of people who go around claiming to be me. This is a story, in other words, about the handful of men across the country who share the name Howard Witt.

The cold, hard facts on cryonics
Achieving immortality, it turns out, is not going to be easy. But that's no discouragement to the true believers in cryonics, the study of freezing freshly deceased bodies so that they might one day be revived and treated for whatever caused them to perish.

Flying Afghan Airlines
The last passenger loaded on board Ariana Afghan Airlines Flight 956 was stretched out in a coffin. This was a fortunate thing for the dead man or woman.

Lenin's preservers in a real pickle
Times are not so good in the dictator-preservation business. What with democracy rearing its inconvenient head in many formerly communist countries, a lot of the old clients of Moscow's Research Institute on Biological Structures -- the folks who keep Vladimir Lenin looking perpetually calm -- are, well, going under. And new commissions are not exactly flooding in.

bottom of page