U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Univision reporter, photographer robbed at gunpoint in Chicago

Incident Details

File/REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Motorists and pedestrians navigate the Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, in this 2020 file photo. A Univision news crew was robbed at gunpoint on Aug. 28, 2023, while preparing for a live shoot in the area.

— File/REUTERS/Joshua Lott
August 28, 2023

A Univision news crew was robbed at gunpoint in Chicago, Illinois, on Aug. 28, 2023, while reporting on a spike in armed robbery in the city’s North Side. A broadcast camera and the journalists’ personal belongings were taken but the station said they were uninjured, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The reporter and photographer were preparing to do a live shot in the neighborhood of Wicker Park shortly before 5 a.m. when two vehicles approached them, the Tribune reported. The Chicago Police Department told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that three individuals donning ski masks and displaying firearms robbed them. The police said that the incident is under investigation and no arrests have been made.

Univision Chicago Vice President of News Luis Felipe Godinez told the Tribune that the journalists were uninjured, though equipment was taken.

“Mainly it was personal items, and they took a camera,” Godinez said, adding that the station is not identifying the journalists in order to protect their privacy.

When contacted by Block Club Chicago, the reporter — who asked to remain anonymous — confirmed that the camera was the only item of value stolen and called the robbery “total irony.”

“As a journalist, you never want to be the story, right? You’re reporting on the story but you never think that you can become the story,” he said. “So I guess it’s another reminder of how important it is to keep doing these stories and to keep pressure on our local authorities to try to prevent more events like that.”

The incident was the second robbery of journalists in Chicago in less than a month — a WLS-TV photographer was assaulted and robbed while preparing to cover a news conference on Aug. 8, the station reported.

Raza Siddiqui, president of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Local 41, which represents TV photographers in Chicago, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the union is arranging a safety meeting for members to voice concerns about the dangers they are increasingly facing.

“We want to make sure that we provide a longer-lasting solution, that we work not only with management but our members, and make sure that we read some protocols that everyone is happy with and feels can be a workable solution,” Siddiqui said.

Some Chicago news stations have begun to implement additional security measures in the meantime, Siddiqui added, including hiring security for some TV crews.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].