Rob Reid
local reporter, data journalist, community historian
about me

recently published

Highlights of freelance articles published since September 2023.

911 call-taker at the desk, head in hands

911 Call-Takers Are Demoralized, Overwhelmed and Dealing With Their Own Mental Health Woes

This investigation, exploring an upstream link in cities' responses to mental health calls, was developed in partnership with Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and published at three outlets.

a bicycle locked to an iron fence alongside the beach

How can we better link the Far Southeast Side's disconnected network of public parks?

This analysis of bike transit challenges in Chicago's Southeast side includes a dynamic scrollama map at the end.

Gina Jamison, standing on a red wooden stage in a community garden, talks to a group of visitors

Garfield Park's community gardeners turn vacant lots into Edens

This reporting demonstrates how a few urban gardeners training others has helped bring fresh produce to a food desert.

data journalism

Following is a collection of self-published data journalism stories, mostly developed as a student at Northwestern and Columbia University (2022-2023). For technical details on my data wrangling in support of these and other stories, see my GitHub repository.

a bicycle locked to an iron fence alongside the beach

The Far Southeast Side's Disconnected Network of Public Parks

Scrolling map version of my Streetsblog story, based roughly on MapBox's storytelling template to show the geography of bike transit challenges.

CTA Ridership, pre and post COVID

Who's Still Riding the CTA?

Analysis of changes in train ridership patterns between 2019 and 2022, including an interactive Chicago community map.

album cover of Synchronicity by The Police

Still Shouting above the Din of Their Rice Krispies

Mix of basic data visualizations (bar chart, heat map) and data visualization experiments (planet chart, flamegraph).

Adjacent to the proposed new high school, Wells is at 26% enrollment, Phillips is at 35% enrollment, and Tilden is at 11% enrollment.

A Proposed New High School Amidst Three Underutilized Schools

Analysis of public school enrollment data mapped on school attendance boundaries.

community stories

Following are a few stories from my self-published community blog, The Humboldt Park Moon (2021-2022).

colorful storefront with Casa Hernandez Community Space painted above the entrance

From Survival to Solidarity: People Helping People in Humboldt Park

A local bilingual mutual aid group provides support to those who need it.

North Avenue at sunset, with a large old bank building in the background and a small modern bank in the foreground

A Community Anchor in a Story Sea?

A video documentary of the city's failure to protect a landmarked classic bank building from flooding, pillaging, and its second life as a local urban spelunking mecca.


This 2012 co-authored neighborhood history book is the product of extensive community interviewing and archival research via Sanborn fire insurance maps, news archives, and building permits.