John Carpenter is a veteran, award-winning journalist with experience covering a wide range of topics, currently a Forbes Contributor, writing about innovation. Most recently a reporter for the Chicago Tribune’s Blue Sky Innovation section, he covered startups and technology for more than two years. Before that he launched the Homicide Watch site for the Chicago Sun-Times. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, HOUR Detroit Magazine, Illinois Issues Magazine, among other publications. While at the Tribune, he was a weekly guest on WGN Radio’s Business Lunch program, where he talked about the latest news on Chicago’s startup scene. This site is a repository for his work. He can be reached at john@johncarpenterwriting.com.

Professional experience:

Forbes.com (December, 2015 – Present) Contributor

Write a regular “Reinventing America” blog on business innovation in the Midwest.

Chicago Tribune (October, 2013 – December, 2015) Reporter Specialist

Covered startups and innovation for the Blue Sky Innovation section, producing several stories per week, while actively promoting Blue Sky work in social media channels, finding and executing opportunities for video content, and participating in public events to promote the Tribune and Blue Sky brands. Was a regular contributor to WGN-Radio’s Business Lunch program, featuring a brief wrap-up of Blue Sky content on Fridays.

Homicide Watch Chicago, Chicago Sun-Times (2013) Editor

Launched this award-winning digital initiative, which tracks and documents every homicide in the city of Chicago. Responsibilities included producing and assigning victim profiles, compiling content from other sources, producing compelling video content, supervising student interns, and communicating the goals and accomplishments of the website.

Carpenter Writing and Research (2000-2012) Principal, Freelance writer.

Publications included the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Hour Detroit Magazine, Gazette Von Detroit, and Illinois Issues Magazine.

The Chicago Sun-Times (1995-2000) Staff writer.

Assignments included crime, courts, politics and suburban news, as well as several important investigative projects. Travelled extensively on major national and international stories, including the 1998 peace referenda in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The Daily Herald, Arlington Heights, IL (1987-1995) Staff writer.

Transcript Newspapers, Dedham, MA (1984-1987) Staff writer.

The Cape Codder, Orleans, MA (1984) Staff Writer


2013 Peter Lisagor Award (Chicago Headline Club) First Place, Online: Best Continuing Blog, for Homicide Watch (Note: This award was issued after I left the Sun-Times and joined the Tribune. It covers a period when I was editor of Homicide Watch, as well as after I left.)

2000 Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline Reporting by a Team (American Society of Newspaper Editors), for Sun-Times team coverage of the wreck of Amtrak’s City of New Orleans train.

2000 Peter Lisagor Award (Chicago Headline Club) First Place, Magazine Columns or Commentary, for a political analysis in Illinois Issues Magazine.

1997 Illinois Associated Press Editors Association, First Place, Features (with Neil Steinberg) for profile of spree killer Andrew Cunanan.

1992 Peter Lisagor Award (Chicago Headline Club) First Place, Features, for a story on the search for a Chicago sportswriter who disappeared while hiking on a mountain in Colorado.

1992 Peter Lisagor Award (Chicago Headline Club) First Place, Business Journalism (with Jackie Dulen) for a story on the impact of a corporate decision to close a local headquarters.

1985 New England Press Association, First Place, News, for a series of stories on the struggle to revive downtown Dedham, Massachusetts.


 Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA (2009) M.F.A., Creative Writing, with a concentration in fiction. Program included two residencies at St. Patrick’s College, Carlow, Ireland. Completed “Miles From Nowhere,” an 87,000-word novel, as a requirement for the degree. I am currently looking for a publisher.

Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA (1984) B.A. Speech Communications. Served as Editor-in-Chief of The Heights, Boston College’s independent student newspaper.

 Fairfield College Preparatory School, Fairfield, CT (1980)


I am married, and the father of teenagers. I am a passionate music fan, unabashed baseball geek, avid sailor, student of all things Irish, reader and occasional writer of crime fiction, an ironically mediocre but enthusiastic carpenter, and a champion feather bowler.





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