Jon Hilkevitch is an award-winning journalist who served in numerous editing and reporting positions during his nearly 37-year career at the Chicago Tribune
. He left the Tribune
in late 2015 after 18 years as the paper’s transportation reporter and Getting Around
columnist. In that job, he was responsible for covering all modes of transportation, both locally and nationally, although his primary focus was transportation news affecting the Chicago metropolitan region.
In 2001, a team of Tribune reporters co-led by Hilkevitch was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for their series “Gateway to Gridlock,” which chronicled the capacity crisis confronting the airline industry and the nation’s commercial airports at the end of the 20th Century.
Hilkevitch joined the Tribune, starting out as a copy editor at the Suburban Trib, in 1979 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received a bachelor of arts degree with a major in journalism.
During his career, Hilkevitch worked as a rewrite reporter, copy editor and source editor on the Tribune’s Foreign and National Desks; writer of the daily Newsmaker' column, which featured off-beat events involving ordinary people as well as celebrities; chief of the newspaper’s Northwest news bureau based in Schaumburg; and North Shore reporter.
Along the way, stories that Hilkevitch covered ranged from women in combat from aboard the Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy during the first Gulf War; to the crash of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s small plane off the coast of Martha's Vineyard; to an alleged sighting of a UFO by multiple aviation professionals at O’Hare International Airport and the subsequent attempt by United Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration to cover up the incident.
Hilkevitch's persistence on the transportation beat led to government bodies releasing closely held records and subsequently changing some public policies. He was the first reporter to provide details about hidden fees and other charges associated with the Chicago Transit’s Authority’s Ventra fare card, and he also chronicled flaws during the rollout of Chicago's new privatized parking-payment system that had resulted in many drivers incorrectly receiving tickets.