Robert Koehler Bio

Robert Koehler

Robert Koehler is a nationally recognized award-winning journalist, fiction writer and poet whose essays and columns have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines and on public radio and the Internet.

Koehler's column is intensely political without being trapped in partisan politics. It is about values and meaning, back-lit with reverence for life, exploring emotional territory journalism often avoids but readers hunger to read about. Response to the column is often powerful. One reader described it as "blatantly relevant."

Robert Koehler has won numerous writing and journalism awards over a 30-year career, at the national, state and local levels. He is currently a regular contributor to such high-profile Web sites as the Huffington Post, Common Dreams, OpEd News and TruthOut; and is a sought-after speaker on such topics as election fraud and the nature of peace. Eschewing political labels, he considers himself a "peace journalist."

Koehler has been an editor at Tribune Media Services since 1995 and a syndicated columnist since 1999. For many years before that he was a reporter, columnist and copy desk chief at Lerner Newspapers, a chain of neighborhood and suburban newspapers in the Chicago area.

Robert Koehler has earned a master's degree in creative writing from Columbia College and taught writing at both the college and high school levels. Most satisfyingly, he developed innovative approaches to teaching writing to young people at several high schools on Chicago's West Side under the auspices of the Chicago Teachers Center.

Born in Detroit and raised in suburban Dearborn, Koehler has been slowly making his way west. After 10 years in Kalamazoo, Mich., where he attended Western Michigan University, he moved to Chicago in 1976 where he still lives.

Koehler is a widower and single parent. He explores both conditions at great depth in his writing.

Robert Koehler Samples

Healing the criminal justice system

"It'd be really hard to have a higher recidivism rate than we have in Cook County." Maybe this is the place to start a brief meditation on changing the world, or at least Chicago . . . known to some of its residents as "Chiraq."

War in two directions

"Sometimes they have drug and alcohol problems and when they feel that the VA is ignoring them, not answering the phone, failing to return calls for assistance or there are long wait times, they get more and more disgruntled.

Partners in terror

"Je suis Charlie. Muhammad in tears adorns the new cover of Charlie Hebdo: "I am Charlie. I take a deep breath, uncertain how to write about last week's insane shooting spree in Paris.

Turning our backs on a violent world won't change anything

Oh, the moral force of a snub. Several hundred cops turn their backs on New York's mayor as he eulogizes one of their own, killed in the line of duty, and the media have another us-vs.-them story to report.

Restorative justice and the rebirth of Chicago

The vision is a city interlaced with restorative justice hubs -- community centers that bring hope and promise to troubled kids in a town where too many of them are dying. It builds slowly, from the bottom up.

Refusing to wage war

And so we grieve over another national tragedy. Two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot -- assassinated -- as they sat in their patrol car this past weekend. "Now is a moment for empathy and deep listening."

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