Robert Loerzel is a freelance journalist and photographer in Chicago. His historical nonfiction book Alchemy of Bones: Chicago’s Luetgert Murder Case of 1897 was published in 2003 by the University of Illinois Press. In 2020, his book Walking Chicago (Second Edition) was published by Wilderness Press.
His reporting and writing have appeared in many publications, including (click on these links for examples of his writing) the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Reader, Chicago magazine, Crain’s Chicago Business, Playbill, the Chicago Sun-Times, Newcity, Listen, Midwest Living, Make It Better magazine, Chicago Lawyer, the Daily Southtown, Illinois Issues, Belt magazine, and The Huffington Post, as well as the now-defunct Signal to Noise, Punk Planet, Wondering Sound, and North Shore magazine.
He also reported on-air for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, including stories for Curious City and the now-defunct 848 morning show.
In 2022, he co-wrote The Union Stockyards, an hourlong documentary that aired on the Chicago PBS station WTTW as part of its Chicago Stories series. The episode won a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for best historical documentary. Loerzel and producer Dan Andries were also nominated for best writing.
Loerzel’s Twitter account, @robertloerzel, has more than 26,000 followers. In 2016, he won the Chicago Reader’s poll for “Best Chicagoan to Follow on Twitter,” after finishing second in 2013 and 2015. In 2013, the Newcity alternative newspaper named him the “Best Chicago Twitterer for news.” In 2014, the Thrillest website listed @robertloerzel as one of “The 50 Chicago Twitter Feeds That Matter.”
Loerzel also has worked as a contributing copy editor for Chicago magazine since 2018 and as a freelance copy editor for the Chicago Tribune since 2010. From 2010 to 2016, he wrote the weekly “New in Chicago” column for the Crain’s Chicago Business website.
Before becoming a freelancer in 2006, Loerzel worked as reporter, news editor, and arts editor for Pioneer Press, a chain of weekly newspapers in Chicago’s suburbs. Loerzel has won more than 30 awards from press associations for his work, including three Peter Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club.
Loerzel’s concert photography and reviews appear on his blog, undergroundbee.com, and his photos have also been published in Rolling Stone magazine, the Chicago Reader, The A.V. Club, and other media.
As a music critic, Loerzel voted annually in the Village Voice‘s Pazz & Jop poll.
Loerzel served as the president of the Society of Midland Authors from 2009 to 2013. He won the group’s distinguished service award in 2015.
Loerzel was born in Anchorage, Alaska, where he lived until he was 9; later in his childhood, he lived in Onarga, a small town in central Illinois. He received a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and he has lived in the Chicago area since graduating in 1988.
He is writing another book. (Or two or three.)