Ellen Warren, 2018
Chicago Tribune features columnist Ellen Warren has been a local, national political, congressional, U.S. Supreme Court, foreign and war correspondent. She’s also been a Tribune metro and magazine columnist and, early in her career, was the first woman legman for Chicago columnist Mike Royko.
Warren has covered politics at every level from Chicago City Hall to the White House, as well as war in the Middle East, six presidential campaigns, the Super Bowl and opening day at Wrigley Field. She is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame (the youngest inductee) who started her career as a police reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago, the famed boot camp for reporters known for its slogan, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
Actor Jimmy Stewart once picked her up off the floor. And she is believed to be the only reporter former President George W. Bush ever (at least publicly)told, “F— you!”
Warren has a B.A. with honors in English literature from Penn State and was awarded the University’s alumni fellow designation, the highest liberal arts college honor. She also holds a diploma from the Sorbonne, University of Paris and an honorary doctorate from Barat College. She has never taken a journalism course although she has taught them at Northwestern University and Loyola (Chicago) University.
A reporter for three Chicago newspapers (Chicago Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune), her stories have been collected in newspaper anthologies and she has been a guest lecturer in journalism at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation writers’ conference, Princeton University, the University of Chicago, New York University graduate school of journalism and others.
She has appeared in a regular segment on WGN-TV and reported broadcast and cable TV packages for Tribune stations during presidential primaries. In 2004, she created and wrote the Tribune’s first political blog.
She has recently completed three half-marathons in Florida and Michigan. She’s won Blue Ribbon First Place awards in Needlepoint at state fairs in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin and she captained the First Place Cow-Milking Team at the Illinois State Fair.
Warren’s late husband, Wade Nelson, was a communications director and grant maker for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and chief speechwriter for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. She has two grown sons, Ted Nelson, spokesman for the Cook County Department of Budget and Finance, and Emmett Nelson, founder and director of a Pittsburgh medical marijuana information and outreach center, and an infant grandson, Wade.