Dan Protess | Biography

Dan Protess

Dan Protess is the Producer and Director of Firsthand: Gun Violence. He most recently wrote and produced a half hour documentary about mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot, in addition to the second season of his award-winning series Urban Nature, which explores how nature is thriving in American cities.

Dan served as the Executive Producer, Producer, and Writer of the WTTW-produced PBS  primetime history series 10 that Changed America. Its final season was seen by more than ten million viewers on television, online, and at events across the country.

Dan’s previous productions include the culinary series FOODPHILES, as well as the Chicago history specials Chicago Time Machine, Chicago’s Loop: A New Walking Tour, Biking the Boulevards and Chicago’s Lakefront. He also wrote and produced the Emmy-winning, James Beard-nominated The Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History.

Dan previously produced candidate forums and feature stories for the nightly newsmagazine program Chicago Tonight, for which he covered the Senate campaign of Barack Obama. As a regular contributor to the Chicago Matters series he wrote, produced, and edited a series of long-form reports on economics, education, and criminal justice. His demystifying coverage of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange earned him his first of two prestigious Peter Lisagor Awards.

Dan began his career at WTTW in 1999 as an associate producer of arts and architecture programming, and soon after served as the associate producer and writer of A Justice That Heals, a documentary about a teenage murderer and his young victim that was shown on ABC’s Nightline. Dan went on to produce and write numerous documentaries for Chicago Stories, an historical series, including Jewish Chicago, Chicago’s First Mexican Church, Chicago’s 1919 Race Riots, and numerous profiles of local luminaries such as Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, arts maven Lois Weisberg, and the priest and romance novelist Andrew Greeley.

He began his career at public television station WHA-TV in Madison, Wisconsin.