12 Men Have Convictions Tossed in Latest Mass Exoneration Tied to Ex-Chicago Sergeant

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks with reporters following a hearing inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (Matt Masterson / WTTW News)

Nearly 100 felony drug convictions tied to disgraced former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts have been tossed out since 2017. 

New Name for Disease Caused by Virus Outbreak: COVID-19

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The disease caused by a new virus that emerged late last year in China and has since sickened tens of thousands of people now has an official name: COVID-19.

Chicago Opera Theater’s World Premiere of ‘Freedom Ride’ a Triumph of Art and History

Robert Sims and Tyrone Chambers, II in Chicago Opera Theater’s “Freedom Ride.” (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

In its airtight, fervent, emotionally riveting 90 minutes, “Freedom Ride” vividly captures a pivotal moment in American history and the civil rights movement of the early 1960s in the most sophisticated yet accessible way. 

Inside the ‘Bug’ Infestation at Steppenwolf Theatre

Carrie Coon and Tracy Letts talk “Bug” with WTTW News.

The revival of Tracy Letts’ 1996 play “Bug” stars his wife, Steppenwolf ensemble member Carrie Coon. We spoke to the creative team right before opening night.

Sen. Durbin on Trump: ‘This Isn’t Going to End’

Sen. Dick Durbin speaks at a press conference Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (WTTW News)

When he cast his vote finding President Donald Trump guilty on two articles of impeachment, Sen. Dick Durbin called it a “sad and angry moment.” Now that the trial is over, Durbin fears Trump won’t change his behavior.

Tribune Buyouts: Mixed Emotions for Longtime Journalists Leaving Company

Matt O’Connor, left, and Greg Kot appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (WTTW News)

Two veteran journalists who agreed to leave the Chicago Tribune after a recent round of buyouts talk about their hopes for the company’s future.

Primary Politics: Should Illinois Come First in 2024?

(Kay Schlumpf / Flickr)

On the heels of the Iowa caucuses debacle, Illinois leaders are trying to rally support for the state to hold the first presidential primary in 2024. But is that a good idea?

New Bill Could Give Illinois Students Time Off to Address Mental Health Issues

(Don Harder / Flickr)

State Sen. Rob Martwick says the bill would grant students up to five excused absences from class to let them “take care of their mental health, just like they would be with a broken bone or the flu.”

Field Museum Exhibit Honors First African American Taxidermist

Carl Cotton (Courtesy of the Field Museum)

Taxidermy – the process of preserving animals – isn’t usually classified as fine art. But the Field Museum is challenging that idea by shining a light on the artist behind many of the museum’s own examples. 

WTTW, WFMT Trustee Marvin Goldsmith Dies at 84

Marvin Goldsmith and Adele Goldsmith. (WTTW News)

Marvin Goldsmith, who served for decades on the board of WWCI, the parent organization of WTTW and WFMT, died Thursday. He was 84 years old.

NASA Sending Spacecraft on a Polarizing Mission to the Sun

An artist’s impression of Solar Orbiter. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

It may not seem like it lately, but the sun does indeed still exist. And NASA is sending a spacecraft to our friendly neighborhood star to get some answers.

Crain’s Headlines: Traffic at Midway Drops to 20-Year Lows

Midway Airport (WTTW News)

Traffic at Midway Airport dropped last year to its lowest level in two decades—and the decline is likely to continue as long as the Boeing 737 Max is grounded.

Long-Awaited CTA Red Line Extension Moves Forward With New $38M Contract

The CTA’s South Terminal at 95th/Dan Ryan on the Red Line opened in April 2018. A plan to extend the Red Line would connect the terminal to 130th Street. (Chicago Transit Authority / Flickr)

The CTA’s proposal for a 5-mile extension of the Red Line south to 130th Street is one step closer to reality. 

Chicago Police Union President Faces 4 Challengers in March Election

Kevin Graham appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 7, 2019. (WTTW News)

Officers in Chicago’s largest police union will have a choice in their leadership next month as the organization enters its third straight year without a contract, a department overhaul and an impending decision on a new superintendent.

North Channel Restoration Project Will Benefit Wildlife, But Some Neighbors Don’t Like Their New View

The east bank of the North Shore Channel has been stripped of foliage in Legion Park as part of a habitat restoration project. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The east bank of the North Shore Channel has been stripped of foliage between Foster and Bryn Mawr avenues, to be replaced with native species. Neighbors say the project has laid bare “eyesores” on the opposite bank.

Joe Walsh: ‘I Would Support Any Democrat’ Over Trump

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 10, 2020. (WTTW News)

Declaring President Donald Trump unbeatable in a Republican Party that has become a “cult,” former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh says he will do everything he can to help a Democrat – any Democrat – defeat Trump in November.

Police: 9 Homicides in Chicago’s Deadliest Weekend of Year

(WTTW News)

Chicago recorded nine homicides between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, a weekend police said was the deadliest of the year for a city that had seen a recent decline in the number of fatal shootings.

Chicago’s Matthew Cherry Wins Oscar for ‘Hair Love’

Matthew A. Cherry, from second left, Deandre Arnold, his mother Sandy Arnold, second right, and the cast and the crew of “Hair Love” arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

The Loyola Academy graduate and former NFL wide receiver picked up an Academy Award on Sunday for best animated short film.

China Virus Cases Rise Again, 65 More on Ship in Japan

A woman puts on a mask near a notice board that reads “Bans on wild animals trading following the coronavirus outbreak” at a cafe in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)

China reported a rise in new virus cases Monday, denting optimism that disease control measures including isolating major cities might be working, while the operator of a cruise ship in Japan reported dozens of new cases.

Making Oscar History, ‘Parasite’ Wins Best Picture

Bong Joon Ho, right, reacts as he is presented with the award for best picture for “Parasite” from presenter Jane Fonda at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Looking on from left are Kang-Ho Song and Kwak Sin Ae. (AP Photo / Chris Pizzello)

In a milestone win that instantly expanded the Oscars’ horizons, Bong Joon Ho’s class satire “Parasite” became the first non-English language film to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards. 

China’s Virus Death Toll Surpasses SARS But New Cases Fall

A traffic policeman adjusts his mask on a street in Beijing, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)

China’s virus death toll rose by 89 on Sunday to 811, passing the number of fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, but fewer new cases were reported in a possible sign its spread may be slowing.

The Week in Review: Chaotic Week for Chicago Public Schools


Turmoil at Lincoln Park High School. Bribery scandals take down multiple politicians – will they also quash red light cameras? And President Donald Trump takes a victory lap.

Federal Funds to Protect Great Lakes Have Been Withheld for 2 Years; ‘Unacceptable,’ Says Durbin

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 30, 2019.

Sen. Dick Durbin and Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a joint news conference Friday to call for federal funding to manage and protect the region’s vulnerable shoreline.

Lightfoot Declares Lakefront a ‘Local Disaster,’ State, Federal Action — and Dollars — Could Follow

Boulders have replaced beaches along the lakefront, as part of the city’s efforts to mitigate shoreline damage. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker to issue a state proclamation that would free up additional funds and resources for recovery from January’s severe storms.

Chicago Film Critics Weigh in on Oscars 2020, CFCA Awards

Angelica Jade Bastién and Alejandro Riera appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 6, 2020. (WTTW News)

Brad Pitt is expecting to grab his first Oscar ever this Sunday night. Two local film critics share their predictions for this year’s awards.

Historic Near North Houses Headed for Landmark Status

A brick building in the Italianate style at 110 W. Grand Ave. (Felix Mendez / WTTW News)

A proposed new landmark district aims to protect historic Chicago homes from demolition, but some owners worry it will tie their hands.

Advocates Push for Protections Amid Fears of Obama Center Displacement

(Credit: The Obama Foundation)

The proposed 20-acre Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park is raising new concerns about property values and lower-income residents getting pushed out of the area.

In Chicago, Legal Pot Could be Just the Beginning. Are Mushrooms Next?

Psychedelic mushrooms growing in Veracruz, Mexico. (Alan Rockefeller / Wikimedia Commons)

Chicago could become the largest city in the nation to decriminalize natural psychedelics like mushrooms and peyote.

Ask Geoffrey: ‘The Unicorn Song’ and Its Chicago Origins

Shel Silverstein, left, performs on “Soundstage” at WTTW in 1979. (WTTW News)

What does a song about a mythical creature have to do with one of Chicago’s most prolific – and unusual – artists? Geoffrey Baer explains.

Crain’s Headlines: Brookfield Zoo President to Step Down

(Brookfield Zoo / Facebook)

No departure date has yet been set for Stuart Strahl, who announced to his board of trustees that he is heading for the exit after 17 years at the helm.

In Eerie Coincidence, HBO’s Flu Pandemic, Post-Apocalyptic Series ‘Station Eleven’ Filming in Chicago

The cover of Emily St. John Mandel’s book “Station Eleven,” left, and filming notices shared on Twitter, right, for the TV adaptation in Chicago.

As global health agencies grapple with the spread of the coronavirus, filming is underway in Chicago for “Station Eleven,” the story of a swine flu pandemic that wipes out most of the world’s population. Welcome to the apocalypse.

Chicago Police Make Arrest in Blue Line Passenger Shooting

Patrick Waldon (Chicago Police Department)

The arrest came in large part, police said, due to surveillance footage captured by the CTA and witnesses who identified the suspect in photo arrays.