Making Sense of 2020

TAKE THE QUIZ: Do you remember everything that happened?

2020 has been a year like none other, with a global pandemic, a recession, nationwide racial reckoning, the 2020 census, and a contentious presidential election. As COVID-19 closed down Chicago area schools and businesses and residents adjusted to a new normal, WTTW News hit the streets of the city and suburbs to report on local stories that mattered to residents – the struggle to cope, racial unrest and activism, and the drive to rebuild. In MAKING SENSE OF 2020, WTTW News journeys back to the beginning of the year to offer a revealing look at how 2020 unfolded in Chicago. 

As 2020 in Chicago began, the major stories included the Senate trial for the impeached President and the rollout of legalized recreational marijuana in Illinois. But just a few weeks later, a developing crisis appeared on the horizon: COVID-19. By mid-March as local cases multiplied, Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered all schools closed and then shut down the state, upending the everyday lives of Chicago area residents seemingly overnight. MAKING SENSE OF 2020 takes audiences through what happened next, and how WTTW News mobilized and innovated to provide its community with vital information.

As the WTTW News/Chicago Tonight team went into overdrive to cover the news from Chicago’s neighborhoods, publish stories on, and launch two new weekend shows, Latino Voices and Black Voices, their reporting revealed major disparities in community resources and impacts, how Chicago area residents stepped up to inspire and help each other, and how the city pushed through during a time that required extraordinary resolve and creativity.