Stories by Alexandra Silets

DePaul Researchers Help Narrow Data Gap in COVID-19 Testing

(WTTW News)

When the pandemic hit, city officials found there was a significant information gap when trying to collect race and ethnicity data. What researchers at DePaul University is doing to help narrow that gap.

Spotlight Politics: Lightfoot’s Pandemic Budget

(WTTW News)

The mayor’s budget plan, the next coronavirus wave and the final presidential debate. Our politics team takes on those stories and more in this week’s roundtable. 

Candidate Forum: Republican Ives Aims to Unseat Casten in 6th District

Republican Jeanne Ives talks about her bid to unseat freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten.

The Week in Review: Johnson Hit with Lawsuit, Report of Special Treatment

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 14, 2019. (WTTW News)

Former top cop Eddie Johnson is accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed by a member of his security detail. And a new report says he received special treatment after being discovered unconscious behind the wheel last year.

Spotlight Politics: Pritzker Family Feud Over ‘Fair Tax’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks with the media on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

Billionaire Pritzker cousins are hurling cash at opposing sides of the “fair tax” amendment. Our politics team tackles that story and more — including the battle over the Supreme Court — in this week’s roundtable.

Spotlight Politics: Chicago Faces Major Belt-Tightening

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to the media on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week painted a grim picture ahead of her Oct. 21 budget address as the city tries to close a massive budget gap. Our politics team tackles those stories and more in this week’s roundtable.

The Week in Review: Probe Into Madigan’s Conduct Begins

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

Illinois Republicans probe Michael Madigan. U.S. Attorney General Barr touts a drop in Chicago crime. Recordings reveal President Trump knew about COVID-19 dangers while publicly saying the opposite.

Spotlight Politics: Attorney General Barr Touts ‘Operation Legend’ Arrests

U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks about Operation Legend in Chicago on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Pool camera)

Attorney General William Barr credits a federal operation with a significant decline in homicides in Chicago, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasts Barr’s “victory lap” as “factually inaccurate.” Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

Spotlight Politics: Trump, Biden Visit Kenosha

Damage in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 27, 2020. (WTTW News)

Our politics team of Amanda Vinicky, Heather Cherone and Carol Marin weighs in on the presidential candidates’ visits to Kenosha, demands for an investigation of House Speaker Michael Madigan and more.

The Week in Review: Trump Makes Case for Reelection at RNC

President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the White House on the final day of the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

A norm-busting Republican National Convention comes to an end. Kenosha takes the national spotlight after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. And COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Illinois.

Spotlight Politics: Democratic National Convention Kicks Off

A still image from former first lady Michelle Obama’s speech for the Democratic National Convention.

A preview of Michelle Obama’s keynote speech and more in this special edition of our weekly roundtable as the convention gets underway.

The Week in Review: City Officials Vow to Crack Down on Looting

Mayor Lightfoot announces a plan to prevent looting as the Chicago Police Department seeks the public’s help in apprehending additional suspects. As Election Day draws closer, the Postal Service issues a warning about mail-in ballots.

The Week in Review: Rising COVID-19 Cases Prompt New Rules from Pritzker

Mayor Lightfoot tests negative for COVID-19 after appearing with an alderman who later tested positive. Gov. J.B. Pritzker takes aim at businesses flouting public health guidance with new rules designed to enforce capacity limits and the state’s mask mandate.

Spotlight Politics: Chicago Public Schools Goes Remote

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday that Chicago Public Schools is moving to a fully remote schedule this fall. Our politics team of Amanda Vinicky, Paris Schutz and Heather Cherone digs into that story and more in this week’s roundtable.

Life After COVID-19: What Will it Look Like?

(Daniel Dionne / Flickr)

What will life, concerts, the workplace and education look like in a post-COVID-19 world? A futurist and a University of Chicago epidemiologist weigh in.

The Week in Review: Pritzker Issues Stern Warning

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday, July 31, 2020: “We’re at a danger point, everybody. Pay attention.”

The governor warns of a “danger point” as COVID-19 cases rise. Three cops are injured in a shooting. ComEd gets a grilling from aldermen, while House Speaker Madigan says he isn’t going anywhere.

Spotlight Politics: Bad News for High School Athletes

Gov. J.B. Pritzker discusses new state guidelines for recreational sports on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker releases new guidelines for recreational sports, and a war of words unfolds at the ComEd hearing at the Illinois Commerce Commission.

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Orders Removal of Columbus Statues

(WTTW News)

Chicago’s Christopher Columbus statues come down. Mayor Lightfoot and the president go toe-to-toe over federal law enforcement in Chicago. Some COVID-19 restrictions return, and baseball is back.

Spotlight Politics: Trump Weighs in on Chicago’s Violence

(WTTW News)

Gun violence in Chicago is again taking the national spotlight. Our politics team weighs in on President Donald Trump’s plans to send 100 federal agents to the city and more.

Spotlight Politics: ComEd Bribery Scheme Ensnares Madigan

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

The agreement ComEd reached to plead guilty to one count of bribery on Friday sent shock waves through the political world when “Public Official A” was described as the speaker of the Illinois House. 

The Week in Review: Madigan Faces Calls to Resign

(WTTW News)

A federal bombshell alleges a massive bribery scheme involving ComEd and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Has Madigan’s political reign come to an end? And Chicago Public Schools announces a hybrid reopening plan for the fall.

Spotlight Politics: Officials Flirt with Pandemic Pullback

Mayor Lori Lightfoot provides an update on COVID-19 in Chicago on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (WTTW News via

Will an uptick in COVID-19 cases lead to more restrictions across the city and state? Our politics team takes on that story and more in this week’s roundtable.

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Unveils Recovery Plan

(WTTW News)

An uptick in COVID-19 cases. Will public schools open in the fall? Who Chicago’s top cop is blaming for rising violent crime rates. And Illinois U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth takes heat from President Trump.

The Week in Review: Violence Jumps in June

(WTTW News)

With a rise in homicides and shootings in June, Mayor Lori Lightfoot calls for an “all-hands-on-deck approach” to stopping violence. And she orders a 14-day quarantine for travelers from states where COVID-19 is surging.

The Week in Review: CPS Board Vote Keeps Cops in Schools

(Don Harder / Flickr)

The Chicago Board of Education votes to keep police in schools for now. Chicago and the state enter phase four of reopening. Rumors the city’s top cop is leaving amid spikes in gun violence. 

Spotlight Politics: The Debate Over Police in Schools

Demonstrators march in Chicago on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 to show their support for removing police officers from schools. (WTTW News)

A contentious vote on police in schools. The next phase of reopening for the city and state. A plan for in-person instruction at schools in the fall. Those stories and more in this week’s roundtable.