Stories by Blair Paddock

Foundation Aims to Change How Long-Term Care Facilities Are Ranked

(WTTW News)

Nursing homes have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. One Chicago-based foundation is trying to change the way these facilities are ranked — a move they say will put the focus on the care of residents.

How to Manage Your Mental Health During Stressful Times

Winter is on its way, and with it comes holiday stress, seasonal depression and — this year — concerns about COVID-19. We get advice on staying mentally healthy during the pandemic.

How Faith Groups Are Bringing Sermons to Screens This Holiday Season

(RJA1988 / Pixabay)

Hanukkah and Christmas are held during some of the shortest days of the year — meaning, they’re also the darkest. But these holidays offer light through menorahs and advent candles, and now, the glow of a computer screen.

Maria Cerda, a Trailblazer Who Inspired Latino Leaders, Dies at 86

Maria Cerda (Courtesy of the Cerda family)

In the 1960s, Maria Cerda became the first Latina member of the Chicago Board of Education and a pioneering advocate for bilingual classes. We talk with her son about her legacy in Chicago and across the nation.

COVID-19 Pandemic Has Shifted How Veterans Access Health Care

(WTTW News)

The coronavirus has hit every class of citizen hard, and on this Veterans Day, we look at how it has affected military service members and veterans.

Cook County Judge To Be Illinois’ 1st Openly Transgender Elected Official

(WTTW News)

History was made in Illinois last week when Jill Rose Quinn was elected into office. She joins us in discussion.

What Role Will Polling Play in the Next Election?

(WTTW News)

A landslide from Joe Biden was predicted, but that has not been the case. How are pollsters justifying the continued use of polls?

Many Young People Stepping Up as Poll Workers for 2020 Election

(WTTW News)

A high-turnout election in the middle of a pandemic that is surging across the country presents a host of challenges. How state and local election authorities are working to fill the void.

Chevy Humphrey Makes History as New Leader of MSI Chicago

The Museum of Science and Industry (WTTW News)

She’ll be the first woman and the first Black American to be president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry when she starts her new job in January. Chevy Humphrey joins us in discussion.

How Partisan Agendas Are Driving Some Local ‘News’ Websites in Illinois

(MoteOo / Pixabay)

What may look like news websites are instead thinly veiled organizations pushing partisan agendas without journalistic standards, according to investigations from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. 

Illinois’ Top Doctors Prepare for Winter as COVID-19 Rates Climb

(WTTW News)

As temperatures drop and the statewide positivity rate climbs, we discuss the coronavirus pandemic with top public health officials Dr. Ngozi Ezike and Dr. Allison Arwady.

Community Groups Reteach History of Christopher Columbus

An empty pedestal in Grant Park in July 2020, where a statue of Christopher Columbus stood recently. (WTTW News)

After a summer of social unrest and calls to remove some monuments, activists are still pushing for the city to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. How some groups envision reteaching the history of Christopher Columbus.

How Domestic Violence Support Groups Are Helping Clients Virtually


The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to spend a lot more time indoors this year. But for some, home isn’t always a safe space. Many social service agencies are reporting a spike in domestic violence during the pandemic.

Fighting for Fall Sports: Where the Legal Battle Stands

(Keith Johnston / Pixabay)

The possibility for high school students to play all fall sports is again at a standstill. We discuss the situation with a student, a lawyer and a doctor.

How to Deal with COVID-19 Anxiety

(WTTW News)

The COVID-19 pandemic brings with it a host of related mental health issues for many people, such as increased stress and anxiety. Seasonal depression could soon be another problem facing Chicagoans.

City Introduces Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Plan

(WTTW News)

Previous plans have largely targeted Chicago’s North and Northwest sides. However, officials say this plan will focus on bringing equitable transit-oriented developments to the South and West sides.

State Ban on Evictions Set to Expire Next Week

(WTTW News)

For thousands of Illinois renters who are out of work during the pandemic, the threat of eviction is getting closer to reality.

Black People More Likely Get Colon Cancer in Cook County

(Darko Stojanovic / Pixabay)

In Cook County, Black people are 26% more likely to get colon and rectum cancer than white people, according to the CDC. “Screening rates a bit lower, but they’re not that much lower,” said Dr. Ed McDonald, a gastroenterologist. “There’s something else going on.”

How New Delegates are Celebrating the Virtual Republican National Convention

First-time delegate Kevin Suggs appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (WTTW News)

Many Republican delegates will be watching the convention from their couches this week, missing the usual excitement of an in-person event. We check in with two first-time delegates for their impressions so far.

Schakowsky: US Postal Service Should Reverse Changes

Joe Biden formally accepts the Democratic nomination for president, capping off a convention that has seen blistering criticism of President Trump and an emphasis on the emergence of women as leaders. We discuss that and more with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

Cook County Data Shows Disparities in Delinquent Houses

(WTTW News)

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas talks about the disparities in delinquent houses and how she’s working to reduce the problem. 

How New Delegates are Celebrating the Virtual Democratic National Convention

First-time delegate Krystal Garcia Centeno appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (WTTW News)

What’s it like to be a first-time delegate celebrating this year’s virtual convention? We ask Melissa Conyears-Ervin, the Chicago city treasurer, and Krystal Garcia Centeno, a member of the Progressive Turnout Project.

Chicago Archdiocese Plans to Provide In-Person Classes This Fall

(Brandis Friedman / WTTW News)

CPS will start the school year with an all-remote learning plan, but Catholic schools in the city and suburbs are taking a different approach. How will the school system keep everyone safe, and are teachers and parents on board?

The Future of Retail: Where Do Stores Stand After Pandemic, Looting?

A makeshift sign announces a temporary business closure following looting in downtown Chicago in the early hours of Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (WTTW News)

There’s a very real anxiety that Chicago’s main shopping districts are on the precipice of falling apart. And without the revenue generated from those areas, the city faces a potentially disastrous fiscal future.

A Look at Voting Issues On the Voting Rights Act’s 55th Anniversary

Thursday marks the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Where the fight for ballot access goes next.

Lurie Children’s Hospital to End Intersex Surgeries on Children

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (WTTW News)

Where the fight for intersex rights is headed after a recent victory in Chicago. We speak with activist Pidgeon Pagonis and Dr. Ellie Kim of Lurie Children’s Hospital.