Stories by Marissa Nelson

How COVID-19 Has Changed the Dating Landscape

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Dating apps now allow users to share vaccination status. The outlook for new relationships as Illinois prepares to reopen.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Northalsted

Northalsted, formerly called “Boystown,” is known as the center of LGBTQ life in Chicago. As Pride celebrations begin, the community has just started to recover the vibrant character that made it famous following last year’s pandemic and civil unrest.

New Initiative Calls on Private Sector to Help Achieve Equitable Economic Recovery

A woman paints a Black Lives Matter mural in Chicago. (WTTW News)

A year after the murder of George Floyd — and the corporate statements in support of racial equity that followed — some corporations say they are working toward an equitable economic recovery. We learn about the Chicago Community Trust’s new Move to Action initiative.

The Week in Review: CPD Prepares for Memorial Day Weekend

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown announced the city’s strategy to prevent violence ahead of Memorial Day weekend, May 28, 2021 (WTTW News)

City officials prepare for summer violence. Lake Shore Drive name change gets a punt. Federal investigation now close to former House Speaker Madigan. And lawmakers down to the wire in Springfield.

How the Past Year Has Impacted the Mental Health of Police Officers

(WTTW News)

Mental health professionals say officer wellness has declined over the past year amid the pandemic, civil unrest and a growing distrust of the police — a job some former officers say is one of today’s most stressful.

‘Voices’ Community Conversation: George Floyd, One Year Later

A screenshot from the “Voices” community conversation on Monday, May 24, 2021. (WTTW News)

“Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” host Brandis Friedman and a panel of guests discuss the murder of George Floyd on the anniversary of his death, and where the racial justice movement stands today. Watch it now.

Child Care, Early Development Industries Hit by Pandemic

(WTTW News)
As child care centers and schools closed at the height of the pandemic, parents were left balancing work and caretaking responsibilities while also navigating economic uncertainty. But as child care centers reopen, some families appear slow to enroll their children.

Colonial Pipeline Attack Highlights Growing Cybersecurity Threats

(Photo by Peter Gombos on Unsplash)

Some parts of the country still face gas shortages related to the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, and the incident has drawn attention to the growing threat cyberattacks pose in the U.S. and around the world. We discuss the increasing threat and what to do about it.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Village of Riverdale

The Village of Riverdale lags behind the rest of suburban Cook County in vaccinations. As part of our community reporting series, we speak with elected officials, community leaders and physicians about the vaccine rollout, and what they’re doing to make the vaccine more accessible.

US Births in 2020 Dropped to Lowest Level Since 1979

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

U.S. births dropped to their lowest level in more than 40 years in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How the pandemic is impacting family planning. 

Still a ‘Vast Wasteland’? Newton Minow Reflects on the State of Television

Newton Minow appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, May 10, 2021. (WTTW News)

Newton Minow, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, played a key role in public media. Here’s what he thinks about television today — six decades after his famous “vast wasteland” speech.

Latino Unity Day: Leaders Address Challenges on Many Fronts

People wearing masks line up for a food drive in Brighton Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side on April 23, 2020. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s Latino community has been especially affected by the events of the past year, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the fatal police shootings of Adam Toledo and Anthony Alvarez. We discuss key issues community leaders want elected officials to address. 

FDA Announces Plans to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Flavored Cigars

(Myriams-Fotos / Pixabay)

Tobacco companies have long marketed menthol cigarettes to Black Americans. The CEO of the NAACP calls a potential ban of such products “long overdue,” but some people are concerned it could lead to further criminalization of communities of color.

How to Be a Mindful Global Citizen if You’re Traveling Abroad This Summer

(veerasantinithi / Pixabay)

While the U.S. is a leader in vaccinating its residents against COVID-19, many of the destinations Americans often travel to, including several Spanish-speaking countries, have much lower vaccination rates. How to protect yourself and the communities you visit this summer.

Illinois Public Officials Create Mamas Caucus to Support Illinois Mothers, Families

The Mamas Caucus says its goal is to make Illinois the most “mama-friendly” state in the country, said state Rep. Avery Bourne, pictured here with her son. (Courtesy Avery Bourne)

Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin and more than 20 other government officials are joining to form the bipartisan Mamas Caucus. Comprising city, county and state leaders, the caucus plans to tackle issues that impact mothers.

‘Black Voices’ Community Conversation: Chauvin Trial Verdict

A screenshot from the “Black Voices” community conversation on Monday, April 26, 2021. (WTTW News)

Brandis Friedman and a panel of guests discuss the Derek Chauvin verdict, including what it means for racial justice and policing in Chicago and the U.S. Watch it now.

US Poverty Rates Reach Pandemic High in March

(Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash)

The U.S. poverty rate last month reached its highest point during the pandemic at 11.7%, according to researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. We discuss the issue as part of WTTW’s Firsthand initiative exploring poverty.

Community Organizations Want to Help Greater Englewood Get Vaccinated

Part of our ‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood series

The Greater Englewood Area, made up of Englewood and West Englewood, has faced historic disinvestment. Now it’s lagging behind in the percentage of residents who are vaccinated against COVID-19. These community organizations are helping to inform residents about the vaccine and make appointments more accessible.

Community Organizations Call for Investment in Little Village

A memorial of candles and flowers for 13-year-old Adam Toledo sits near the alley where he was killed March 29 by a Chicago police officer. (WTTW News)

Protesters took to the streets this weekend — both in Little Village and other parts of the city — after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released videos of the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo. We speak with neighborhood organizations working to help residents.

Little Village Community Responds to ‘Excruciating’ Police Shooting Video

A flyer with the name and face of Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer on March 29, is shown on a lamppost in the Little Village neighborhood, where he lived and died. (WTTW News)

Feelings about Adam Toledo’s killing are particularly raw in Little Village, where Toledo’s family lives. We spent the day talking with residents and local leaders about their community, and the fatal shooting of the 13-year-old who called it home.

Chicago’s Mental Health Care Plan Invests in Services, Not Yet Reopening Clinics

(WTTW News)

In 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration closed half of the city’s clinics. Mayor Lori Lightfoot campaigned on reopening the centers but has focused her tenure so far on investing in organizations that provide mental health services.

Illinois Universities Plan for Return to Campus in the Fall

Students on the campus of Northwestern University. (WTTW News)

As students wrap up their spring semesters, colleges and universities have started announcing plans for the fall. We discuss the outlook for three area universities.

Little Village Community Leaders Say They Want More Than a Foot Pursuit Policy

A vigil for Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old boy fatally shot by police on March 29, takes place in Little Village on Monday, April 5. (WTTW News)

The Little Village Community Council wants to meet with Mayor Lori Lightfoot about policing policy changes. They also want to meet with the police department about the shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Documenting a Neighborhood Story, ‘Somos Pilsen’ Mural Features 46 Residents

Artist Mateo Zapata talks about the mural “Somos Pilsen.” (WTTW News)

Public art has become synonymous with Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. A new mural on 18th Street is using the medium to preserve the community’s history, and to memorialize dozens of its residents. 

Equity, Privacy Concerns Among Considerations for Vaccine Passports

(WTTW News)

As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands, a growing number of companies say they will require proof of vaccination before opening their doors. We weigh the legal and ethical concerns surrounding vaccine passports as the country looks to reopen. 

The Week in Review: Chicago Police Shoot and Kill 13-Year-Old Boy

(WTTW News)

Another attack at the U.S. Capitol. Questions surround the police shooting of a 13-year-old boy. Mixed signals on Chicago police reform. And the mayor warns of a COVID-19 “quantum leap” in the last week.