Stories by Paul Caine

Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will compete in the mayoral runoff. (WTTW)

Latest Poll Shows Chicago Mayor’s Race Too Close to Call

The race for Chicago mayor enters its final stretch. Political speechwriter, debate strategist and senior lecturer at Northwestern University Jason DeSanto breaks down the latest developments in a tightening race.

University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin is gearing up for his next expedition. (Courtesy of Neil Shubin)

Chicago Paleontologist Neil Shubin Prepares for Return to the Arctic

The long-delayed trip is a return to the Canadian Arctic and an area where University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin made a career-defining discovery back in 2004.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Mayoral Runoff Race Heats Up, Bears Make Moves

The tension rises between Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson in the race for Chicago mayor. Madigan recordings revealed in week one of the “ComEd Four” trial. Northwestern moves on in the NCAA tournament. And the Bears start their revamp.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Fresh Endorsements in Mayor’s Race, ‘ComEd Four’ Trial Begins

Fresh endorsements in the race for Chicago mayor. The trial of the so-called "ComEd Four" is underway. And police Superintendent David Brown prepares to step down. Our politics team weighs in on those stories and more.

(WTTW News)

Lab-Leak Theory Resurfaces as House Republicans Investigate COVID-19 Origins

The U.S. Department of Energy and the FBI both assess that COVID-19 may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China. Yet the Energy Department has “low confidence” in its assessment, while FBI director Christopher Wray said the agency has “moderate confidence” in its.

The lobby of The Rookery building. (Meredith Francis / WTTW)

From Skyscrapers to Worship Houses, New Special Explores ‘Most Beautiful’ Places in Chicago

In a new WTTW special, Geoffrey Baer takes viewers on a tour of some of Chicago’s most beautiful places. Some may be familiar, but others less so.

(WTTW News)

New Police District Councils Aim to Build Better Relationship Between Officers and Community

Starting in May, each of Chicago’s 22 police districts will be overseen by a three-person council. The goal is to help build trust in a beleaguered department that is under a court-ordered consent decree aimed at forcing reform.

(WTTW News)

Mayoral Candidates Hone Messages Ahead of Tuesday’s Election

While polling on the Chicago mayoral race has been somewhat inconsistent, what appears clear from multiple polls is that incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot and challengers Paul Vallas, Brandon Johnson and U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García have pulled clear from the pack.

The image on the left is by artist Karla Ortiz; the image on the right was generated by AI mimicking Ortiz’s artistic style. (Courtesy Ben Zhao / University of Chicago)

University of Chicago Develops Tool to Protect Artists from AI Threat

Powerful AI models that can realistically simulate the style of virtually any artist have many in the art world worried. In fact, some artists believe the technology has for them become an existential threat.

(WTTW News)

City’s Chief of Policy Defends Proposed New ComEd Deal, Urges Swift City Council Passage

“As you look across the country, there’s no other place that’s been able to secure as much funding as we have for the energy and equity project,” says Skyler Larrimore, chief of policy at the city of Chicago.

Candidates at the WTTW News mayoral forum. (Michael Izquierdo)

Week of Mayoral Forums Gives Chicago Voters Plenty to Ponder

Political speechwriter, debate strategist and senior lecturer Jason DeSanto joins WTTW News to give his assessment of the state of play in the 2023 Chicago mayoral race.

The nine candidates running for mayor of Chicago. (WTTW News)

Negative Ads Fly in Chicago Mayoral Race as Candidates Seek to Define Opponents

The race for mayor is heating up and the attack ads are beginning to fly but in a nine-candidate field, how do you stand out from the crowd? Political analyst Jason DeSanto says math, message and money should be the focus. 

Corey Brooks (WTTW News)

‘Rooftop Pastor’ Corey Brooks Gets $8M Donation for Woodlawn Community Center

The Rev. Corey Brooks brought attention to his Woodlawn community and his cause when he camped out on a Chicago rooftop for almost a year to raise funds for a new community center.

A Citgo refinery in Lemont. (WTTW News)

Chicago-Area Oil Refineries Among Worst Water Polluters in US, Environmental Group Finds

Oil refineries are discharging toxic pollutants into our waterways and the Great Lakes with little oversight from regulators, according to a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit group that advocates for enforcement of environmental law

(WTTW News)

Surge in Demand for Mental Health Services a Challenge for Providers

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought mental health issues to the fore. But as more people have been willing to acknowledge their struggles, the provision of mental health services has become a major challenge.

A gun store display is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Multiple Lawsuits, Scores of Sheriffs Challenge Illinois’ New Gun Law

Multiple county sheriffs across the state have said they won’t enforce it. On Friday, a circuit court judge in downstate Effingham County issued a temporary restraining order blocking the new law — although that ruling only applies to the 850 plaintiffs and four licensed gun dealers named in the case.

A view of La Salle Street and the Chicago Board of Trade. (WTTW News)

LaSalle Street Development Plans Come Slowly Into Focus

The historic LaSalle Street corridor has been an economic engine for the city since the turn of the last century. But in recent years, the once vibrant financial district has suffered as major banks that anchored the area moved elsewhere in the city.

Heidi Heitkamp in the WTTW studio on Jan. 12, 2023. (WTTW News)

Former U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp Takes the Helm at UChicago’s Institute of Politics

In 2012, Heidi Heitkamp was a trailblazer, becoming the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from North Dakota. She previously served as the state’s attorney general before an unsuccessful bid for governor. Now, she's taking on a new challenge right here in Chicago.

(Dan Bartlett / NASA)

Rare Green Comet May Soon Be Visible with Naked Eye

According to NASA, the comet would last have been seen in the night sky more than 10,000 years ago — millennia before the birth of human civilization — and it may never pass this way again.

(WTTW News)

Illinois Senate Passes Assault Weapons Ban Bill, Heads to the House

On Monday evening, the Illinois state Senate passed an assault weapons bill with some changes to the version passed by the House on Friday. The bill will now return to the House for a concurring vote before heading to the governor’s desk.

James “Big Cat” Williams appears on the Jan. 5, 2023, episode of “Chicago Tonight.” (WTTW News)

Breakout Season for Fields in Otherwise Dismal Year for the Bears

The Chicago Bears are poised to get a top draft pick and have lots of money to spend to improve a last-place team, but can they use the draft well and spend wisely?

Naloxone reverses an opioid overdose if administered in time. (WTTW News)

Cook County Expected to Exceed 2,000 Opioid Deaths in 2022, Setting New Record

The key culprit appears to be the widespread availability of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Looking Back at the Biggest Stories of 2023

From a wide-open mayoral contest to major issues on the agenda statewide like guns and abortion, to the economic picture, and the outlook in local sports — we recap the year that was and look into our crystal ball to 2023.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Assault Weapons Ban Debate; Race for Mayor

Illinois lawmakers hold hearings on a possible assault weapons ban. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

Cover image of “Always a Pleasure” by Chuck Swirsky. (Courtesy of Eckhartz Press)

Chuck Swirsky, Radio Voice of Chicago Bulls, Reflects on 50 Years in Broadcasting

Chuck Swirsky has been the radio play-by-play voice for the Chicago Bulls since 2008. A pioneer of Chicago sports talk radio, Swirsky has also covered many iconic moments in sports history – including L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.

This processed image of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument of the Perseverance rover on June 15, 2021. (Courtesy of NASA)

After 36 Flights, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Exceeds All Expectations

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is the first aircraft humankind has ever created that is capable of powered, controlled flight on another world. NASA’s team lead on the project discusses its significance.