Stories by Blair Paddock

Colleges Drop ACT, SAT Test Score Requirements Due to Pandemic

(lil_foot_ / Pixabay)

Standardized college entrance tests like the ACT and SAT may soon be a thing of the past. More than half of all U.S. colleges and universities have dropped the requirement for ACT and SAT scores due to the coronavirus pandemic.

How Chicago Hospitals are Engaging in Anti-Violence Work

(WTTW News)

Hospitals are on the front lines of healing gun violence victims, but some are taking more than just an emergency room role. We learn about the Chicago Hospital Engagement, Action and Leadership Initiative, or HEAL.

A Conversation with Audra Wilson, New CEO of Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Audra Wilson, CEO of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, June 15, 2020. (WTTW News)

Amid a pandemic and a renewed focus on police brutality, some say the center’s work is more critical than ever. We speak with the newly appointed president and CEO of the Chicago-based nonprofit.

‘Hood Feminism’ and Police Brutality: A Conversation with Mikki Kendall

Author Mikki Kendall appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (WTTW News)

We discuss the role of feminists in the fight against racism and police brutality with the author of “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that the Movement Forgot.”

Pride With No Parade: LGBTQ Organizations Celebrate Amid Pandemic

The 2014 Chicago Pride Parade. (Jamie Bernstein / Flickr)

With a global pandemic and ongoing protests against police brutality, LGBTQ organizations are returning to their revolutionary roots as they celebrate Pride Month.

A Grieving Community Again Calls for Police Reform in Chicago

Laquan McDonald’s great-uncle, the Rev. Marvin Hunter, appears on “Chicago Tonight” in 2018. (WTTW News)

A conversation with the Rev. Martin Hunter, the great uncle of Laquan McDonald, whose fatal shooting by a Chicago police officer in 2014 sparked widespread calls for police reform.

How Dentists Are Adapting to the Pandemic

Dentists are wearing more personal protective equipment in the COVID-19 era. (WTTW News)

After two months of performing only emergency procedures, dentist offices in Illinois are now fully reopening. But the experience will be very different — for both patients and dentists.

The Debate Over Reopening Places of Worship

The Metro Praise International Church in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood. (WTTW News)

While Chicago is in phase two of its plan to reopen, churches are allowed to have 10 or fewer people inside the building during services. But some churches are defying that rule, and want to reopen immediately.

Is It Safe for Child Care Centers to Reopen Sooner Than Expected?

(ponce_photography / Pixabay)

Businesses across the state are preparing for an eventual reopening under the governor’s Restore Illinois plan, but some industries fear the plan moves too slowly, including child care centers.

Illinois’ Comptroller on How COVID-19 is Affecting the State Budget

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Thursday, May 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

Illinois has spent more than $238 million on resources related to the pandemic, even entering into occasional bidding wars with other states for supplies. We ask Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza about state spending — and budget shortfalls.

How Plasma From Recovered COVID-19 Patients Could Offer a Cure

Weiss Memorial Hospital (WTTW News)

Researchers are studying the use of convalescent plasma therapy — and it’s already showing positive results at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Uptown.

Custodial Workers Ask for Hazard Pay: ‘We Are Front-Line Workers’

(WTTW News)

Custodial workers are on the front lines of the coronavirus, but some of them say they’re not being treated as such. We speak with two workers who have more than 40 years of combined experience at Stroger Hospital.

Online Observance: Mosques Move Celebrations Online for Ramadan

(AhmadArdity / Pixabay)

The monthlong celebration of Ramadan begins this week. What’s supposed to be a month of fasting and reflection while surrounded by family is instead marked by social distancing. How one local mosque is celebrating.

Protesters in Illinois Call for Stay-at-Home Order to be Canceled

Participants in rallies in several U.S. states calling for the reopening of the economy have ignored social distancing guidelines. (WTTW News via CNN)

Calls to reopen the state’s economy are fueling a nationwide protest. We talk with an organizer behind a local effort.

Lessons on Remote Learning from a Hong Kong Educator

Josh Blue, a vice principal at English Schools Foundation Kennedy School in Hong Kong, speaks with “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, April 13, 2020. (WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools has just started its remote learning program, but schools in other cities have been holding virtual classes for weeks. We speak with a Palatine native who is the vice principal at a school nearly 8,000 miles away.

How Independent Media Outlets are Covering the Coronavirus Pandemic

(rawpixel / Pixabay)

Whether working from home or reporting from the street, journalists provide information to keep communities safe and healthy. We check in with some members of the local independent media to see how they’re faring with this developing story.

Relief for Small Businesses: What the Federal Government is Offering

A small business in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

The future for many small businesses is unclear. To create some security, the federal government has stepped in with $349 billion in loans for small businesses, but the programs have had a bumpy start. 

Off Campus and Online: College Students Seeking Tuition Refunds

(WTTW News)

College students across Illinois are asking their universities for some amount of tuition refund as schools move their students off campus and their classes online due to the coronavirus.

How Medical Suppliers Are Dealing With Increased Demand

(Courtesy of Medline)

Northfield-based Medline Industries bills itself as the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies in the U.S. We talk with CEO Charles Mills about the company’s efforts to address the pandemic.

COVID-19 Behind Bars: How Illinois is Protecting the Incarcerated

(WTTW News)

Among those most vulnerable to the coronavirus are jail and prison populations, where people live in tight quarters, with potentially limited health care and access to basic needs like soap.

Underwood Reflects on Primary Win, Looks to November Challenge

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood appears on “Chicago Tonight” on March 19, 2020.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood is competing in one of Illinois’ most watched congressional races this fall. She joins “Chicago Tonight” in discussion.

Illinois Primary: Jim Oberweis Narrowly Wins 14th Congressional District

State Sen. Jim Oberweis appears on “Chicago Tonight” on March 18, 2020. (WTTW News)

Jim Oberweis is a veteran of many campaigns: he’s run for Senate, governor and state office. He’s currently the state senator from North Aurora, and he will take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood in November.

Rick Steves’ New Documentary ‘Hunger and Hope’ Explores Solutions to Poverty

Rick Steves, host of “Rick Steves’ Europe,” appears on “Chicago Tonight.” (WTTW News)

More than 700 million people struggle to live on less than $2 a day, but PBS travel guru Rick Steves, the longtime host of “Rick Steves’ Europe,” says innovative solutions across the world are changing that.

The Debate Over Columbus Day: CPS Will Now Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day

Statue of Christopher Columbus (Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons)

There’s backlash from Italian American groups following a decision by the Chicago Board of Education to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day at Chicago Public Schools instead of Columbus Day. Is there a future for the holiday?

Cutting the Cable: Comcast Left Out of Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network

Cubs fans outside Wrigley Field in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The days of watching the Cubs on TV for free are long gone. Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Danny Ecker tells us about the Marquee Sports Network – and what it means for Cubs fans in Chicago.