Stories by Brandis Friedman

‘Hamilton’ Exhibition Brings 18th Century Life into 2019 Reality

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, left, and exhibition designer David Korins speak with WTTW News at “Hamilton: The Exhibition.”

Peek inside the soon-to-close, 25,000-square-foot “Hamilton” exhibition on Northerly Island and hear from the man who brought Alexander Hamilton back to life: Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Lightfoot’s CPS Budget Proposes Millions for Upgrades, Improvements

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters at a press conference to release the district’s budget proposal on Aug. 8, 2019. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveils her first budget proposal for Chicago Public Schools – and it comes as she negotiates a new contract with the Chicago Teachers Union.

CTU Prepares for Contract Fight with New Mayor

Chicago Teachers Union members hold a rally in the Loop on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (WTTW News)

Chicago Teachers Union members call on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to make good on promises for educational equity. Meanwhile, upheaval at a Chicago Public Schools board meeting.

Lightfoot Keeps Police and Schools Chiefs, Makes Additional Appointments

Janice Jackson, left, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on April 19, 2018. Eddie Johnson, right, speaks during a news conference Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo / Teresa Crawford)

On her first full day in office, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a number of leaders who will serve in her administration, as well as several senior staff members.

Like a Boss: Hair Care Entrepreneur Shares Experience as a Black Businesswoman

Five years after launching her organic hair-care company with a single product, Monique Rodriguez’s Mielle Organics now has 46 products in more than 100,000 retail stores. 

The Report From Court? Too Few Court Reporters

They play a key role in court proceedings, but industry experts say there aren’t enough of them. What it takes to become a court reporter – and why some say it’s a good alternative to a four-year degree.

Voter Turnout for Historic Runoff on Pace With February Election

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 370,000 Chicago residents had cast their ballots for the city’s next mayor, treasurer and, in some wards, alderman. 

Illinois Senate Approves Bill to Raise Smoking Age to 21

(Kruscha / Pixabay)

A year after lawmakers approved an identical bill that was vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, senators vote 39 to 16 to raise the age from 18 to 21 for the legal purchase and use of tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Don’t Want Kids? New Chicago Startup Helps Provide Free Birth Control

A Mirena intrauterine device (Sarahmirk / Wikimedia Commons)

A new Chicago startup called Juno4Me connects women with free birth control from reputable health care providers. 

1898 Silent Film Represents Earliest Depiction of On-Screen Black Love

A still image from the 1898 silent film “Something Good-Negro Kiss.”

How a recently discovered film shot in Chicago more than 120 years ago still makes a powerful statement – without saying a word.

Behind the Curtain of the Joffrey’s Newest Production, ‘Anna Karenina’

For the first time in its history, the Joffrey Ballet cues up an entirely new score for its daring new production. We get a peek at the company’s creative process – and personalities.

CPS Unveils Progress Reports to Advance ‘Learn. Plan. Succeed’ Program

While Chicago Public Schools students make plans for their futures, we speak with schools chief Janice Jackson about the present.

CPS: GPA Error Means Up to 800 Students Mistakenly Applied to Some High Schools

Chicago Public Schools is reopening its high school application process for about 800 eighth-grade students who were mistakenly allowed to apply for programs for which they were not eligible.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Reflects on Lessons in Education

(Chicago Tonight file photo)

Although his tenure has been marked by several school controversies, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is touting his achievements at both Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago. 

1898 Silent Film Represents Earliest Depiction of On-Screen Black Love

A still image from the 1898 silent film “Something Good-Negro Kiss.”

How a recently discovered film shot in Chicago more than 120 years ago still makes a powerful statement – without saying a word.

CTA Bus Driver Steers Changes for LGBTQ Community

The CTA makes a policy change that allows its health insurance plan to cover the cost of gender-affirming surgery for one of its bus drivers.

Tech Stocks Take a Dive Amid Fears of Global Economic Slowdown

Trader Tommy Kalikas works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Apple’s shock warning that its Chinese sales are weakening ratcheted up concerns about the world’s second-largest economy and weighed heavily on global stock markets as well as the dollar on Thursday. (AP Photo / Richard Drew)

Tech stocks led the dive Thursday on Wall Street after Apple reported a slowdown on iPhone sales in China. Economist Diane Swonk weighs in.

FAFSA Verification an ‘Unfair Burden’ for Low-Income Students

Though finals are over for most college students, many still have something looming over their heads: financial aid. Why the process is taking longer for thousands of college students seeking federal aid.

Mayor Appoints New Chicago Board of Education Member

Austan D. Goolsbee appears on “Chicago Tonight” in April 2013.

University of Chicago economics professor Austan D. Goolsbee, a former Cabinet member to former President Barack Obama, will serve as the newest member of the Chicago Board of Education.

Charter Strike Over, But Does it Signal Changing Time in Chicago?

Educators with Acero charter schools strike outside Veterans Memorial Charter School Campus on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (Tyler LaRiviere / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

About 500 Chicago charter school teachers and 8,000 students were back in the classroom after a historic, nearly weeklong strike came to an end Sunday.

Reflections on Turning 100 with Chicago’s Remarkable Timuel Black

Few Chicagoans can say they’ve lived through 100 years of change. But historian and civil rights activist Timuel Black can when he marks his 100th birthday on Friday.

Why Fewer Families Are Bringing Home Babies Through Adoption

Adoption advocates have spent the past month working to raise awareness about adoption as a way to grow a family. But whether they are done privately or internationally, adoptions are happening less frequently.

A New Approach to Addressing Hunger in Higher Education

City Colleges student Shabaka Verna

Food pantries are popping up in a surprising, new location: colleges and universities. How City Colleges of Chicago and the Greater Chicago Food Depository are providing for local students.

Former First Lady Comes Home to Kick Off International Book Tour

Michelle Obama discusses life in the White House at the United Center on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 as part of her “Becoming” book tour.

Two of Chicago’s most famous women sit down for an intimate chat. What Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey – and 18,000 of her closest friends – to kick off her book tour.

New System Designates School Performance on Annual Illinois Report Card

Under a new component of the annual Illinois Report Card, 20 percent of schools are eligible for additional federal funding to make improvements.