Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Stories by Jay Shefsky

‘Angels Too Soon’ Remembers Tragedy at Our Lady of the Angels

Firefighters at the scene of the fire at Our Lady of the Angels on Dec. 1, 1958. (Photo of image courtesy Chicago History Museum)

It’s been 60 years since a fire at Our Lady of the Angels school killed 92 students and three nuns. We revisit the WTTW documentary about that tragedy, “Angels Too Soon.”

The Mystery of Nathan Leopold’s Bird Collection

Left: Nathan Leopold, soon after his arrest. (Chicago Daily News photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)

In all the attempts to dissect the Leopold and Loeb story, one mystery remains unsolved: What happened to the vast bird collection that Nathan Leopold had in his Chicago home when he went to prison?

Photographer Donates His Talents to Help Dogs Get Adopted

(Photo credit: Josh Feeney)

More than 6,000 dogs were taken in by the city’s animal shelter last year. How one local animal lover is focusing his lens on the challenge of finding them permanent homes.

Hats and ‘Bracelets’ Gone Berserk: The Wildly Creative Wares of John Koch

John Koch (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

He’s been making hats and gloves for 45 years, but they’re not designed to keep us warm. Meet the man behind some eye-catching creations.

Discovery of Political Buttons at NEIU Offers Glimpse Into Past

A newly discovered collection of old political buttons may tell us something about the voters of an earlier era.

Farmer’s Love of Trees Leads to Lifelong Hunt for Heirloom Apples

Al Westerman with three of the 124 apple varieties growing in his orchard. (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

Meet an Illinois farmer who collects heirloom apple trees and grows more than 100 varieties. 

Nearly 50 Years Later, Highwood Bocce Club Members Still Having a Ball

You may know it as bocce ball, bocci or bocce. But however you say it (or spell it) this ancient Italian sport is gaining in popularity with U.S. players. We visit north suburban Highwood for a look – and a lesson.

Photographer Donates His Talents to Help Dogs Get Adopted

(Photo credit: Josh Feeney)

More than 6,000 dogs were taken in by the city’s animal shelter last year. How one local animal lover is focusing his lens on the challenge of finding them permanent homes.

Chicago Punk Rock Musicians with Unexpected Day Jobs

The Bollweevils pose after a rehearsal in a Northwest Side basement. From left: Pete Mittler, Daryl Wilson, Ken Fitzner, Pete Mumford. (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

The story of one local punk band whose members’ lives have gone in some surprising directions.  

Pilsen Photographer Sebastian Hidalgo Focuses on Longtime Residents

(Credit: Sebastián Hidalgo)

Meet a photographer who captures a “culture under threat” in an area recently named by Forbes magazine as one of the 12 coolest neighborhoods in the world. 

Nearly 50 Years Later, Highwood Bocce Club Members Still Having a Ball

You may know it as bocce ball, bocci or bocce. But however you say it (or spell it) this ancient Italian sport is gaining in popularity with U.S. players. We visit north suburban Highwood for a look – and a lesson.

Live Bait Shop at Montrose Harbor a Relic of Chicago’s Fishing Heyday

Stacey Greene is the owner of Park Bait Shop at Montrose Harbor. (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

Once upon a time in Chicago, so many people fished to feed their families that there were bait shops up and down the lakefront. The oldest one has been owned by the same family for 60 years.

Black Sailors in Chicago Chart a New Course

Producer Jay Shefsky and cameraman Felix Mendez pose with the crew of Mise en Place at Jackson Park Harbor.

Sailing is a mostly white, male sport. On the eve of the Race to Mackinac, we visit one crew that bucks both of those trends. 

Behind the Scenes at Vienna Beef on its 125th Birthday

(Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

The company started by two Viennese immigrants in 1893 makes more than 100 million sausages each year at its Chicago plant. We take a behind-the-scenes tour to see how the sausage is made. 

Chicago Sailing Camp Sets Sights on Diversifying Sport

This summer, a local sailing camp has tried to break down economic barriers with a scholarship program for a majority of its campers. 

The Power of Scuba Diving for People with Disabilities

We visit a local nonprofit that offers free scuba training to adults and children with special needs.

Live Bait Shop at Montrose Harbor a Relic of Chicago’s Fishing Heyday

Stacey Greene is the owner of Park Bait Shop at Montrose Harbor. (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

Once upon a time in Chicago, so many people fished to feed their families that there were bait shops up and down the lakefront. The oldest one has been owned by the same family for 60 years.

Making Baby Walleye in Cook County

Cook County Fisheries biologists Jim Phillips and Steve Silic in the walleye hatchery.

Though not a terribly romantic process, walleye breeding at the Cook County Forest Preserve District produces thousands of young fish for county lakes. We take a closer look.

Black Sailors in Chicago Chart a New Course

Producer Jay Shefsky and cameraman Felix Mendez pose with the crew of Mise en Place at Jackson Park Harbor.

Sailing is a mostly white, male sport. On the eve of the Race to Mackinac, we visit one crew that bucks both of those trends. 

Pilsen Photographer Sebastian Hidalgo Focuses on Longtime Residents

(Credit: Sebastián Hidalgo)

Meet a photographer who captures a “culture under threat” in an area named last month by Forbes magazine as one of the 12 coolest neighborhoods in the world. 

The Power of Scuba Diving for People with Disabilities

We visit a local nonprofit that offers free scuba training to adults and children with special needs.

Behind the Scenes at Vienna Beef on its 125th Birthday

(Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

The company started by two Viennese immigrants in 1893 makes more than 100 million sausages each year at its Chicago plant. We take a behind-the-scenes tour to see how the sausage is made. 

Making Baby Walleye in Cook County

Cook County Fisheries biologists Jim Phillips and Steve Silic in the walleye hatchery.

Though not a terribly romantic process, walleye breeding at the Cook County Forest Preserve District produces thousands of young fish for county lakes. We take a closer look.

Archive: John Callaway Interviews Elizabeth Brackett

As an interviewer, Elizabeth Brackett was known for her excellent preparation and probing questions. In late April 2009, the tables were turned when longtime “Chicago Tonight” host John Callaway directed the questions at her.

Former Fashion Photographer Finds Beauty in Nature

Photographer Owen Deutsch

After 20 years in the fashion industry, Owen Deutsch wasn’t planning on getting back into photography. But then he discovered a new subject: birds.

randomness