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Stories by Nick Blumberg

Valerie Jarrett Outlines ‘Journey to the West Wing’ in New Memoir

Michelle and Barack Obama with Valerie Jarrett at the Chicago Urban League Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner, November 2005. (Courtesy Valerie Jarrett)

Before she became the longest-serving White House adviser ever, Valerie Jarrett was a shy, bullied girl. She tells us about her new memoir, “Finding My Voice.”

Why Illinois Spends So Much Money on School Administration

Illinois spends more per pupil on school administration than almost every other state in the union, according to a new report. What the state is doing to address spending.

Tracing American Fashion from ‘Silver Screen to Mainstream’

From left: Evening dress designs by Howard Greer; Jacques, Chicago; and Jenkins. (Courtesy Chicago History Museum)

The 1930s were a defining decade for the U.S. At the Chicago History Museum, a new exhibit explores part of that era’s history you might not think of: fashion.

How Black Leaders Unintentionally Contributed to Mass Incarceration

Author James Forman Jr. talks about his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.”

Sales Dry Up for Boeing’s Grounded 737 Max Jets

In this photo taken Monday, March 11, 2019, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane being built for TUI Group sits parked in the background at right at Boeing Co.'s Renton Assembly Plant in Renton, Washington.  (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren)

Lawsuits mount and sales tumble in the aftermath of two deadly crashes involving Boeing’s 737 Max jet. Can the company repair its reputation? Commercial pilot Rob Mark weighs in.

The Week in Review: Mayor-Elect Lightfoot Prepares to Take Charge

Lori Lightfoot secures a historic election. City Council moves to the left. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx faces more heat. And the Cubs’ bullpen implodes.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Emanuel’s Term Winds Down

Paris Schutz and guests discuss the loose ends in the final weeks of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s term, including the Lincoln Yards TIF and the new police and fire academy.

How Will Runoff Election Results Impact Chicago Politics?

Candidates are making their final sprint toward Tuesday’s runoff election. Will voters show up? Carol Marin leads a political roundtable with three journalists who have followed the race closely.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Emanuel’s Legacy

Eddie Arruza and guests discuss an assessment by veteran city hall reporter Fran Spielman of the frenzied final stretch of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s term and why she believes Emanuel is “obsessed” with his legacy.

The Week in Review: Shock and Anger After Smollett Charges Dropped

Jussie Smollett is cleared of all felonies, leaving the mayor and police superintendent livid – and the Cook County state’s attorney under fire. And in election news, a new poll shows a lopsided race for mayor.

Surprising Outcome in Smollett Case Provokes Anger from Mayor, Police Superintendent

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, right, and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson appear at a news conference Tuesday, March 26, 2019, after prosecutors abruptly dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. (AP Photo / Teresa Crawford)

We discuss the legal underpinnings of the stunning move by prosecutors to drop all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, and how media coverage of the case has played out.

The Choice for Mayor 2019: Toni Preckwinkle

As the April 2 runoff eletion nears, we take an in-depth look at Toni Preckwinkle’s path from high school history teacher to political power player.

Illinois Senate Democratic, Republican Leaders on Budget Priorities

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker struck a bipartisan tone in his budget speech. What the top Democrat and Republican in the state Senate think of his proposal.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Impact of Jussie Smollett

Eddie Arruza and guests take a dive deep into the broader impact of the Jussie Smollett case.

The Week in Review: Mayoral Candidates Fight to the Finish

Charges for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. Accusations, missteps and big money in the run-up to election day. A disturbing revelation about the Aurora mass shooter. And Manny Machado disses Chicago.

Mayoral Candidate Forum: Chico, Enyia, Ford, Lightfoot, McCarthy

Join us Tuesday at 7 p.m. for our third and final mayoral candidate forum, moderated by Carol Marin. Watch on WTTW11 or live on Facebook and YouTube.

Candidate Forum: Chicago City Treasurer Hopefuls Face Off

The Chicago mayor’s race is getting a lot of attention, but it’s not the only contested citywide race in the Feb. 26 election. Meet the candidates running to replace outgoing Treasurer Kurt Summers.

Pritzker Admin Lays Out Financial Woes Ahead of Budget Address

Gov. J.B. Pritzker addresses a new bill to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP)

As Illinoisans wait for new Gov. J.B. Pritzker to unveil his budget plan, Pritzker’s administration is delving into the perilous state of Illinois’ finances with a series of reports.  

Solis Investigation: Attorneys Explain Potential Impact of Yearslong Federal Probe

Ald. Danny Solis (Chicago Tonight file photo)

Analysis of the possible legal implications of the investigation surrounding Ald. Danny Solis, and the power brokers he recorded for the government.

It’s Tax-Filing Season. What You Need to Know About This Year’s Forms

(stevepb / Pixabay)

Monday marks the start of income tax filing season. Learn about what’s different this year in the wake of new tax laws.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Decriminalizing Marijuana

Eddie Arruza and guests discuss moves by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to decriminalize marijuana.

The Week in Review: Aldermen Reeling After Latest Burke Revelation

Chicago aldermen are reeling after learning of an FBI mole in their ranks. More fallout from the federal charge against Ald. Ed Burke. Lincoln Yards takes a huge step forward. And the Bears QB preps for the Pro Bowl.

Bringing Hope to Chicago Neighborhoods Through Financial Empowerment

(Giuseppe Milo / Flickr)

The city treasurer teams up with a national nonprofit to expand financial empowerment centers in Chicago neighborhoods.

Authors Look to Other Cities to Chart a ‘New Chicago Way’

The challenges facing Chicago are problems with clear solutions. So argue the authors of a new book that charts a path for government reforms in the city.

Remembering Chicago’s ‘Lost Restaurants’

A new book by Chicago-based author Greg Borzo explores the city’s bygone restaurants, from the high-end to the bizarre.