Skip to main content


A new special from WTTW News explores an unusual year in Chicago,
and how Chicago area residents respond and rebuild
Tuesday, December 1 at 7:30 pm on WTTW

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - November 13, 2020

November 13, 2020 – 2020 has been a year like none other, with a global pandemic, a recession, nationwide racial reckoning, the 2020 census, and a contentious presidential election. As COVID-19 closed down Chicago area schools and businesses and citizens adjusted to a new normal, WTTW News hit the streets of the city and suburbs to report on local stories that mattered to residents – the struggle to cope, racial unrest and activism, and the drive to rebuild. In MAKING SENSE OF 2020, premiering on Tuesday, December 1 at 7:30 pm on all WTTW platforms, WTTW News journeys back to the beginning of the year to offer a revealing look at how 2020 unfolded in Chicago. 

As 2020 in Chicago began, the major stories included the Senate trial for the impeached President and the rollout of legalized recreational marijuana in Illinois. But just a few weeks later, a developing crisis appeared on the horizon: COVID-19. By mid-March as local cases multiplied, Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered all schools closed and then shut down the state, upending the everyday lives of Chicago area residents seemingly overnight. MAKING SENSE OF 2020 takes audiences through what happened next, and how WTTW News mobilized and innovated to provide its community with vital information.

As the WTTW News/Chicago Tonight team went into overdrive to cover the news from Chicago’s neighborhoods, publish stories on, and launch two new weekend shows, Latino Voices and Black Voices, their reporting revealed major disparities in community resources and impacts, how Chicago area residents stepped up to inspire and help each other, and how the city pushed through during a time that required extraordinary resolve and creativity.

“WTTW’s role – public media’s role – is to serve our community with essential, trusted news and information and to provide historical context, understanding of current events and guidance for exploring challenging ideas,” said WTTW President & CEO Sandra Cordova Micek. “In MAKING SENSE OF 2020, we help our audience process and navigate a year of upheaval, uncertainty, and rebound.” 

“WTTW News and CHICAGO TONIGHT strive to produce stories that inform and educate the public, especially during election cycles,” said WTTW News Director Hugo Balta. “This special is a retrospective look at how a community responds in the face of adversity, and how a news organization tells that story.” 

MAKING SENSE OF 2020 is produced and written by Daniel Andries. Executive Producer: Geoffrey Baer. Director of Photography: Tim Boyd. Editor: Tim Jackson.

About Daniel Andries 

Daniel Andries is a regular contributor to Chicago Tonight and produced the Emmy Award-winning documentary series Art & Design in Chicago and the film Beauty Rises: Four Lives in the Arts. His other programming on artists includes Artbeat Chicago; Arts Across Illinois; Cannot Live Without: Illinois Artists At Work; Feast; and Jeanne Gang: The Sky’s the Limit. Daniel was also a co-producer and co-writer of documentary features on the history of Chicago’s Irish, LGBT and African-American population. His work with Geoffrey Bear includes 10 Towns that Changed America, Chicago by Boat: The New River Tour, Southwest Suburbs: Birthplace of Chicago, and eight documentaries on Driehaus Prize-winning architects.

WTTW is the PBS member station in Chicago, committed to creating and presenting unique media content across distinct television and digital channels – WTTW, WTTW Prime, WTTW Create, WTTW World, WTTW PBS Kids 24/7,, and the PBS/WTTW video app. Recognized for award-winning journalism and local productions – such as CHICAGO TONIGHT, BLACK AND LATINO VOICES, THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO BY ‘L’, CHECK, PLEASE!; digital-first series FIRSTHAND, URBAN NATURE, and FOODPHILES; and national productions PREHISTORIC ROAD TRIP and NATURE CAT – WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s public media content. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.