Chicago TV ready with teacher strike coverage, gets thrown two breaking stories

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 was a busy news day in Chicago — it was day one of the city’s public school teacher strike and two big stories also came out of police HQ — and here’s how local TV news covered it all.

Chicago TV

This column is part of NewscastStudio's regular "Chicago TV" column that covers the latest in Chicago broadcasting.

In addition one of the nation’s largest school districts going on strike, the Chicago Police Department superintendent experienced another health scare while the department also announced it had fired an officer involved in a 2014 shooting that killed two.

Local news already knew the teacher’s strike would be happening — and were prepared with on the scene coverage of the marches and rallies.

However, the news of the police superintendent’s health scare was released shortly before 5 p.m., forcing stations to make quick adjustments for this story as well as the firing. 

CBS O&O WBBM, for example, started its 5 p.m. newscast with what appeared to be pre-produced teases dedicated entirely to the strike but then its  anchors appeared on camera standing in front of a large “breaking news” video wall graphic reporting the news about CPD superintendent Eddie Johnson.

The station then moved on to the strike and firing of officer Robert Rialmo.

WBBM does not air a 4 p.m. newscast.


By 6 p.m., the station ran another pre-produced tease focused on the school strike but switched to its breaking news open — which segued into Johnson coverage, followed by strike and firing.

The station’s late news still covered the strike (that was now extending into a second day), Johnson and Rialmo, but also moved on to other stories.

Throughout all newscasts, WBBM used a large red “School Strike” banner with a coordinating background of photo of red school lockers.

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