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‘Chicago Tonight’ correspondent Elizabeth Brackett retiring

Veteran “Chicago Tonight” personality Elizabeth Brackett, 72, is retiring from her gig as correspondent for WTTW’s nightly newsmagazine as of Tuesday, the local PBS affiliate announced Friday.

Brackett will still play a role in “Chicago Tonight,” contributing 10 segments throughout the upcoming year. The program airs weeknights at 7 p.m. on WTTW-Channel 11.

“We are sad to bid farewell to such a fearless and accomplished journalist and an invaluable member of our team, but look forward to continuing our collaboration with Elizabeth as a special correspondent,” “Chicago Tonight” executive producer Mary Field said in a statement.

Brackett, an avid triathlete, isn’t retiring from her beloved sport. She’s competing in next month’s International Triathlon Union World Championships in Edmonton, Canada. She’s a four-time world champion triathlete, winning the ITU World Championship in her age group in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. She came in second in the world in 2013.

Elizabeth Brackett, pictured here in 1991, has long been a competitive triathlete. (John White photo)

Elizabeth Brackett, pictured here in 1991, has long been a competitive triathlete. (John White photo)

“It has been a great privilege to spend two decades working with such a stellar group of journalists,” Brackett said in the station’s announcement. “As I begin this new phase of my life, I am confident that I will have many more fascinating stories to share with ‘Chicago Tonight’s’ audiences.”

The Hyde Park reporter joined PBS’s MacNeil-Lehrer “NewsHour” in 1984, covering stories such as the Challenger disaster and the Mississippi River floods. She signed on with WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” as a full-time correspondent in 1994 while continuing to contribute to “NewsHour.”

Brackett, pictured here in 1983, had worked as a reporter for WLS-Channel 7 early in her career. (Sun-Times file photo)

Brackett, pictured here in 1983, had worked as a reporter for WLS-Channel 7 early in her career. (Sun-Times file photo)

During her WTTW tenure, Brackett covered local and national politics — an area she dabbled in herself years earlier. The New Trier High School grad was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Miami in 1972 and went on to do campaign work for an unsuccessful Chicago mayoral hopeful. Brackett also ran for office herself, losing a 1976 bid to become 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman.

Brackett lost her 1976 bid to become 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman. (Sun-Times file photo)

Brackett lost her 1976 bid to become 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman. (Sun-Times file photo)

In addition to politics, she’s covered Chicago public schools and a host of other topics. I just had the pleasure of working with her on Tuesday night’s episode, when she moderated a panel on the life and career of Chicago-born comic Robin Williams. She also co-hosted WTTW’s short-lived science series “Chicago Tomorrow.”

In 2009, she became a first-time author with her book Pay to Play: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption into a National Sideshow.

Brackett's book on Blagojevich was published in 2009.

Brackett’s book on Blagojevich was published in 2009.

Prior to joining WTTW, Brackett served as a general assignment reporter for WLS-Channel 7, WGN Radio and WGN-Channel 9 as well as WBBM-Channel 2.