Tonya Francisco is an anchor of WGN Saturday Morning News and WGN Sunday Morning News, as of the expansion of weekend news in September 2016. Prior to that, Tonya was a general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor for WGN-TV. She joined CLTV in December of 2002 and was soon after named morning anchor. In 2012, she joined the WGN News team.

Tonya is an award-winning journalist who began her television career as a desk assistant at WLS-TV/Channel 7 in Chicago. She moved on to WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to become a reporter and associate producer. After a year, she worked at WJRT-TV in Flint, Michigan. While there, Tonya worked her way up from general assignment reporter to weekend anchor.

Tonya is a native Chicagoan, proud alumna of Whitney Young Magnet High School and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Tonya is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the National Association of Black Journalists.


Recent Articles
  • Change underway for Illinois DCFS after controversial children’s deaths

    CHICAGO — Changes are on the way for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services after recent deaths of children in their care. Between July of 2017 and June of last year, there were 98 deaths of children in DCSF care, 34 were under the age of 3. “We’re hitting the ground in a scenario that has to be addressed with a sense of urgency,” Marc Smith, interim DCFS director, said. Marc Smith is the acting director of DCFS. […]

  • Shocking image at center of immigration talks as lawmakers headed for confrontation over border funding bill

    **WARNING: Video contains graphic images. Viewer discretion is advised.  WASHINGTON — The Republican-led Senate on Wednesday passed a $4.6 billion bill to address the migrant crisis at the southern border, setting up a clash with House Democrats, who have passed a different version of similar legislation. Republican Senate leaders have said they won’t negotiate with House Democrats over differences in their chambers’ emergency funding bills for the border, essentially daring the House to take or leave the Senate bill, which has […]

  • Groups pledge $75 million to address violence and its root causes in Chicago

    CHICAGO — Sadly, violence tallies are regularly reported as the week begins in Chicago. This past weekend, gun violence left four killed and another 16 injured. Among the dead, a 49-year-old-woman reportedly visiting from out of town was standing on a front porch near 97th Street and Dobson Street early Saturday when she was shot in the head by a stray bullet. During a recent news conference, recently elected Mayor Lori Lightfoot placed part of the blame on economics. “We […]

  • Day 5: Video shows FBI agents questioning man who killed U of I Chinese scholar

    PEORIA, Ill. — Video was shown in court Tuesday showing a University of Illinois graduate student being questioned by FBI agents about the disappearance of a missing Chinese scholar. Brendt Christensen is seen on an hour-long video answering questions from officials about 26-year-old Yingying Zhang’s disappearance. During the interrogation, Christensen changed his story several times. At one point, he said he picked up a girl, but he wasn’t sure where and said she was speaking broken English. A detective testified […]

  • Day 4: FBI probing suspect’s claim that U of I Chinese scholar was 1 of 13 victims

    PEORIA, Ill. — The FBI is investigating the claim by a former University of Illinois doctoral student that the visiting scholar from China he’s charged with killing was his 13th victim, even though no evidence has been found to indicate whether he was telling the truth, an FBI agent testified Monday.    “We are continuing to investigate,” Agent Andrew Huckstadt said during Brendt Christensen’s federal murder trial, pointing out that not being able to corroborate the claim Christensen made to […]

  • Women indicted in death of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez whose baby was cut from her womb

    CHICAGO, Ill. — Two women faced a judge for the first time on charges they murdered Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Clarissa Figueroa and her daughter Desiree Figueroa were formally charged Wednesday with first-degree murder for killing the 19-year-old pregnant mother then cutting her baby from her womb. Figueroa’s boyfriend Piotr Bobak is charged with covering up the death. Bobak hired private attorney Hal Garfinkel who claims Bobak is innocent of all charges. “Mr. Bobak has absolutely no knowledge at all of the […]

  • Chilling 911 call tipped off Arlington Heights police to couple’s gruesome murder; daughter denied bail

    ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — A woman charged with murdering her parents in Arlington Heights was denied bail Monday. Breaking! No bail for the daughter accused of brutally stabbing her parents to death this weekend in Arlington Heights. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/MygP7alUIr — Tonya Francisco (@TonyaFrancisco) June 10, 2019 Deborah Martin, 43, was charged with first-degree murder, after her mother Anne Martin, 71, and father David Martin, 72, were found dead in their home Saturday. Prosecutors laid out a case for pre-meditated murder […]

  • Video shows calves being brutally abused, tortured at Fair Oaks Farms

    **WARNING: Video below contains graphic content of animal abuse that may be disturbing to most viewers FAIR OAKS, Ind. — The operators of a Northwest Indiana farm are expressing shock and disappointment over revelations of animal abuse captured on video by an animal activist group. Fair Oaks Farm founder Mike McCloskey said he is “disgusted” by the animal cruelty seen in the video, and takes full responsibility for his employees’ actions. In a lengthy statement, McCloskey made it clear that […]

  • 2 stabbed in ‘domestic related dispute’ in Downers Grove

    DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Two men were stabbed Tuesday after a “domestic-related dispute” in Downers Grove. Police responded to a residence near Maple Avenue and Main Street around noon.  Police said the dispute started inside an apartment and continued in the street. The men were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to police. Police said there is no known threats to the community.  

  • Lightfoot shuts down Burke during first City Council meeting as Chicago mayor

    CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot presided over her first City Council meeting Monday. She said she thinks it went fine. It was a meeting that saw Lightfoot clash with long time 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke over what he called a “serious flaw” when it came to gender specific language in proposed changes to the rules of order. Burke rose from his seat and said: “It’s not gender neutral and clearly the presiding officer of this body is a […]

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