Cheryl Corley

Cheryl Corley is an NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk and is based in Chicago. She travels throughout the Midwest covering issues and events throughout the region's 12 states.

In recent years, Corley has reported on the campaign and re-election of President Barack Obama, on the efforts by Illinois officials to rethink the state's Juvenile Justice System, on youth violence in Chicago, and on political turmoil in the Illinois state government. She's reported on the infamous Trayvon Martin shooting case in Florida and covered tornadoes that have destroyed homes and claimed lives in Harrisburg, Illinois; small towns in Oklahoma; and Joplin, Missouri.

In addition, Corley was among the group of NPR reporters covering the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as they tore through the Gulf Coast. She returned to the area, five years later, and joined the reporting team covering the impact of the BP oil spill. Corley also has served as a fill-in host for NPR shows, including Weekend All Things Considered, Tell Me More, and Morning Edition.

Prior to joining NPR, Corley was the news director at Chicago's public radio station, WBEZ, where she supervised an award-winning team of reporters. She also has been a frequent panelist on television news-affairs programs in Chicago.

Corley has received awards for her work from a number of organizations including the National Association of Black Journalists, the Associated Press, the Public Radio News Directors Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She earned the Community Media Workshop's Studs Terkel Award for excellence in reporting on Chicago's diverse communities and a Herman Kogan Award for reporting on immigration issues.

A Chicago native, Corley graduated cum laude from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and is now a Bradley University trustee. While in Peoria, Corley worked as a reporter and news director for public radio station WCBU and as a television director for the NBC affiliate, WEEK-TV. She is a past President of the Association for Women Journalists in Chicago.

She is also the co-creator of the Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program. The critics/journalism training program for female high school juniors is a collaboration between AWJ-Chicago and the Goodman Theatre. Corley has also served as a board member of Community Television Network, an organization that trains Chicago youth in video and multi-media production.

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2:45pm

Wed July 24, 2013
Around the Nation

'Bat Cave' Road In Chicago Accessible To Only A Few

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 5:21 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

In Chicago, there's a two-and-a-half-mile roadway that the mayor calls the Bat Cave. It's been around for more than a decade, but it's not well known. The mini-highway was designed to ferry conventioneers to Chicago's convention hall.

But as NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, some local politicians are arguing that the Bat Cave is being reserved for politicians with special clout.

(SOUNDBITE OF VEHICLES)

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3:08pm

Sat June 29, 2013
NPR Story

Measuring The African-American Financial Divide

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 5:07 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

We continue this week to dig into the findings of our poll of African-American communities and how black Americans rate many aspects of their lives. We conducted the poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

While the gap between the well-off and poor in the U.S. has stretched wide in recent years, we found that black Americans describe their financial divide as a nearly 50-50 split, and it affects how they view their world. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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2:45am

Mon June 24, 2013
Around the Nation

In Chicago, Public Housing Experiment Enters New Phase

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 10:25 am

The last high rise at Chicago's Cabrini-Green public housing complex was demolished in 2011.
M. Spencer Green AP

The Chicago Housing Authority has torn down all of its high rises and says it's close to completing its plans to transform public housing. Now, city leaders are moving to the next part of their plan: using public housing funds not just to build homes for poor families, but stores where they could shop and work. Some residents, however, say the city is breaking a promise to provide affordable housing.

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5:12am

Thu May 23, 2013
Education

Losers In Chicago School Closings Target Elected Officials

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 10:54 am

Protesters of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's plan to close dozens of city schools rally in the Capitol rotunda in Springfield, Ill., on Wednesday. The Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 schools.
Seth Perlman AP

A day after school officials approved shutting down 50 schools, the Chicago Teachers Union and community activists say they'll hold a voter registration and education campaign. The union is agitated that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, school board members and some lawmakers failed to listen to parents, teachers and others who called for the schools to remain open.

Before they voted yes on the sweeping school closure plan, school board members faced a torrent of criticism Wednesday. Protesters tried to conduct a sit-in at the front of the boardroom, but security officers escorted them out.

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1:45am

Mon May 6, 2013
Around the Nation

Chicago's Famed Field Museum Struggles To Dig Out Of A Hole

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 6:25 pm

"Sue," the Tyranosaurus rex skeleton, is one of the most famous exhibits at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History
John Zich AFP/Getty Images

The economy may be on the rebound, but many cultural institutions are still struggling to regain their financial footing. That's especially true for one of the country's most recognized museums — the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Known internationally for its research as well as its exhibits, the Field Museum must pay off millions in bond debt — and toe an ethical line as it does.

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4:17pm

Wed April 10, 2013
It's All Politics

Michelle Obama Steps Into Gun Control Debate

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:19 pm

First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday speaks about 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed on the South Side of Chicago earlier this year.
Paul Beaty AP

First lady Michelle Obama gave a personal and emotional speech Wednesday in Chicago as she stepped into the debate over gun control.

"Right now, my husband is fighting as hard as he can and engaging as many people as he can to pass common-sense reforms to protect our children from gun violence," she said.

The first lady was in her hometown to encourage business leaders to donate millions of dollars to programs for at-risk youth.

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2:13pm

Thu April 4, 2013
Remembrances

For Pulitzer Winner Critic Roger Ebert, Films Were A Journey

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 6:20 pm

Ebert works in his office at the WTTW-TV studios in Chicago on Jan. 12, 2011.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

He won a Pulitzer Prize for his writing, but just as influential as his print essays were his "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" movie reviews. Film critic Roger Ebert died Thursday after struggling for years with cancer. He was 70 years old.

His thumb may have made him famous on TV, but Ebert was first and foremost a print journalist. He worked on newspapers in grade school, high school and college. With his acumen for writing came a love of movies — and on July 12, 2005, proclaimed Roger Ebert Day by the city of Chicago, he told a crowd of admirers why movies matter.

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5:52am

Fri March 22, 2013
Education

Chicago Teachers, Parents Riled By Plan To Close 54 Public Schools

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:43 pm

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks outside Mahalia Jackson Elementary School in Chicago about the planned closing of 54 public schools. Opponents say the plan will disproportionately affect minority students in the nation's third-largest school district.
M. Spencer Green AP

In Chicago, officials have released a long-feared list that places more than 50 schools on the chopping block. The public school district faces a $1 billion shortfall, and the mayor says many of the city's school buildings are half empty. Some angry parents and teachers say the plan will harm children and they'll fight to keep the schools open.

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3:38am

Fri March 15, 2013
Race

Game Of Change: Pivotal Matchup Helped End Segregated Hoops

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:14 pm

Mississippi State's Stan Brinker (53) and Loyola's Jerry Harkness (15) shake hands before the NCAA Mideast regional semifinal college basketball game in East Lansing, Mich., on March 15, 1963. The game was a landmark contest between the schools that helped alter race relations on the basketball court.
Loyola University Chicago AP

During the March Madness of 1963, playing was infused with politics. The NCAA matchup between Loyola University of Chicago and Mississippi State helped put an end to segregated basketball. Loyola's win 50 years ago became known as the "game of change."

At the time, college basketball was still predominantly white, with usually no more than two or three black players appearing on the floor at any one time. But in '63, the Loyola Ramblers' starting lineup featured four black players.

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4:10pm

Thu March 7, 2013
Theater

August Wilson's Words Get New Life In Monologue Contest

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:40 pm

Branndin Laramore (from left), Brian Weddington, Lia Miller and Ernesto Moreta pose after a recent rehearsal for the Chicago finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition.
Cheryl Corley NPR

When the stage lights go up at Chicago's Goodman Theatre on Monday evening, more than 20 high school students will each have a moment to step into the spotlight and perform a monologue from one of the plays written by the late August Wilson. Chicago's contest is one of several regional finals that strives to introduce students to the Pulitzer Prize winner's work. It's also a lead-up to the national August Wilson Monologue Competition that will be held on Broadway later this spring.

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3:01pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Television

An Oprah-less Chicago Tries To Keep Talk Show Spirit Alive

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm

Members of the studio audience wait outside Harpo Studios before the final taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago in May 2011.
Paul Beaty AP

It's been nearly two years since Oprah ended her daily show, and Chicago's been adjusting to the loss of the daytime talk queen. Although she left a huge void, there's no need to write an obituary for the TV talk genre in Chicago.

In the lobby of Chicago's NBC Towers, the crowd of excited fans gathered for a TV taping is reminiscent of the Oprah days of old. But instead of Oprah, they're lined up to see veteran comedian Steve Harvey's show.

"I like Steve's energy. I like his shows. He's funny. He covers all topics," says fan Deloris Neal.

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2:34pm

Wed February 13, 2013
Business

Airport Suites Offer Travelers A Place To Nap On The Fly

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 7:44 pm

Minute Suite's 7-by-8-feet rooms offer Wi-Fi, a sofa bed, a television and a workspace. One traveler compared the small spaces to having an MRI done, but others say the idea is overdue at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Courtesy of Minute Suites

When there's a big snowstorm or a plane has mechanical problems, airports often turn into uncomfortable holding pens, with people scrunched in chairs, lying on floors, filling up restaurants and otherwise trying to find something to do.

That's actually good news for one company. Minute Suites is building tiny airport retreats across the country. The suites are already operating in Atlanta and Philadelphia. Next up are Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

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1:07am

Tue February 5, 2013
Around the Nation

Gun Violence Robs Chicago Mother Of 4th Child

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 1:40 pm

Shirley Chambers cries during Monday's funeral for her son Ronnie Chambers, 33. She had four children, three boys and a girl, all victims of gun violence in Chicago over a period of 18 years.
John Gress Reuters/Landov

The gun violence that scars some Chicago neighborhoods has been a plague for one woman. Shirley Chambers first lost a child to gunfire in the mid 1990s. In 2000, a daughter and a son were shot to death just months apart. On Monday, Chambers buried her last child.

Nearly 500 people filled the pews, the choir lofts and hallways of St. Luke Church of God in Christ for the funeral of 33-year-old Ronnie Chambers, an aspiring music producer who died Jan. 26.

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4:16pm

Wed January 16, 2013
U.S.

Violence-Riddled Chicago Hopes Gun Proposals Will Help Shield It

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 5:16 am

Community leaders and family members of murder victims attend a press conference Jan. 3 at St. Sabina Church in Chicago to make a plea for stronger gun regulations.
Scott Olson Getty Images

As President Obama unveiled his gun control proposals Wednesday, he highlighted mass shootings at schools in Colorado, Virginia and Connecticut. He also mentioned another group of children, not in school — the ones on the street corners of Chicago.

Chicagoan Annette Holt was at the White House during Obama's address. Her teenage son, Blair, was shot to death five years ago on a Chicago bus as he shielded a fellow student from a spray of bullets.

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3:20am

Sat December 15, 2012
U.S.

A Vision For Chicago Public Housing, Stymied And Contested

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 11:43 am

The Lathrop Homes, pictured here in 2006, are part of the latest revamp effort by the Chicago Housing Authority.
Chicago Housing Authority

Chicago's $1.6 billion "Plan for Transformation" envisioned public housing in a way that would deconstruct an image of the city's poor all concentrated in huge housing silos.

The idea was to mix public-housing residents with market-rate condos and subsidized rentals or homes, with one-third of each in these new communities.

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4:37pm

Sat September 1, 2012
Politics

GOP Looks To Amp African-American Support

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 5:32 pm

Mia Love, the Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Barack Obama won more than 95 percent of the black vote in the last presidential election, and Democrats are expected to have a huge advantage this November. Even so, Republicans looked for ways to appeal to those voters at their convention in Tampa, Fla.

Though the convention hall was packed with delegates this week, it wasn't until gospel star Bebe Winans and the Tampa Bay City Life Church Chorus came on stage that there was any sizable number of African-Americans around.

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4:42am

Tue August 28, 2012
Election 2012

GOP Convention Delegates Ready To Roll In Tampa

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

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3:47pm

Thu August 23, 2012
Election 2012

Michelle Obama Focuses On Work Still To Be Done

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 5:35 pm

First lady Michelle Obama sits with guests as they eat lunch during a kids' state dinner at the White House on Monday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

This week, first lady Michelle Obama was doing something she loves to do, talking about nutrition with kids. She hosted the first state dinner for children, welcoming 54 of them and their parents to the White House.

"This is the hottest ticket at the White House, right here, because of all of you," Obama said to the children, who ranged in age from 8 to 12.

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4:20am

Sat July 28, 2012
U.S.

Hot, Dry, Tapped Out: Drought Shrivels Fun, Too

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 6:57 am

Don't call 'em greens: Some golf courses, such as this one in Syracuse, N.Y., are letting their signature green grass go to brown in an effort to save water.
Dennis Nett The Post-Standard/Landov

The drought that's hit huge swathes of the country is also draining the audiences for outdoor activities.

Just look at the Fox River, about 50 miles southwest of Chicago. Water swirls and plunges over a dam in Yorkville, Ill. Normally there'd be lots of folks canoeing or kayaking here, but not today.

"As you can see most of my canoes are just sitting," says Greg Freeman, the owner of Freeman Sports Shop.

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4:00am

Tue July 10, 2012
Race

NAACP Issues HIV-Aids Manual For Black Churches

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:41 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The number of African-Americans contracting HIV and AIDS runs considerably ahead of the rest of the population. And now the NAACP hopes to harness the power of the black church to help. During its annual convention this week, the civil rights group unveiled a new HIV/AIDS manual. As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, it's designed to help ministers talk to their congregations about the problem.

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