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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Around the Nation
3:23 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

A Red July 4th Weekend Leaves Dozens Of Casualties In Chicago

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 6:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Chicago, there were many shootings over the July 4 weekend. Police say nine Chicago residents were killed; more than 50 were injured. At least eight people who were shot were shot by police. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy says his department had a plan over the July 4 holiday that included putting hundreds of more officers on the city streets when and where they were needed.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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U.S.
2:18 am
Mon July 7, 2014

A Presidential Contest ... For Obama's Library

This undated file photo released by Obama for America shows Barack Obama teaching at the University of Chicago Law School in Chicago, where he was a faculty member for more than a decade. The university is contending for his presidential library.
AP

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:14 pm

There are 13 presidential Libraries in the United States run by the National Archives, and when President Obama leaves office, the construction of the 14th library won't be far behind.

A nonprofit foundation created to fund and build the Obama presidential library is already beginning to mull proposals from contenders who'd like to be home to the facility.

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Men In America
3:00 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

Chicago Students Enroll As Boys, And Graduate As College-Bound Men

In one of the waiting rooms of the Chicago Civic Opera House, Urban Prep graduates dance and let off some steam before the school's commencement ceremony begins.
Cheryl Corley/NPR

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 5:54 pm

This story is part of All Things Considered's "Men in America" series.

In America, nearly 40 percent of black boys live in poverty, and barely half will graduate from high school.

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Environment
2:21 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Why Those Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose Problem For Great Lakes

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan. Legislation to phase out products containing the beads is pending in New York and Illinois.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 2:19 pm

From the shoreline at North Avenue Beach in Chicago, the blue water of Lake Michigan stretches as far as the eye can see. But beneath that pristine image, there's a barely visible threat, says Jennifer Caddick of the Alliance for the Great Lakes: microbeads.

These tiny bits of plastic, small scrubbing components used in hundreds of personal care products like skin exfoliants and soap, can slip through most water treatment systems when they wash down the drain.

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Around the Nation
2:05 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Across The U.S., Bicycle Commuting Picks Up Speed

The ranks of bicycle commuters are growing, though men are almost three times more likely than women to ride to work.
Tobias Ackeborn iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 9:55 am

As bicycling goes, America is far behind Copenhagen, the promised land where roads look like bicycle highways as people pedal to work. But commuting by bike in the U.S. is catching on — though geographic, income and gender disparities persist.

In Chicago, busy Sheridan Road is the start of the Lakefront bike trail on its north side. That's where you can find plenty of bicyclists commuting to work early in the morning.

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U.S.
3:31 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Subminimum Wages For The Disabled: Godsend Or Exploitation?

Workers shrink-wrap products at the Sertoma Centre outside Chicago. Sertoma provides employment opportunities to about 250 people with disabilities through subcontracting jobs.
Courtesy of Sertoma Centre

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 4:37 pm

The president recently signed an executive order raising the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 for workers employed by federal contractors — including those with disabilities.

That's a victory for disabled workers who can make just pennies per hour at so-called sheltered workplaces.

While some call sheltered workshops a godsend, others say they are examples of good intentions gone wrong.

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U.S.
2:49 am
Wed April 9, 2014

States, Lawmakers Want Feds To Use New Math For FEMA Calculations

About 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by a tornado in Washington, Ill., last November. Some senators are pushing for a better disaster formula for communities to get financial help.
Tasos Katopodis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 7:02 am

It's no question the weather's been brutal for some communities, including Washington, Ill., a town of 15,000 in the central part of the state. When a tornado ripped through the area last November three people died and more than a thousand homes were damaged.

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Health Care
11:51 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Latinos Wary Of All-Out Push To Sign Up For ACA

Planned Parenthood worker Alicia Gonzales promotes the Affordable Care Act during an outreach event for the Latino community in Los Angeles in September.
Jonathan Alcorn Reuters /Landov

All throughout the country, supporters of the Affordable Care Act have worked to reach the uninsured, holding health fairs and putting ads on TV and radio.

The push continues to get as many enrolled as possible, especially Latinos — the most uninsured group in the country.

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Around the Nation
8:37 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Commuters Ditch Cars For Public Transit In Record Numbers

On a typical weekday, riders make a total of about 300,000 trips on the Chicago Metra commuter line.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 12:38 pm

During the morning rush at Chicago's Union Station, commuter trains pull in, the doors open and a crush of people, newspapers and coffee cups in hand, pour off like a flood.

Financial analyst Nader Kouklan says he makes the trip from the suburbs to Chicago's downtown every day.

"It's easier and just a faster way to get to work, rather than having to deal with the traffic of the morning commute," Kouklan says.

Law student Amalia Romano rides Chicago's Metra line, too.

"I take it because I don't want to pay $16 to park every day," Romano explains.

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Education
3:37 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

As a Test Gets Phased Out In Chicago, Some Boycott Its Final Year

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 5:31 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's testing time in Illinois today. Hundreds of thousands of students began taking state tests in math and science but some students, parents, even teachers are refusing. At dozens of schools in Chicago, they're staging a boycott, saying the tests don't matter. As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, it's part of a growing national debate over measuring student performance.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Boycott the ISAT. Let things be. Boycott the ISAT.

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Shots - Health News
2:49 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Flagging Down Taxi Drivers To Sign Up For Obamacare

Yuvania Maldonado, a counselor for President Obama's health care law, speaks with Chicago taxi driver Mohammad Chaudri at a city office where taxi drivers go to renew their license.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 7:04 am

Dan Ware has been driving a taxicab in Chicago for more than a decade, but he still doesn't have what many jobs offer: health insurance.

"I'm without health coverage," he says.

And that's not unusual, says Chicago Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair. "What we know in Chicago is that around 70 percent of taxi drivers are uninsured," Choucair says.

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Business
3:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Lots Of Little Credit Charges Add Up To One Big Scam

Many consumers don't check their credit card bills carefully — which makes it easy to miss fraudulent charges.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:29 pm

Would you notice an unexpected charge of $10 or less on your credit card statement? Lots of consumers don't — and scammers count on that, says Steve Barnas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in northern Illinois.

But Barnas says the Better Business Bureau is now hearing from consumers across the country about $9.84 credit charges for what look to be very innocuous purchases. But while they may seem legitimate, many are not.

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Around the Nation
4:00 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Big Cities See Violent Crime Rates Fall In 2013

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At the start of this new year, a number of cities in the United States, including its five largest, have a common story to tell about crime. In 2013, they all saw violent crime rates drop significantly. Some also saw murder rates drop to historic lows. From Chicago, NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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Around the Nation
2:30 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Despite The Headlines, Chicago's Crime Rate Fell In 2013

Pictures of Chicago residents who have died by gunfire are posted on the city's South Side.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 7:01 am

In 2013, Chicago newspapers and television stations kept a daily deadly count, listing those slain each day, most by gun violence. One of the most noted occurred early in the year when Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was shot and killed about a week after performing at inauguration events in Washington, D.C., with her high school band.

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Remembrances
3:42 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Remembering Chef Charlie Trotter, Chicago Fine-Dining Visionary

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:55 pm

For decades, Charlie Trotter's name was synonymous with cutting-edge cuisine. His Chicago restaurant was regarded as one of the finest in the world — a stellar accomplishment for the self-taught chef, who died Tuesday at age 54.

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Arts & Life
4:07 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

One Way For An Indie Bookstore To Last? Put Women 'First'

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 4:59 pm

As recently as 25 years ago, there were more than 100 self-described feminist bookstores in the U.S. — stores focusing on books written by and for women. Like most independent bookstores, though, their numbers have dropped dramatically over the years.

Chicago's Women and Children First is among the few feminist stores still standing, and one of the largest. The store opened 34 years ago in 1979. Now, after a long, successful run, the store's owners say they're ready to retire — and they're looking for a buyer to continue the store's mission.

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Around the Nation
2:09 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Proposed Minimum Sentencing Law In Illinois Faces Scrutiny

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says police have at least 108 examples of shootings or murders in 2013 alone that would not have happened if the proposed mandatory minimum sentencing law was in effect.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:45 am

In Illinois, you can face a prison term of one to three years if you use a weapon unlawfully. But you might serve only half that time, or you could get probation or even boot camp.

Chicago alone saw more than 500 murders last year, most by gunfire. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the current law is not what's needed to fight gun violence in the city.

"In fact, I would like to ... note that the same minimum penalty we have for a gun law is what we have for shoplifting," Emanuel has said.

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NPR Story
3:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

States Face Language Barriers To Health Exchange Sign Up

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

For millions of uninsured people, Tuesday is a big day. That's when they can start signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But for people who speak little or no English, it may be a difficult process. Illinois, which has one of the country's largest immigrant populations, is working to make sure that language is not a barrier to enroll in. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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Around the Nation
1:04 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Minneapolis Courts Chicago's Same-Sex Couples

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak took to a Chicago rooftop on Thursday to attract the city's gay and lesbian community to spend their wedding dollars in Minnesota.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 5:34 pm

With the skyline of Chicago behind him, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak stands on a rooftop plaza in Boystown, the heart of a predominantly gay community.

He's here on a recruiting mission. Minnesota legalized gay marriage just over a month ago, but Illinois' same-sex measure is stalled in its legislature. So now the mayor of Minneapolis is drumming up business for his city — setting his sight on millions of wedding dollars that could come from Illinois.

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Code Switch
4:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Bayard Rustin: The Man Who Organized The March On Washington

Activist Bayard Rustin points to a map during a press conference four days ahead of the March on Washington in August 1963.
AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:03 pm

The trailblazing strategist behind the 1963 March on Washington will this year be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That's a long way from the days when civil rights activists counted on Bayard Rustin's hard work, but tried to push him aside because he was gay.

For 60 years, Rustin fought for peace and equal rights — demonstrating, organizing and protesting in the United States and around the world.

'Strategic Nonviolence'

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Around the Nation
3:45 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 6:21 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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NPR Story
4:08 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

Measuring The African-American Financial Divide

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 6:07 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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Around the Nation
3:45 am
Mon June 24, 2013

In Chicago, Public Housing Experiment Enters New Phase

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

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:25 am

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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Education
6:12 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Losers In Chicago School Closings Target Elected Officials

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

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 11:54 am

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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Around the Nation
2:45 am
Mon May 6, 2013

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

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"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

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 7:25 pm

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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