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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Law
2:03 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

New York And Chicago Bring E-Cigs Under Umbrella Of Tobacco Laws

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 11:05 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

No smoking signs now have an expanded meaning in Chicago and New York. The image of a cigarette in a red circle with a line through it now applies to e-cigarettes, too. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports on the new laws that went into effect in both cities today.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: At a shop called Smoque on Chicago's North Side, there's no tobacco. Instead, says owner Jared Yucht, it's a store full of batteries for e-cigarettes and different-flavored e-liquids that are manufactured there.

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Around the Nation
2:22 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

After Violent Weekend, Feds Create Unit To Combat Chicago Crime

The Chicago skyline. The city's police chief says his officers can't keep up with the number of illegal weapons on the city's streets.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 5:15 pm

The new U.S. attorney in Chicago is making good on a promise to focus on Chicago street violence. The announcement of a federal violent crimes unit comes in the aftermath of a violent Easter weekend in the city that left nine dead and dozens more wounded.

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Around the Nation
3:23 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Chicago Doctor Among Those Killed In Afghan Hospital Attack

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

In Afghanistan yesterday, a security guard open fire at a hospital. He killed three American doctors including a pediatrician from Chicago. Dr. Jerry Umanos was a religious man who traveled often to Afghanistan to train younger doctors. He wanted to make sure people everywhere had good access to medical care.

NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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U.S.
2:31 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 3:37 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.
1:49 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 6:02 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
10:51 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
7:37 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 11:38 am

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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U.S.
3:39 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Move To Honor Prohibition-Era 'Untouchable' Hits A Snag

Eliot Ness is credited with assembling a team of federal agents who took down Al Capone in Chicago in the 1930s.
The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Eliot Ness, the famed Prohibition-era agent often credited with bringing down the empire of Chicago mobster Al Capone, is perhaps best known to many from fictional portrayals on the big and small screens.

Although Ness is a legendary figure, some politicians are debating whether the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington should bear his name.

Ness began his career as a Prohibition agent in 1926. Four years later, he was the special agent in charge of going after Capone's bootlegging operation.

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Around the Nation
3:12 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Law Aims To Keep Chicago From Becoming Petcoke Dumping Ground

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Refineries looking for a place to store an ashy petroleum byproduct called pet coke can cross Chicago off their list. A new, tough city ordinance bans new storage facilities and prevents existing ones from expanding.

NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Before pet coke is shipped overseas where it's burned as fuel, huge piles of it are often stored in open air facilities. Residents in Detroit complained so much about swirling pet coke dust, it ordered a company to move the piles out.

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Education
2:37 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 4:31 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
1:49 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 6:04 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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Around the Nation
2:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Frigid Winter Tempts Midwesterners To Try Walking On (Frozen) Water

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Today, the Midwest got a reprieve from this winter's bitter cold. But that long, deep freeze has created so much ice cover on the Great Lakes that it's near record levels. It's also really tempting for many people who want to walk out on the ice.

As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports while that may be fun, it is also dangerous.

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Business
2:15 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 9:29 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
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Dangerously Low Wind Chills Pummel Much Of U.S.

"Historic" — that's one of the terms being used to describe the brutally cold temperatures across the Midwest and other parts of the country. Some temperatures are the lowest recorded in two decades, many in the single digits or below zero with wind chills predicted as low as minus 50.

Around the Nation
3:13 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Big Cities See Violent Crime Rates Fall In 2013

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:43 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
1:30 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 6:01 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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Around the Nation
3:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Chicago Public Schools Safety Program's Working, But For How Long?

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Chicago, the mayor and school officials say that they're making good on a promise to keep students safe after closing nearly 50 schools. Parents worried about children having to cross rival gang territory to attend new schools. But now, two and a half months into the school year, the district says its program, Safe Passage, is living up to its name.

NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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Remembrances
2:42 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Remembering Chef Charlie Trotter, Chicago Fine-Dining Visionary

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 12:55 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
3:07 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

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

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 3:59 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
1:09 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 10:45 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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Health Care
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Ill. Governor Touts Health Exchange Legislature Rejected

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Amidst all this talk of a government shutdown, another big story has gotten less attention today. It's the first day people can sign up for health coverage on the new insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. To get a sense of how things are going, we'll hear several reports throughout the program. In a moment, we'll take you to Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has fought hard against the law.

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Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

States Face Language Barriers To Health Exchange Sign Up

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
12:04 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 4:34 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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Around the Nation
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Syrian-Americans Encourage U.S. Strike Against Assad Regime

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For Syrian Americans, the situation in Syria is emotionally wrenching and the prospect of U.S. intervention leaves them torn. NPR's Cheryl Corley talked with two Syrian Americans in Chicago's suburbs about their hopes and concerns.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: In Dr. Zahur Salool's(ph) medical office, he and a colleague are setting up a computer and cellphone to make a Skype phone call to another physician in Syria.

ZAHUR SALOOL: We're trying to make some connections. Can we plug the microphone in?

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Education
3:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Chicago School Closures Send Kids Through Dangerous Areas

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The start of the school year in Chicago on Monday comes with extra challenges. Fifty of the city's schools were closed over the summer, leading parents to worry that students would have to walk through neighborhoods where gun violence has been rampant. So the district made a promise it would provide safe routes to schools using an expanded version of a program call Safe Passage. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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Code Switch
3:44 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 2:03 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
2:45 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

'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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Education
2:51 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Chicago Schools Hit With New Round Of Layoffs

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 4:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Today the Chicago Public School District began contacting more than 2,000 teachers and other employees to let them know they no longer have jobs. It's the second round of massive layoffs this year in Chicago. The teacher's union there calls it a bloodbath. Here's NPR's Cheryl Corley.

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Around the Nation
3:27 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Deadline Nears For Illinois To Allow Concealed Weapons

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:36 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Illinois is the last state in the country to prohibit gun owners from carrying concealed weapons. Now, state lawmakers have just one day left to meet a court order to change that. They'll meet tomorrow to consider revisions to a bill that would allow Illinois citizens to carry concealed guns in public. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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NPR Story
3:08 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

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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