Cheryl Corley

Based in NPR's Chicago Bureau, Cheryl Corley travels throughout the Midwest covering issues and events from Ohio to South Dakota as a National Desk reporter.

In recent years, Corley has reported on the political turmoil of Illinois state government surrounding the impeachment and trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, the campaign and election of President Barack Obama, the battle over the Senate seat he once held and Chicago's losing effort to land the 2016 Olympics. She reported on the housing boom and bust, on efforts to revamp public housing and a new approach to home building — miniaturization. Her story about designer living in extraordinarily tiny homes on wheels became one of NPR's top emailed stories.

In 2005, Corley was among the group of NPR reporters covering the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as they tore through the Gulf Coast. Five years later she returned to the area 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, Tell Me More, the weekend edition of All Things Considered 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, with a Bachelor of Arts degree 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 also serves on the board as Acting President of the Association for Women Journalists in Chicago.

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4:30pm

Tue May 12, 2015
Politics

Chicago Wins Bid For Obama Presidential Library

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 7:22 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:31pm

Tue May 5, 2015
U.S.

From Oakland To Baltimore, Lessons Learned From Cities Of Unrest

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 6:07 pm

Public memorials, like the one at the scene where Freddie Gray was arrested, have become sites to commemorate other deaths of unarmed black men in similar police encounters across the country.
David Goldman AP

The images from Baltimore of demonstrations, police in riot gear, looting and outbreaks of violence are familiar to some other cities after encounters with police ended in death for unarmed individuals — primarily black men.

Officials say what comes from those tragic encounters can be important lessons about policing and moving forward.

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4:21am

Mon April 6, 2015
Race

Ferguson Activists Hope That Momentum Sparks A National Movement

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 12:21 pm

Ferguson activists march through downtown St. Louis during a protest last month.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Since August, several U.S cities have been at the center of protests about policing and race. Activists in Ferguson, Mo., demonstrated for months in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old killed by a white police officer last summer. They also have demanded resignations and pushed for new laws in what organizers say is the start of a national movement for justice.

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2:19pm

Thu March 5, 2015
Law

Ferguson Police Begin Reform Following DOJ Report, Mayor Says

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:16pm

Thu February 19, 2015
Around the Nation

Chicago's Historic Pullman District Becomes National Monument

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 8:13 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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5:04am

Tue February 17, 2015
Politics

Pre-Election, Chicago Mayor Emanuel Loses African-American Support

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 7:58 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:35pm

Wed February 11, 2015
Sports

Chicago Little League Team Stripped Of U.S. Championship

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 6:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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3:51am

Thu February 5, 2015
Around the Nation

A Chicago Community Puts Mixed-Income Housing To The Test

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 2:38 pm

A resident of Lathrop Homes leaves one of the few occupied buildings in the development. The city wants to redevelop the public housing as mixed use, and offered vouchers to encourage residents to relocate.
Cheryl Corley NPR

Right next to the Chicago River on the city's North Side, Lathrop Homes, with its black, white and Latino residents, is considered the city's most diverse public housing.

It's also on the National Register of Historic Places. And with 925 low-rise units on about 30 acres, it's big. But these days, only a fraction of those apartments are occupied.

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2:43am

Mon December 29, 2014
Environment

Road Salt Contributes To Toxic Chemical Levels In Streams

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 10:05 am

Salt is unloaded at a maintenance yard in Scio Township, Mich., in September.
Carlos Osorio AP

This is the time of year when it's not uncommon to see big trucks barreling down highways and streets spreading road salt.

Steve Corsi, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, says that translates into high levels of chloride concentrations for rivers like the Milwaukee in Wisconsin or 18 other streams near urban areas in Illinois, Ohio, Colorado and several other states.

"At many of the streams, concentrations have now exceeded those that are harmful to aquatic life," he says.

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5:01am

Fri December 12, 2014
Race

Even Under Obama, Black Activist Says Every Inch Of Progress Is A Fight

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 7:02 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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5:10pm

Mon November 24, 2014
Around the Nation

Grand Jury Decision Apparently Imminent In Ferguson, Mo.

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 10:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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7:55am

Sat November 22, 2014
Race

Ferguson Braces For Grand Jury Decision

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 3:52 pm

Some businesses in Ferguson have boarded up their windows in anticipation of the grand jury announcement whether to criminally charge Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Jeff Roberson AP

It's not certain that a grand jury decision in a Ferguson, Mo., case will be announced this weekend, but officials, protesters and city leaders have been preparing.

The grand jury, which will decide whether a white police officer who shot an unarmed black 18-year-old will face charges, met behind closed doors Friday. The city is bracing for what comes next.

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4:53am

Fri October 24, 2014
Around the Nation

With Ferguson Protests, 20-Somethings Become First-Time Activists

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 11:18 am

Dontey Carter (from left), Mel Moffitt, Lenard Smith, Ned Alexander and Allen Frazier are all members of the Lost Voices group, formed after Michael Brown's death in August. They say they want to ensure justice for Michael Brown and other unarmed individuals killed by police officers.
Cheryl Corley NPR

In the weeks after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., protesters gathered daily at the site of a burned-out convenience store.

About a block away, the empty lot of a boarded-up restaurant became the campsite for a group of young activists called the Lost Voices. During the protests, the group "invited all the people who can't come out every day and wanted to share the experience with us," says Lenard Smith.

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4:31pm

Thu October 23, 2014
Around the Nation

In Missouri, A Tale Of Two Fergusons

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 6:35 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

3:27am

Mon September 29, 2014
A Closer Look At Sexual Assaults On Campus

HBCUs Move To Address Campus Sexual Assaults, But Is It Enough?

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 7:17 am

When it comes to studying sexual violence, college surveys often don't include students at historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. But one major study found sexual assaults are lower on those campuses than others.

Some question those numbers and whether HBCUs have the resolve to openly address the issue of campus rape.

Of the 100 HBCUs in the country, Morgan State University in Baltimore ranks in the top 15 for academics.

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5:07pm

Sat August 16, 2014
Around the Nation

To Combat Looting In Ferguson, Mo. Governor Institutes Curfew

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:39 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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4:57pm

Fri August 15, 2014
Law

Ferguson Officer's Motives In Police Shooting Remain Murky

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 8:02 pm

New information was released Friday about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo. The police chief finally released the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown and an incident report listing Brown as a suspect in a recent convenience store robbery. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is promising a full investigation.

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5:36pm

Thu August 14, 2014
Around the Nation

Ferguson Braces For New Night Of Clashes, As Leaders Call For Peace

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 6:35 pm

A fifth night of violence erupted in a St. Louis suburb, as Ferguson police again clashed with protesters. Community frustration has only escalated since the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager on Saturday. Ferguson's police chief called for calm, while reiterating that he will not release the name of the officer who shot Brown. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also spoke out for more peaceful relations between police and protesters.

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5:05pm

Sun August 10, 2014
Code Switch

At 73, Man Finally Gets Diploma Denied For Defying Segregation

Originally published on Sun August 10, 2014 5:42 pm

Alva Earley shows off his diploma after receiving it from Galesburg Superintendent Bart Arthur.
Evan Temchin Knox College

There was no pomp and circumstance, no procession with classmates, but on Friday a school district in Illinois finally handed Alva Early his high school diploma — more than five decades after he attended Galesburg High School.

In 1959, Galesburg banned Earley from graduating and denied him a diploma after he and other African-Americans had a picnic in a park that was unofficially off-limits to blacks.

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7:39am

Thu July 24, 2014
U.S.

Iowa Mayor Calls For 'Caring Cities' To Take In Young Immigrants

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:44 pm

Bill Gluba, the mayor of Davenport, is trying to find appropriate sites that could serve as shelters for Central American minors.
pioneer98 Flickr

Thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have been crossing the Southern border of the U.S. over the past few months.

That's led to protests and debates — not only in the Southwest but across the country, as children have been given shelter in cities and towns that are sometimes quite far from the border.

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4:08pm

Wed July 23, 2014
Around the Nation

Faced With Undocumented Minors, Iowa Is Wrenched By Stark Divide

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:36 pm

Although the governor of Iowa says that unaccompanied minors from Central America should not find shelter in his state, more than 100 are already there. But the mayor of Des Moines, the state's largest city, and many religious leaders are at odds with the governor. They say Iowa should be welcoming and help children in need.

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4:07pm

Mon July 7, 2014
Around the Nation

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

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 7:56 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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3:18am

Mon July 7, 2014
U.S.

A Presidential Contest ... For Obama's Library

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:14 pm

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

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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4:00pm

Fri July 4, 2014
Men In America

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

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 6:27 pm

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

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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3:21am

Wed May 21, 2014
Environment

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

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 3:19 pm

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

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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3:05am

Thu May 15, 2014
Around the Nation

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

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:55 am

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

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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4:03pm

Tue April 29, 2014
Law

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

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 1:05 pm

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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4:31am

Wed April 23, 2014
U.S.

Subminimum Wages For The Disabled: Godsend Or Exploitation?

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 5:37 pm

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

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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3:49am

Wed April 9, 2014
U.S.

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

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 8:02 am

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

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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12:51pm

Sat March 29, 2014
Health Care

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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