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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: When you hear a headline like state budget standoff, it can be hard to remember that it's not just politics. It can affect average people in big ways. Illinois has been without a budget for eight months. The Republican governor and Democratic lawmakers have been fighting over how to move forward. State spending for many services continues under court order, but there's been no state aid for public...

More than a year ago, 18-year-old Michael Brown's death in a police shooting roiled the small town of Ferguson, Mo., and sparked nationwide protests. Recovery and negotiations have been going on since then, but residents have different ideas about how the city should move forward. Next week, a negotiated settlement between the city and the Justice Department overhauling the department's practices will come up for a city council vote. Ferguson residents such as Blake Ashby argued during a...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: For more than seven months, there's been a budget impasse in Illinois, and there's no sign of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers coming to terms. Today, in his State of the State address, Rauner called for serious negotiation, but made little mention of the state's financial crisis. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Education, criminal justice reforms and other...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: We're also tracking a different sort of crisis in the state of Illinois. It has the dubious distinction of having the worst-funded pensions and lowest credit rating of any state. And a seven-month-long standoff between the Republican governor and Democratic legislature is not helping. There is no budget for the state of Illinois. And today the governor delivers his State of the State address. NPR's...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: From crumbling infrastructure to community policing, many of the nation's toughest challenges confront the country's mayors. And many of them are in Washington at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. As they focused on public safety today, there was a surprise. Protesters called for one of them to resign. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Surrounded by her colleagues, Baltimore mayor...

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been fending off increasing calls for his resignation. There's also an effort underway to develop a recall law that would allow voters to replace Emanuel before the next election. "On the defensive" was not a phrase often associated with Emanuel, but that has changed since the city released a video of the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald . There have been protests in Chicago for weeks . Demonstrators have gathered downtown and even in...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is cutting short his vacation in Cuba and returning home tomorrow, and this move comes after Chicago police shot and killed a student and a grandmother over the weekend. Both victims were black. Now, in a written statement released today, Emanuel announced additional reforms for the police department. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports on the mayor's proposed changes. CHERYL CORLEY,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. The country witnessed another year of widespread protests, many of them sparked by the deaths of young people of color in encounters with police. Now activists in cities are gearing up for their next steps in 2016. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Baltimore, Minneapolis, Madison, Wisc., those are...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Large crowds of people are protesting in downtown Chicago today calling for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down. UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Rahm, resign. Rahm, resign. Rahm, resign. MCEVERS: It's a continuation of protests that started two weeks ago after the release of a dash cam video that showed a white police officer killing an unarmed black teenager. Today, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel apologized...

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

After months of negotiations, the battle over locker room access for a transgender student in Illinois ended late last night when Township High School District 211 — about 30 miles northwest of Chicago — approved a deal with the Department of Education. For nearly three hours, the board met in a closed session — ultimately voting yes on the agreement which allows the transgender student to use private areas within the locker room. While the agreement ends the threat of the district losing...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: In Chicago, there has been a change in the leadership of the police department. That's after the release of a video that showed a white police officer shooting a young black man to death which led to calls for senior officials to resign. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel told a packed room of reporters that he was responsible for what had happened in this...

For high school students looking to choose a college, grade-point averages and test scores may weigh heavily on their minds. But campus atmosphere may not be far behind given recent demonstrations on college campuses across the country. Students at the University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia were the forefront of a wave of protests over racist incidents and the reaction of school officials. For some high school students, those protests make racial relations factor highly in their...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: A school district in Illinois is at the center of one of the latest battles over the rights of transgender students. The U.S. Department of Education says the district about 30 miles northwest of Chicago is violating the rights of a student who identifies as female by not allowing her unrestricted use of the girls' locker room. The district now has a month to change its policy or risk losing millions...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Today was a day of reckoning for former House speaker Dennis Hastert. The former Illinois congressman's legacy as the longest-serving Republican speaker is now in shreds. Hastert pleaded guilty to violating federal banking rules when he paid nearly $2 million to an unnamed individual. Here's NPR's Cheryl Corley. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Flanked by two attorneys, 73-year-old Dennis Hastert, white-haired...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: A rally in Washington tomorrow will focus on the challenges facing people of color. It's a commemoration of one of the largest gatherings in the nation's history, the Million Man March. Twenty years ago, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, urged African-American men to travel to the nation's capital. Farrakhan was divisive then and continues to be, still making anti-Semitic, racist and...

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have become an everyday part of life for many young people — and increasingly, the way some, including rival gang members, threaten each other. The practice is called "cyber banging," and it's often led to fights and even death. Jaime, 17, has been in a gang for two years and is trying to leave. NPR agreed to use only his first name for his safety. Logging onto a computer at the YMCA of Metro Chicago, he clicks on a video in his Facebook feed. It shows a group of...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: This year, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel got himself re-elected after a tough campaign. And now comes a tough question of governing. Candidates did not talk much about higher property taxes during the campaign, but now the mayor wants Chicago aldermen to approve a tax increase. The mayor says the tax hike is the best way to address deep financial problems caused in part by Chicago's underfunded pensions....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Winning a big lottery prize can be a dream come true. In Illinois, it's more like a dream deferred. That's because lawmakers and the state's governor can't agree on a budget. Lottery officials say anyone who wins more than $25,000 can't be paid until that budget is in place. NPR's Cheryl Corley sent this report. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: At a corner convenience store on Chicago's North Side, people are...

Parents, teachers and activists are fighting to defend a high school the Chicago Public School Board voted to close several years ago. They say officials who called for proposals on what type of school to reopen are ignoring their plan. Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There have been big battles over education in Chicago in recent years, including a school strike and one of the largest school closures in U.S. history. Now a small...

Many chefs dream of opening their own restaurant. But Laura Martinez faced an obstacle that many people thought would make that dream impossible to fulfill: The 31-year-old chef is blind. It took two years for Martinez to open La Diosa , her tiny restaurant in Chicago, this past January. In addition to her white chef's jacket, Martinez wears dark sunglasses when she works. The soft-spoken chef traces her passion for cooking to a few things. First, there were the knives: "I always loved knives...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: We're tracking a story that had the potential to change college football. The National Labor Relations Board answered a big question about college football, but answered in a small way. The board dismissed an effort to unionize football players at Northwestern University. It says allowing only one school to unionize could destabilize college football. But the board avoided the big question - whether...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: College football players cannot unionize - at least for now. Today, the National Labor Relations Board dismissed a case brought by football players at Northwestern University. They had argued that student athletes are actually employees who should be able to join a union. NPR's Cheryl Corley has the story. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: It could have been the first union for college athletes - the College...

How can you tell if a city has come back from a tragedy as devastating as Hurricane Katrina? Ten years after the levees failed in New Orleans, and the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, whipped up by Hurricane Katrina, flooded most of the city, New Orleans residents say there's been much progress since then. A new NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that a majority surveyed — 54 percent — says New Orleans has mostly recovered, measured by returning population, new housing, jobs, infrastructure...

Editor's Note: This story contains strong language that some may find offensive. The smell of blood hung in the air where 17-year-old Gerald Morgan was shot, as firefighters began washing down the sidewalk around the front door of a home in New Orleans East last month. Police say at least two gunmen jumped out of a car, opened fire, ran near a two-story house and kept shooting, also hitting a 4-year-old boy inside. The teenager died at the hospital. The boy was listed in stable condition....

No one is certain exactly how the protest chant "hands up, don't shoot" got started, though Tory Russell says he has a good idea. Russell is co-founder of Hands Up United, an activist group which formed after the death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., last August. "It came after Dorian Johnson, the guy that was with Mike Brown, and others said that Mike Brown had his hands up," Russell says. As residents gathered...

Businesses in Ferguson, Mo., are bracing as the city prepares for peaceful protests marking the first anniversary since it was embroiled in violence following the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Brown was unarmed when he was shot by a police officer on Aug. 9. In November, many businesses were looted, vandalized and set on fire after a grand jury decided to not indict Wilson. Since then businesses have been working to rebuild. There are two main business districts in Ferguson, one in the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: In a blistering report, the U.S. Justice Department has slammed the juvenile justice system in St. Louis County. It says the courts violate the constitutional rights of all children and routinely discriminate against black children. Today's announcement comes after a nearly two-year long investigation. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports from St. Louis. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: For several months now, there's...

You wouldn't expect to pay a local tax when you stream a movie on Netflix, but Chicago has decided that such cloud-based services should be taxed just like tickets for live entertainment. There was no debate or public hearing over the city's "cloud tax" — a 9 percent tax on streaming entertainment like Netflix and Spotify. The city says that's because the tax isn't new and is actually a clarification — not an expansion of two taxes that have long been in effect. One is called the Personal...

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