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.


The Salt
3:49 pm
Mon August 24, 2015

Chef Wants Diners To Remember Her Cooking, Not Her Blindness

Laura Martinez may be the only blind chef in the country running her own restaurant. La Diosa opened in January. Martinez was hired directly out of culinary school by acclaimed Chicago chef Charlie Trotter and worked for him until his restaurant closed in 2012.
Cheryl Corley NPR

Originally published on Mon August 24, 2015 7:17 pm

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.

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NPR Story
7:42 am
Sat August 15, 2015

In Measuring Post-Katrina Recovery, A Racial Gap Emerges

A woman walks along the rebuilt Industrial Canal levee wall in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward on May 18.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 17, 2015 10:41 am

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 and quality of life.

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NPR Story
5:32 pm
Tue August 11, 2015

New Orleans' Overall Crime Rate Has Fallen. Why Are People So Frustrated?

Officers with the Louisiana State Police patrol in New Orleans' French Quarter. Ordinary residents feel their neighborhoods need more protection, and they are frustrated by stepped-up efforts in key tourist areas such as the French Quarter.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 11:04 am

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. Police have not offered a theory for the cause of the shooting.

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Around the Nation
8:50 am
Sat August 8, 2015

Whether History Or Hype, 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Endures

Demonstrators in St. Louis, Mo., protest the killing of Michael Brown.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 9, 2015 10:16 pm

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.

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Around the Nation
4:51 pm
Thu August 6, 2015

Ferguson Businesses Struggle To Rebuild Post-Riots

Sam's Meat Market was looted and vandalized at least three times during the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., last year.
Cheryl Corley NPR

Originally published on Fri August 7, 2015 9:37 am

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.

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4:04 am
Thu July 9, 2015

White House Announces Rule Strengthening Fair Housing Practices

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 1:15 pm

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Around the Nation
4:03 am
Fri June 19, 2015

Charleston Prayer Vigil Honors 9 Victims Of Deadly Church Shooting

Originally published on Sat June 20, 2015 12:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



It's in details from South Carolina that you sense a community insisting on its humanity in the face of awful news. The news was the killing of nine people in a Charleston church.


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Performing Arts
3:05 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

'The Projects' Explores The Evolution Of Chicago's Public Housing System

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 5:53 pm

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4:28 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Hastert Indictment Concerns Ex-Speaker's Time Before Congress, Reports Say

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 5:20 pm

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3:34 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Chicago Wins Bid For Obama Presidential Library

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 6:22 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit