Sean Crawford

Chatham

Community Advisory Board, Ex-Officio

Sean has led the NPR Illinois news operations since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to do so in the station's history, Rich Bradley. Prior to taking over the News Department, Sean worked as Statehouse Bureau Chief for NPR Illinois and other Illinois Public Radio stations. He spent more than a dozen years on the capitol beat.

Sean  began his broadcasting career at his hometown station in Herrin, Illinois while still in high school.  It was there he learned to cover local government, courts and anything else that made the news.  He spent time in the Joliet area as News Director and Operations Manager for a radio station and worked for a chain of weekly newspapers for two years.  Along with news coverage, he reported heavily on sports and did on-air play by play. 

Sean holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

  The heartbreaking story of Yingying Zhang is told in an award winning documentary.  It gives an intimate look at the University of Illinois student who was kidnapped and murdered in 2017.   

The film introduces viewers to Yingying through personal writings and shows the toll her death has taken on her family and friends.  We talk with the director.    

  The news hit like an earthquake in state government this week.  Michael Madigan, who was first elected Illinois House Speaker in 1983, stepped aside when it became clear he couldn't obtain the needed votes from his own Democratic members.  We look back at what happened and reflect on Madigan's career.

Remote learning has been a bumpy experiment for many teachers, students and parents.  We detail some of the problems it has exposed and some lighter moments from online schooling.

And, now that it's legal to grow, is hemp closer to becoming the cash crop many have touted?  

  Reporting on gun violence in Chicago primarily focuses only on those killed.  But shooting survivors often struggle to come to terms with what happened.  In some cases, it takes years to overcome the trauma.  Others never get past it.  A shooting survivor shares his story. 

Illinois was struggling to attract and keep teachers prior to last year.  The pandemic has made things worse.  We'll hear some possible solutions. 

  It has been a year since Illinois legalized recreational adult use cannabis.  And despite the pandemic, marijuana sales beat expectations.  We'll hear from a reporter who covers the industry about where it goes from here.

We'll also learn about a mental health crisis clinic in central Illinois.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

Our lineup:

* Jennifer Fuller with WSIU interviews author Laurent Prenot about his book that chrionicles how many Illinois communities got their names. 

On this episode of Statewide, the Bergner's chain liquidated in 2018, the final chapter in a retail history that dated back to the 1800s.  For some communities, Bergner's was a an anchor store in a shopping mall.  In Peoria, where it all began, the name meant a lot more.  We'll talk with a Peoria journalist about Bergner's -- from its start through its heyday -- and how it all ended.

We'll also recall the holiday shopping traditions at the former Marshall Field's in Chicago. 

And we'll look back on the year in Springfield with various community leaders and their hopes for 2021 in the capital city.  

It was a foggy, rainy night December 13, 1977. The University of Evansville's men's basketball team boarded a planed, heading for an away game.  But soon after takeoff, the plane crashed killing all 29 people aboard.  We'll hear from those on the scene and a documentary about that tragic event. 

We'll also listen to a nurse, who explains the difficulty of doing her job in a pandemic. 

And Amanda Knox, who was exonerated after her wrongful conviction in a high profile murder case, talks with us about her experience and concerns about prosecutors, the court system and the media.    

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.  

An analysis of COVID-19 data shows not-for-profit nursing homes in Illinois have done a better job at controlling coronavirus infections and deaths than other facilities. But when it comes to choosing one over the other, it's not so simple.  

We'll also get caught up on a political scandal that has shaken Illinois politics. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.<--break->

This week's lineup:

The Illinois Senate Democrats will keep their new leader in the new year. Don Harmon of Oak Park became Senate President earlier this year when former President John Cullerton retired.

Harmon’s caucus supported him during a private meeting Thursday.  

The Senate Democrats saw a drawn-out internal battle to replace Cullerton, but ultimately Harmon was elected. Since then, however, the caucus seems to have united behind him. There has been more churn in other caucuses.

The pandemic has forced more students and teachers to go online.  That hasn't been easy.  But it's also a challenge for parents, juggling work and making sure their kids keep up with their studies.  A reporter shares her story.

We also look back at an incident in Springfield involving President John F. Kennedy, one year before his assassination. 

That and more on this week's Statewide.

Hospital beds across the state continue to fill with COVID-19 patients, and an investigation has been announced to look into the deadly breakout in the LaSalle Veterans' Home.  Michael Madigan says he has no intention of stepping down as House Speaker, although he may not have the votes needed to keep that position the next time the Legislature meets.

WBEZ's Dave McKinney joins the panel this week.

Illinois will borrow $2 billion more from the Federal Reserve to pay bills associated with COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.

In a divided country, it's easy to point fingers and throw around blame.  Those who work in government are often targets.  But a new award will recognize those who do the public good.  Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar joins us to talk about the award named after him and the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon.

And we'll learn about two middle-aged white women, who refer to themselves as vandals, for taking it upon themselves to change the name of a park that honored a former slaveholder.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

The coronavirus knows no age limits.  This week on Statewide, we bring you the story of Dani Kater,  McLean County's youngest victim.  Her family recalls a woman in her 30's with no underlying health conditions who passed away this month.

We'll also hear how the pandemic has made it more difficult for those battling addiction.  But also why some say treatment has prepared them for what was to come. 

And a conversation with the next Illinois Senate Republican Leader. 

A proposal to change Illinois' constitution was unsuccessful this week.  It would have shifted Illinois away from a flat income tax, where everyone pays the same rate, to a graduated system with higher rates for wealthier individuals.  The governor made it a cornerstone of his effort to improve the state's budget picture. 

Why did it fail and how will it impact J.B. Pritzker's political capital going forward?  

That story and more on this week's Statewide.

Will the coronavirus pandemic change how cities are designed in the future?  Some urban planners think so.  We'll hear their ideas.  

We'll learn why some parts of Illinois are doing better at handling COVID-19 than others. 

And, we'll find out what it's like to be a contact tracer.  It's considered a crucial job in maintaining public health, but workers can sometimes be the target of hostility.   

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

High school basketball in Illinois along with hockey and wrestling won't take place as scheduled as the state struggles against a resurgence of COVID-19.

  On this episode, we chat with some college freshmen about what their experience with higher education has been during the pandemic.  Some are questioning if they are getting what they pay for.

A doctor speaks with us about the latest COVID-19 numbers and what might lie ahead as colder weather approaches.

We also learn about individuals performing outreach in Chicago to prevent violence.   Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

 

Our lineup:

Illinois' plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine will initially target health care providers, first responders and those associated with vulnerable populations, like nursing home employees and residents.  But many uncertainties remain, including a timetable.

As voters continue to cast ballots in Illinois, a key part of the state's financial picture is being decided.  A constitutional amendment that would swap Illinois' flat income tax for a graduated tax, with a different rate for higher earners, is seen as a way to shore up Illinois' budget.  But how much would it help the state?  And what happens if the proposal fails?   We'll have a discussion.

We'll hear about the brief time Illinois had a graduated tax and why that changed.

Also, a reporting investigation has uncovered more details about COVID-19 outbreaks in Illinois - where they've occurred and some of the reasons why.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

On this week's episode, while we are in the midst of election season, more newspapers are choosing to forego the traditional political endorsement process.  There are different reasons for the decision, We'll hear from an Illinois editor about why her paper has followed this trend.   

Billed as an improvisational comedy enterprise, Second City has launched careers of some of the biggest comedians in recent decades.  Now, it's up for sale.  We'll have a report from Chicago. 

And have you noticed more stinkbugs in recent years?  The invasive pest can be damaging to crops and they want to spend the winter in your home.  Those stories and more on Statewide.

On this episode of Statewide, we examine the worries over how COVID-19 could impact homeless shelters as the weather turns colder.  Also, after more than six months in a pandemic, COVID fatigue has set in for many.  We'll get some tips for how to deal with the stress.

We'll learn about equine therapy helping veterans facing emotional trouble. And an update on a courthouse, slated for demolition, but mired in a court battle. Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

On this episode of Statewide, outdoor dining has allowed many restaurants to survive during the pandemic.  But what will happen as the temperature drops?  We'll have a report.

Former Gov. George Ryan explains how he came to the decision to put a hold on the death penalty in Illinois.  And, we'll tell you about a grassroots movement to shed more light on police work.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

This week on Statewide, we take a look at the growing problem of food insecurity.  It's an issue in big cities and small towns and the economic hardships created this year have made it worse.  We'll learn about some efforts being made to help.

And, with many schools going remote, that's left working parents in a bind when it comes to finding child care and being able to afford it.  

That and more on this episode.

Amid growing calls to allow contact sports to resume this fall, Illinois’ governor Tuesday appeared to double down on postponement of the seasons.

This week, a special Illinois House committee began investigating House Speaker Madigan’s alleged role in a decade-long bribery scheme involving Commonwealth Edison.  Meanwhile, Senate President Don Harmon's office was subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney.  And billionaire Ken Griffin is spending money to fight the proposed graduated income tax amendment.

The Chicago Tribune's Jaime Munks and Professor of State Politics at the University of Illinois at Chicago Chris Mooney join the panel.

On this episode, we recall Chicago's own Steve Goodman, the songwriter who died 36 years ago this month.  He left behind a catalog of work, but is probably best known for the song played after a Chicago Cubs home victory - "Go Cubs Go."  

Also, we find out how misinformation about the coronavirus can spread so rapidly.  And, a southern Illinois couple tells their account of growing up amid segregation.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

This week, confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have spiked on university campuses throughout the state.  Meanwhile, many kids are beginning the new school year with virtual, remote learning only.  And the Illinois House has created a committee to look into possible wrongdoing by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Illinois Newsroom's Lee Gaines, WNIJ's Peter Medlin, and WGLT's Dana Vollmer join the panel.

The coronavirus disease can lead to physical problems. But emotional ones as well. On this episode, we hear from those who have contracted COVID-19 and what they've experienced.

Learning more about Emmett Till, from his cousin who grew up around him.

And beer that tastes like southern Illinois.  That and more on this week's Statewide.

 On this week's Statewide, a Black police officer talks about his feelings of having to do his job amid recent protests over racial justice. 

Students are moving back to college campuses, but are facing a lot of new rules designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.   And we bring you a report from the portion of Chicago with the highest rate of coronavirus deaths.  

Those stories and more on this episode.

 

Our lineup:

Most Illinois school kids will start the school year with remote learning.  That’s according to an Illinois State Board of Education survey of administrators.

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