Sean Powers

Producer/Reporter - On Second Thought

Sean Powers is a producer and reporter for "On Second Thought.” Powers is a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri.  In 2012, he completed a fellowship at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He moved to Atlanta after working as a reporter for the public radio station in Urbana, Ill. His reporting has earned him about a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, five national PRNDI awards, a first place award for best use of sound from the Atlanta Press Club, and recognition from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. After a long week of public radio, Powers enjoys live jazz and soul food. He also mentors teenage journalists who report for VOX Teen Communications, a magazine in Atlanta. In addition to his work at GPB, he also oversees the development of several podcasts for an audio book company in Atlanta called ListenUp Audiobooks.

Ways to Connect

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department/Savannah Morning News via AP

Over the holiday weekend, three people in Savannah were killed following a shooting and car crash. Savannah has one of the highest murder rates in Georgia.

The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news. The panel included Kennesaw State University professor Roxanne Donovan, writer and blogger Jessica Szilagyi, business owner Ruel Joyner, and Korean Daily reporter HB Cho.

First, Sucheta Rawal is a children’s book author on a mission. She created Beato, a world traveling cat, who’s part of a broader plan to raise cultural awareness in both kids and adults. Her latest book is “Beato Goes to Indonesia,” which just hit the shelves. The author joins us in the studio.

In recent years, newspapers and magazines have moved to all digital formats. But one magazine in Georgia is making a print comeback. This year Decatur-based Paste Magazine started a quarterly magazine that looks and feels different. The second edition just came out. We learn more about the magazine’s reboot with founder and editor-in-chief, Josh Jackson.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

Parts of President Trump’s travel ban went into effect last week, but the change might be temporary. The U.S. Supreme Court lifted an injunction on the ban and will review the case this fall. The revised ban temporarily affects some travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries.

First, the City of Atlanta plans to raise the minimum wage for city workers to $15 an hour. Following a national trend, Atlanta is the first such place in Georgia to make the move. But will a minimum wage increase hurt or help the working class? We talk about the pros and cons with Kristy Offitt, Employment Litigator for Ogletree Deakins in Atlanta. And Tom Smith, Assistant Professor of Finance at Emory University.

First, the Smithsonian Channel just launched a new series called “America in Color.” The five part program features historical film footage from the 1920s through the 1960s, presented in HD and with the addition of color. We talk about the show’s Georgia ties with the Executive Producer, John Cavanagh.

Homeless Pets are everywhere in Georgia. The issue has been labeled the biggest challenge facing shelter and rescue operations in our state. We spoke with Gloria Dorsey, vice president of Community Education at the Atlanta Humane Society. We also heard from Jessica Rock, a founding partner at Animal Law Source.  

A new café in Atlanta caters to cats and their humans. At Java Cats Café, you can order coffee and hang out with adoptable cats. GPB’s Sean Powers stopped by to learn more about this purrfectly feline coffee shop. 

Investigative Reporters and Editors

Government transparency helps a democracy function, but many communities have a long way to go. One journalism organization is singling out the most secretive government agencies and officials with the Golden Padlock Award. The award, given out by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), is not much of an honor. This weekend, it went to U.S.

Alex E. Proimos / Foter

The U.S. Senate’s proposed health care overhaul is likely to cut health coverage for poor people and children. We talk about what’s in the bill and the potential consequences with Georgia Health News Editor Andy Miller, Georgia Budget & Policy Institute Health Policy Analyst Laura Harker, and Karoline Mortensen, Professor of Health Sector Management and Policy at the University of Miami.

First, President Trump recently unveiled new trade restrictions with Cuba. We look at how this will impact Georgia’s poultry industry. Joining us is James Sumner, President of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and Marisa Anne Pagnattaro, Associate Dean for UGA’s Terry College of Business.

Billy Howard

Atlanta is the fifth-highest metro area for new HIV diagnoses, according to federal dataA collection at Emory University sheds light on the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s by showcasing photos by Atlanta photographer Billy Howard.

WALB-TV

According to a recent lawsuit, hundreds of students at Worth County High School in Sylvester, Georgia were the subject of a humiliating pat-down by local sheriff's deputies. The case raises questions about privacy on school campuses.

First, according to a recent lawsuit, hundreds of students at Worth County High School in Sylvester, Georgia were the subject of a humiliating pat-down by local sheriff's deputies. The case raises questions about privacy on school campuses. We speak with Robyn McDougle of the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute.

First, walking might be good for your health, but maybe not so good for your safety. Last year, 236 pedestrians were killed in Georgia. That’s a 40 percent increase in just two years. We discuss this with Sally Flocks, President and CEO of PEDS, which advocates for pedestrian safety in Georgia.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

President Trump has accused the news media of not covering terrorist attacks adequately. New research from Georgia State University shows the president is partially right. Researchers find there is a systematic bias in the way terrorism is covered, and an attacker’s identity can have an impact on coverage.

First, retail stores are disappearing, but the economy’s not the bad guy. Rising pressure from online shopping is causing brick and mortar stores to file for bankruptcy at a record pace in 2017. We’ll talk about how this retail downturn is affecting Georgia with Amy Wenk, reporter for The Atlanta Business Chronicle, and John Brown, Associate Professor of Economics at Georgia Southern University.

On Set In Georgia

Jun 21, 2017
Chuck Zlotnick / Columbia Pictures

From the next installments of the Avengers series to a new Godzilla flick, there are a lot of major productions currently filming in Georgia. Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Jennifer Brett gave us an update about the latest blockbusters in the state.

First, June 20 is World Refugee Day. The town of Clarkston, Georgia, is home to a large refugee population. It’s been called the Ellis Island of the South. We talked with Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry about how executive orders may impact the refugee community there. Then, two refugee friends from Syria share their stories. One of them arrived in Georgia right after 9/11, but before the Syrian civil war. The other is a young child, who came to the state last year. Besides calling Syria their birthplace, they share an even greater bond.

Jae C. Hong / The Associated Press

It’s been a year and a half since a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. The two attackers were killed after they gunned down 14 people. Georgia native Shannon Johnson, a graduate of Macon’s Windsor Academy, was one of them.

Up first, when you go into a hair salon or a cosmetics store, how much do you know about the products used on your skin or your hair? A recent study says there are dangerous chemicals in some of these products, particularly those marketed to black women. That study comes from the non-profit Environmental Working Group. Nneka Leiba is the group’s Deputy Director of Research.  She joins us with journalist A'Lelia Bundles and Atlanta hair stylist Latasha Gray.

flickr

The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news.

One year ago, Atlanta-based Rapper Gucci Mane was released from prison. Since his release, he has been reinventing himself. He headlines a concert this weekend in Atlanta. We speak with Georgia-based hip-hop artist Makonnen and hip-hop scholar Regina Bradley about Gucci Mane’s influence on hip-hop in the South. Then, NPR Music hip-hop reporter Rodney Carmichael reviews Gucci Mane’s latest album, "Droptopwop."

Wikimedia Commons

Atlanta-based rapper Gucci Mane got out of prison last year. A month later, he released a new album and headlined at the Fox Theatre.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

The whole Georgia voting process has come under scrutiny in recent years. The Daily Yonder, a news website, compared investigations into voting violations in rural and urban areas of the state. We talked with reporter Tim Marema, who found rural voters undergo a disproportionate share of state elections boards investigations.

As the race for a single congressional district draws national attention, we take an hour to examine Georgia’s changing electorate.

First, Cobb County is the last metro county in Georgia with a white majority. But it’s expected to become "majority minority"—more than 50 percent non-white residents—in the next four years. Politically, the reliably Republican county is shifting to largely Democratic, and may flip in the upcoming 6th Congressional District election. We talk about the changing electorate in Cobb with Andra Gillespie, Political Science Professor at Emory University.

Physics Tutor / flickr

More than six decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling. For the first time in history, it was illegal for states to have separate public schools for black and white students. However, many public schools in the South have actually re-segregated in the years since Brown v. Board, according to a recent report from Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Most clowns are cheerful, right? Well, one clown in Atlanta is awfully sad. Puddles the Clown is a persona created by Atlanta-based singer and bandleader Mike Geier. Puddles is currently a contestant on FOX’s "America’s Got Talent." He won over all the judges. We asked Geir to tell us how he met Puddles, and to take a step away from his friend by adding his picks to our Georgia Playlist. 

A recent study finds Atlanta lags behind nearly every large city in the country when it comes to preserving historic architecture. A 1922 building in Vine City was recently slated for teardown, only to be partially saved as a YMCA center. We talk about Atlanta’s flimsy historic preservation record with Sheffield Hale, President of the Atlanta History Center; and Mtamanika Youngblood, President of Sweet Auburn Works.

Talia Crews / flickr

Lead was banned from plumbing decades ago, but as the crisis in Flint, Michigan shows, lead contamination lasts a long time. A new investigation into Georgia’s water systems finds they are not immune from lead contamination. We talked about the story with reporters Andy Miller of Georgia Health News and Brenda Goodman of WebMD.

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