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

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council voted unanimously to weaken punishments for the possession of marijuana. Now, those caught with an ounce or less will not serve jail time, and will be fined no more than $75. We talk about this monumental move with Andrea Young, Executive Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. 

Georgia’s campus carry law allows firearms on all public college campuses, minus a few excepted spaces. We hear about the research into the effectiveness of such laws with Matthew Boedy, a Professor of English at the University of North Georgia. Also Mark Rosenberg, former President and CEO of the Task Force for Global Health.

Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

On Tuesday, the former head of Atlanta-based Equifax apologized many times during a hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee about the company’s massive data breach. The hack exposed more than 145 million people to possible ID theft. We checked in with Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Tamar Hallerman, who has been following the Equifax scandal from Washington.

 

On Tuesday, the former head of Atlanta-based Equifax apologized many times during a hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee  about the company’s massive data breach. The hack exposed more than 145 million people to possible ID theft. We check in with Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Tamar Hallerman, who’s been following the Equifax scandal from Washington.

Hurricane Maria slammed the entire U.S. territory of Puerto Rico two weeks ago. Maria came hard on the havoc of other storms, leaving the entire island dreadfully damaged, flooded, without basic necessities, and difficulty distributing what they did have, and no electricity. Nearly 90,000 Puerto Ricans live in Georgia, nearly a fourth of them in Cobb and Gwinnett Counties. Cynthia Román-Hernández is a Managing Director with the Latin American Association in Atlanta, and her husband Juan Carlos Rodriguez is an assistant professor at Georgia Tech.

John Locher / The Associated Press

The death toll in Las Vegas now stands at 59. More than 500 more people were injured in the shooting and the stampede that followed, but amid the carnage, there are stories of heroism. Gail Davis attended the music festival where a gunman shot people from the the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel. She told CBS News one police officer led her to safety under a tent.

 

Georgia has submitted a new plan to hold public schools accountable for student performance. The updates are more lenient on testing. Governor Deal says intense testing is critical to hold schools accountable, but the state Superintendent says we must avoid a “measure, pressure, and punish” culture. We talk with Ty Tagami of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Also Dana Rickman, Director of Policy and Research with the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.

In the wake of back-to-back natural disasters, there’s doubt about the willingness and ability of insurance companies to handle a flood of claims for destroyed property. We sit down with an investigative reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Carrie Teegardin, to discuss her in-depth reporting, part of our occasional series, “AJC Investigates.”  We add two more tunes to our ever-growing Georgia Playlist. Evan Leima is the frontman and singer for Athens-based Dream Culture. They perform at Seeds of Sound Festival in Sparta this Saturday, Sept.

Cat ownership is subject to a lot of debate. Inside or outside, claws or no? We’ll hear how GPB’s Sean Powers comes nose to nose with the conflict, then we talk with Barbara King, an Emerita Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary, about the ethics of cat ownership.

Athens-based band, Drive-by Truckers was co-founded by friends Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley in 1996. We revisit an interview with Patterson Hood about the band’s latest album, “American Band,” before Drive-by Truckers play this Friday, Sept. 29, at Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse.

Indigo Girls -- no “the” -- have been hits since their first release in 1985. One of the most successful and influential Georgia-formed groups, the folk rock pair have gone platinum and won a Grammy, too. They have a show tonight, Sept. 27, at Atlanta Symphony Hall with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. We revisit an interview with one half of the group, Amy Ray.

Atlanta History Center

Former Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum  is on a long quest to understand of psychology of racism. In 1997, she wrote a book about called ”Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race.” Twenty years later, Tatum has updated the book. We talk with her ahead of an appearance Tuesday night, September 26, at the Atlanta History Center.

Last week President Trump disparaged professional football players for kneeling during the national anthem. The president’s comments generated gestures of unity at NFL games Sunday. The Atlanta Falcons were among the many players, coaches and owners who locked arms during the anthem to protest racial injustice. Fifty years ago two Olympic athletes brought this kind of silent protest to the medal podium. Track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the ceremony.

Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz was shot and killed after provoking campus police officers. Schultz had a history of mental health issues and suicide attempts. Anxiety and depression are common in high pressure schools like Georgia Tech. We talk about the mental health of college students with Tim Elmore, President of Growing Leaders, which works to raise awareness of mental health in young adults. Also joining us is Collin Spencer, External Relations Committee Chair for the Mental Health Student Coalition at Georgia Tech.

Jordan Strauss Invision / The Associated Press

The Breakroom gang joins guest host Tony Harris to weigh in on the week's news. The panel includes farmer Jon Jackson, Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown, Natalie Pawelski of Cater Communications, and Nsenga Burton, who chairs Mass Media Arts at Clark Atlanta University. 

BREAKROOM TOPICS:

DonTaé Hodge

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Southeast. It was even more destructive on the Virgin Islands, where it hit as a Category 5 storm. Nearly every building was damaged, and many were completely destroyed. As Irma approached, DonTaé Hodge of Atlanta was anxiously following updates. Hodge grew up in the British Virgin Islands, and told us what it was like to be so far from home at a critical time.

Is Atlanta at risk of overcrowding? Last month, The Atlanta Regional Commission reported nearly 80,000 new people in the metro region since just last year -- the highest growth rate since the Great Recession. How this will affect more than your commute, like your rent, and your space to walk down the street, has yet to be seen. We talk with Mike Carnathan, a researcher with the Atlanta Regional Commission, and Chris Leinberger, a business professor at George Washington University.

The South has seen its Hispanic population increase 43 percent between 2007 and 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. The story of the 1996 Olympic Games is key to understanding the Latino boom in Atlanta, and in the South more broadly.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The South has seen its Hispanic population increase 43 percent between 2007 and 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. The story of the 1996 Olympic Games is key to understanding the Latino boom in Atlanta, and in the South more broadly.

Elise Amendola / The Associated Press

The fallout from the data breach at Atlanta-based Equifax is far and wide. At the end of July, the credit rating company learned it had been hacked, leaving personal information of more than 140 million people exposed. But that revelation wasn’t made public until this month. Now the company is facing a number of lawsuits, investigations, and a massive stock price hit. We talked with Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Tamar Hallerman, who has been following this story from Capitol Hill.

The fallout from the data breach at Atlanta-based Equifax is far and wide. At the end of July, the credit rating company learned it had been hacked, leaving personal information of more than 140 million people exposed. But that revelation wasn’t made public until this month. Now the company is facing a number of lawsuits, investigations, and a massive stock price hit. We talk with Atlanta-Journal Constitution reporter Tamar Hallerman, who has been following this story from Capitol Hill.

Erika Beras for NPR

Culinary historian Michael Twitty traces his ancestry—both black and white—through food. In his memoir, "The Cooking Gene," he asks the question: "Who owns Southern food?" We talked with him ahead of his appearance on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m.

It’s time for our regular roundup of movies and television shows currently filming in Georgia. We talk with AJC Buzz Blog writer Jennifer Brett about the new Ant-Man movie, Kevin Hart’s latest comedy, and the much-awaited second season of the FX show "Atlanta."

A recent study done by the Department of Labor shows that employed Americans spend more time working than on any other activity during the hours they are awake.  Of them, many say they dislike where they work, but few really do love their jobs. The Atlanta Business Chronicle just released its annual list of the best places to work here in the city.  Joining us to talk about the keys to workplace happiness is Tom Conklin, Clinical Associate Professor of Managerial Sciences at Georgia State University.

Nicole Abalde / flickr

Food can evoke so many rich memories. A new book by Savannah food writer Jonathan Barrett captures some of the stories tied to Southern recipes. We talked with Barrett, author of the new book, Cook & Tell. We also heard from freelance writer Amy Condon, who contributed her own story to the book.

 

Photos From Music Midtown '17: Saturday

Sep 17, 2017
Jeff Harris / GPB

The annual Music Midtown festival returns to Piedmont Park in Atlanta this weekend. Saturday was packed with big names like Bruno Mars, Blink 182, and Weezer. Our photographers didn't miss out on a minute of it. Check out our photo recap in the slideshow above.

The B-52s made it big. And the iconic band from Athens takes the stage in their home state tonight, Sept. 15, at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. We revisit an interview with founding member Kate Pierson.

Hurricane Irma put a lot of lives on hold. But for Jacob Gmitter of Lakeland, Florida, there was one thing that just couldn’t wait. GPB reporter Grant Blankenship brings us the story of a young saxophonist on the road.

the artist

The B-52s have been a major part of Georgia’s music scene since the 1970s, when it formed in Athens.

The number of high-poverty neighborhoods in the metro Atlanta area tripled between 2000 and 2015. That’s according to a new Harvard study, which finds poverty is largely moving to the many suburbs surrounding the city. We talk about this with Kim Addie, Senior Director of Health for United Way of Atlanta. Michael Rich, a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Emory University, also joins us.

Animal shelters in Georgia are at capacity. As millions fled the storms this week, many pet owners left their furry friends in shelters across the state. We talk about how shelters are accommodating the overcrowding with Tracey Belew, Shelter Manager for the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Department.

As Hurricane Irma hit Georgia, hundreds of evacuated horses, goats and cows sheltered at the Georgia National Fairgrounds south of Macon. GPB's Emily Cureton brings us an audio postcard.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / The Associated Press

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program grants legal protections to people who entered the United States illegally as children. The decision left roughly 800,000 people who rely on the program in a legal limbo. People like Valentina Emilia Garcia Gonzalez.

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