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, and recognition from the Atlanta Press Club. 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.

Ways to Connect

Adam Fagen / flickr

The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news. The panel includes Tomika Depriest (Marketing and Communications Strategist), Sam Burnham (Blogger, All the Biscuits in Georgia), Ed Sohn (Global Director, Legal Managed Services, Thomson Reuters), and Roxanne Donovan (Psychology Professor, Kennesaw State University).



U.S. Department of Education

One of the final acts by the Obama administration deals with corporal punishment in schools.

Steve Pavey

A debate is going on over the operation of immigration detention centers. Georgia’s Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin is one of the largest in the country. It is run by a private company. There are many like it. Critics say those private facilities are problematic. This month, a Department of Homeland Security subcommittee recommended continuing the use of private immigrant detention facilities with greater oversight.

Sharon Rowen

The fight for equality among race, gender, and sexual orientation has often ended up in the courtroom. Many of the female attorneys fighting on the front lines have been subject to gender bias. A new documentary tells their stories across several generations. It’s called "Balancing the Scales," and is based on 20 years of interviews by Atlanta filmmaker and attorney Sharon Rowen. We talked with her about the project.

Gage Skidmore / flickr

In 45 days, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. One of the top priorities of that administration is to repeal and replace Obamacare. The man who will be at the forefront of that is Georgia Congressman Tom Price. President-elect Trump has nominated him as the next secretary of Health and Human Services.

At Emory University, the Law School conducts classes you expect — contracts, torts — but it also offers one you might not: Drama. The professor behind it — and before it — is Janet Metzger.  We talked with her and law student Prasad Hurra about the class as part of our series, “Lessons from Left Field."

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Hundreds of firefighters from all over the country have battled the Rock Mountain Fire in North Georgia. They're winning. It’s nearly contained. A local Jewish camp opened its doors to these crews as they fought to contain the blaze. GPB's Sean Powers visited the campsite.

Emory University

A Georgia lawmaker plans to introduce legislation to discipline universities that declare "sanctuary" status for undocumented immigrants.

Sam Hatcher

In 1916, two teams played one of the most lopsided games in college football history. Georgia Tech beat Cumberland College with a score of 222–0. We talk with author Sam Hatcher about his new book on the game, and how he says it forever changed college football in the South. 


This week, Atlanta-based Delta Airlines banned a disruptive passenger for life. This passenger was captured on video a week earlier shouting pro-Donald Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton remarks on a flight from Atlanta to Allentown, Pennsylvania. In addition to banning this passenger, Delta also gave refunds to people aboard that flight. Delta's decision came after the airline was criticized for its initial inaction in the matter.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Yesterday, Georgia governor Nathan Deal suspended all five members of the Dooly County school board following concerns about the district's accreditation. High school graduation rates in Georgia remain below the national average, but data released last month by the U.S.

New York Public Library

Barbeque has been a culinary staple in the South for generations. By the Civil War, many barbeque cooks were enslaved African-Americans, according to food writer and editor Robert Moss.  He recently wrote about two of these talented cooks from Augusta, Georgia. Moss and culinary historian Michael Twitty tell us about the forgotten African-American influence on barbeque.


What celebrity sightings might you be in store for this week? That all depends on what film projects are taking place around the state. We get an update on who’s currently on set from Jennifer Brett of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Buzz Blog.

2dollarshoes / flickr

In 2015, more than half of American workers opted not to take advantage of paid vacation time. The group Project: Time Off found that added up to 658 million unused vacation days. Workplace consultant Jeanne Meister tells us how we became a nation of workaholics. 

Thirty years ago, one cookbook called  "White Trash Cooking" shook up the culinary world. The title alone was enough to offend some people, and the recipes -- with ingredients like canned corned beef and potato chips -- offered a glimpse into what was served in the homes of poor Americans in the South. We look back on its controversial legacy with Southern Foodways Alliance director John T.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Fifty-five years ago, the University of Georgia accepted its first African-American students. It was the kind of progress Bill Shipp had demonstrated for years earlier.

Library of Congress

The next time the you open your kitchen cabinets, consider this: a lot of the processed food we eat today started off as food for soldiers. The Army has a long history of culinary innovation that’s trickled down to our homes. We listen back to our conversation with writer Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of the book "Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S.

LA Johnson / NPR

The United States has the lowest college completion rate in the developed world. It's not easy to fix, but what if schools knew early which students might drop out? A new report from the New America Foundation says at least 40 percent of schools try to gauge student performance by comparing past students to current ones. It's called predictive analytics, but how well does it work?

President-elect Donald Trump says he plans to crack down on people living in the country illegally by deporting or jailing those with criminal records. A recent Southern Poverty Law Center report shows undocumented immigrants in Georgia are already deported and denied bond at rates higher than the national average. GPB’s Sean Powers followed the case of one man stuck in a Georgia detention center as he seeks political asylum.




In the week since Donald Trump won the presidential race, we’ve learned more about what to expect from him in the Oval Office. Trump's campaign and ultimate success changed the political playbook in many ways. This election year also exposed how divided we are as a nation. What are the challenges we need to address before we can move forward?

Wikimedia Commons

A decades-old battle over Georgia water will be sorted out in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide who has rights to supply and use water in a fight between Georgia and Florida. The decision will have a major effect on agriculture in those states. GPB's Sam Whitehead reports on a farmer in Southwest Georgia who has had to do some creative thinking about water conservation.

James Byard / Washington University in St. Louis

What should America’s next big national conversation be in the wake of the 2016 election? We get perspectives from Georgians at both ends of the political spectrum.

Gage Skidmore / flickr

If there's anything to say about the results of the presidential race— it's that it defied expectations. Many expected to wake up Wednesday morning to hear from President-elect Hillary Clinton. Instead, it was Donald Trump wh o came out on top.

Wikimedia Commons

Being president of the United States is a job very few Americans have held -- 43, to be exact.  There's some argument over who was the best among them. But who was the worst? Robert Strauss says the worst American president is James Buchanan and he argues that point in his new book, “Worst President Ever.” We talk with him and Kenneth C.


On Nov. 8, the presidency will be decided once one of the candidates reaches 270 electoral votes. Electoral votes are cast by members of the Electoral College. That's something most people know, but what they don't know is how exactly the Electoral College works.

Melanie Peeples / NPR

The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news. The panel includes Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Natalie Dale, music blogger Jordan Stepp, Korean Daily reporter HB Cho, and conservative radio talk show host Greg Williams


Sean Powers / On Second Thought

There are millions of blogs on the Internet, but only a very select few attract millions of readers and influence society. Awesomely Luvvie is one of those blogs. It’s written by comedian and activist Luvvie Ajayi. Now she’s put something down on paper – a new book called “I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual.” We talked with her about finding her voice as a blogger and an author.

JJIE Multimedia

Students at Kennesaw State University are taking journalism to another level. A group of them recently reported on the incarceration of a young man from Georgia named Christopher Thomas, who at the age of 15 was given a 40-year prison sentence for a non-lethal shooting. The reporters presented the story in a virtual world.

Joel McLendon / flickr

With a week to go until Election Day, more than a million early ballots have been cast in Georgia. There are many Georgians who are voting for the first time, but some residents say the nastiness of the presidential race has tainted the experience.  


Kevin Baggott / flickr

The longer a building has been around, the more likely people will say that it’s haunted. The Fox Theatre in Atlanta opened in 1929 and some say a few of the millions who’ve passed through those doors still remain. The theater hosts ghost tours this time of year. We sent producer Sean Powers to learn about spirits that refuse to leave...even after the curtain comes down.

An interview with former Fox Theatre organist Bob Van Camp, whose ashes are stored in the Fox Theatre auditorium: