A young journalist's learning experience often involves covering a nearby school board or house fire. But for a group of Illinois students, their beat was a foreign country with an unfamiliar language. The ten students are back from three weeks in Peru, where they talked with government leaders, poor villagers, alleged terrorists and ordinary Peruvians. The result is a two-hour documentary, "Assignment: Peru", which aired July 2 on AM 580. Tom Rogers talked to two of the student reporters and the professor who oversaw their South American trip.
Illinois Public Media News
Mitchell Vogel (left) of Evanston is the new head of the board of directors for the State Universities Retirement System, the agency that handles retirement benefits for thousands of higher education employees. Vogel talked with AM 580's Jim Meadows about the uncertain future of state pension systems.
The documentary 'The Education of Shelby Knox' looks at the Lubbock, Texas native's efforts to bring about comprehensive sex education in her home state. Lubbock suffers from some of the highest teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates of any southern city. Knox, now a college student, says she continues to lobby on behalf of this issue. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with Knox about the film's success and how it's turned some heads in her home state.
Teenagers in Illinois say their teachers are shying away from many of their biggest concerns when discussing sex. It's course work that's generally short on time and resources. There's a new effort from outside the classroom to change that. Those leading the effort say taking the federally funded 'abstinence-only' approach to sex education means addressing only half the issue. AM 580's Jeff Bossert reports.
Five people in Champaign County have graduated from a regimen of treatment for drug addiction. Champaign was one of the first counties in the state to set up a program known as Drug Court - since then, dozens of non-violent offenders have reduced or avoided jail time by pledging to stay drug-free under a judge's watch. AM 580's Tom Rogers watched as the latest participants received their hard-earned diplomas.
Re-entering the outside world is a jarring experience for paroled inmates used to daily routines and an assured place to sleep and eat. While some parolees are able to make a new life for themselves, many others wind up back behind bars - Illinois reported its highest recidivism rate ever last year. A statewide task force is looking for ways to get more ex-felons re-established and out of trouble. AM 580's Tom Rogers reports.
In Singapore, the defamation lawsuit - or the threat of one - is a handy tool for politicians to use against their critics. Now, a Singaporean government agency has used such a threat to shut down an Internet web log - whose author happens to be a UI graduate student. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
For decades America's Midwest has been known as the world's breadbasket, exporting a flood of grain. But last year, for the first time, the soybean harvest in South America surpassed the United States harvest - and within five years, Brazil alone is expected to outproduce US farms. That's creating more pressure on Illinois farmers. But it's sending others in search of what some are calling a soybean El Dorado. AM 580's Tom Rogers reports as a part of "Think Global," public radio's week of special coverage on globalization issues.
About 800 social science researchers gathered at the University of Illinois for the first Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Conference director Norman Denzin (left) of the UI's Institute of Communications Research spoke with AM 580's Jim Meadows about the qualitative approach. He says governments and funding agencies have been neglecting qualitative research in favor of the quantitative approach - and that scholarship has suffered as a result.
April 29 is the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War - the day Saigon fell to North Vietnamese troops. Ron Yates had been in southeast Asia for several weeks reporting for the Chicago Tribune, and he headed to South Vietnam when it became clear that the long war was ending - and ending badly for US troops. He was among the last American reporters, soldiers and diplomats to flee, along with thousands of South Vietnamese families - a fraction of those who wanted to leave.
Yates (left, with camera) is now dean of the University of Illinois College of Communication. He recollects that final day with AM 580's Tom Rogers.