WSIU InFocus


WSIU takes a closer look at issues around the region. From arts and entertainment, to science and nature, the environment, politics, and other topics people are talking about.

Sirrea Whittaker describes her dad as the life of the party, an outspoken Black man with a love for his Omega Psi Phi fraternity and a sprawling network of friends.

“And it sometimes was annoying, because like, you can go to the grocery store and you leave two hours later because he finds someone he knew,” says the 36-year-old working mother from Indianapolis.

His 5-year-old granddaughter describes him a little differently: "He was the man that gave me chocolate milk every night, when we spent the night."

Carbondale / Carbondale

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry and City Manager Gary Williams about this year's budget process, federal stimulus money, and more. 

Medicaid Work Requirements May Be Gone For Good

Apr 5, 2021

It appears major changes may be coming to Medicaid, which insures around 70 million Americans and provides health coverage for low-income adults, people with disabilities and some children.

The Trump administration supported work or volunteer hours as a requirement for health coverage. The move was spearheaded by Seema Verma, then-director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

John Longmire

After 13 years as Executive Director of the Carbondale Park District, Kathy Renfro will retire on May 16, 2021.

The John A Logan College Board of Trustee’s has three openings and 5 candidates wanting a seat.

The League of Women’s voters and the Carbondale Public Library hosted a virtual candidate forum for the 5 candidates hoping to fill three board of trustee positions at John A Logan College.

SIU School of Law

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Sensei Enterprises President Sharon Nelson and Vice President John Simek about their upcoming Beatty Law and Technology Lecture with the SIU School of Law.


An estimated 2% of Illinois adults have a gambling problem, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling. But it’s unclear which populations are most affected and at risk. 

The Illinois Department of Human Services launched a new study last fall aimed at collecting data on the issue of gambling disorders in the state. The agency has also issued several new grants to organizations and treatment providers across the state — aimed at raising awareness and removing barriers to treatment for those with gambling disorders.

The plant-based meat industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, but public perception is one of the biggest obstacles to more expansion.

Billion dollars companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are giving consumers other choices besides meat. Even Burger King is offering a vegan Whopper. Experts say the growth isn’t coming from vegetarians or vegans but from meat eaters occasionally choosing meat alternatives when shopping or eating out.

WSIU's Steph Whiteside talks with two local doctors about their experience, as the region marks one-year since COVID-19 arrived.

Copyright 2021 WBEZ. To see more, visit WBEZ.

Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony about the challenges of providing high-quality higher education at affordable prices. 

SIU School of Law

Ahead of his virtual lecture, Harvard Law Professor Glenn Cohen talks with WSIU's Jennifer Fuller about the challenges of AI in medicine.

Cohen is the 2021 John and Marsha Ryan Bioethecist at the SIU School of Law.

SIU School of Law

Lawmakers in Washington are joining President Joe Biden in calling for immigration reform. In this episode of InFocus, Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU Law Professor Cindy Buys about the challenges in the immigration system, and what can be done.

Illinois Treasurer

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, as his office crosses the $1 billion threshold for invsetments in the state.

Getty Images

WSIU's Brad Palmer talks with 2019 hammer throw world champion and former Saluki Deanna Price about the difficulties of training during the pandemic, regaining her competitive edge, overcoming injuries and trying to make history.

COVID Vaccine Outreach Still Spotty In Latinx Community

Mar 10, 2021

Through grainy video on a recent Facebook live event, Missouri health director Dr. Randall Williams explained who was currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. A moment later, an interpreter from the Mexican consulate in Kansas City provided a translation.

The live stream was the consulate’s idea.

Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Chancellor Austin Lane about the university's plans for in-person learning in the Fall of 2021, along with the announcement that SIUC will host in-person graduation ceremonies in May.

Segment One (Morning Edition, 3/9/2021):

Segment Two (All Things Considered, 3/9/2021):

Environmentalists in Illinois worry that having few regulations for coal-fired power plant demolitions will increase the chance for a toxic disaster when these facilities are dismantled.

After DorShann Lewis, a Black working mother in Fishers had her baby late last year, she relied on virtual visits to see her doctor. 

“It was much more convenient,” she says. “I didn’t have to deal with the mask and just the overall fear. And just having the flexibility to be at home and to know that I was safe at home with the kids.”

While COVID-19 restrictions of public gatherings are slowly easing, the pre-pandemic normal is still some time away.

Carbondale / Carbondale

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry and City Manager Gary Williams. 

Courtesy of Camp Ondessonk

Thousands of children across Illinois missed out on outdoor opportunities through summer camp last year, when COVID-19 caused the cancellation of hundreds of camps and activities in 2020.

This year, camp directors say they're determined to get kids back outside.

As healthcare workers in the U.S. received COVID-19 vaccines, many were relieved and hopeful. But doctors who are foreign-born also describe a bittersweet feeling.

In his first weeks in office, President Joe Biden has rolled back multiple federal policies that negatively affected LGBTQ+ people under former president Donald Trump. But in Illinois, policy advocates say there’s still more battles to be fought.

University of Illinois

Researchers in Illinois are studying the spread of the Gulf Coast Tick.  A traditionally southern species which can spread disease.

Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony about his reaction to Gov. JB Pritzker's budget proposal, along with plans for next year's tuition and fee rates across the SIU system.


WSIU's Brad Palmer talks with representatives from five different southern Illinois schools about how they're offering basketball games to their fans via video streams It's in response to the fact that most -- if not all -- fans are restricted from attending games in person.

COVID Forces Artist With Disability To Pause Teaching

Feb 16, 2021

Johnson Simon, a painter and professor who has cerebral palsy, had his career plan interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. He spoke to Seth Johnson about his passion for teaching in an audio diary project for our Move to Include series.

As a person who likes to stay busy, Chelsea Davis had a hard time adjusting when COVID shut down her places of employment and volunteering. Seth Johnson interviewed her for Side Effects Public Media as part of an audio diary project for our Move to Include series.

Andrew Peterson isn’t one to stay still, but he’s had to get creative since COVID cancelled the marathons and competitions he’d normally be running in. Seth Johnson interviewed him and his father for Side Effects Public Media as part of an audio diary project for our Move to Include series.