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.


WSIU's Brad Palmer talks with Natalie Fry, the principal and curriculum coordinator at Harrisburg East Side Intermediate School, about distance learning and the uncertainty for schools in the fall.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry after a peaceful vigil in Carbondale calling for an end to racism and police brutality, along with burglaries of several businesses.

Here’s something that might surprise you: A new national survey shows that regardless of political affiliation, Americans mostly agree on how to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic—slowly—and with protective measures like face masks.

Amelia Blakely

The Great Midwestern Flood of 2019 cost Alexander County millions of dollars in damages and the hope of a future for its farmers along the Mississippi River. 

Months-long flooding and a breached levee now leave farmers, whose fields are filled with sand, debris, runaway barges, scoured several feet deep, or inaccesible because of high water covering the road, unsure of what to do next. 

COVID-19 Hits Volunteer Fire Departments' Funding

May 27, 2020

Since public gatherings in Illinois are still limited to 10 or fewer people, the Campbell Hill Fire Department has not been able to have its usual public chicken dinners and other fundraisers.

Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony, as he guides the system in its plans for Fall 2020 amid the COVID-19 crisis.

An Iowa  Writer and Producer is in the planning stages of making a movie about General John A. Logan, with shooting scheduled to begin in the Summer of 2021.

COVID-19 Mask Makers Are Part Of A Bigger History

May 22, 2020
A collage of women wearing masks.
Karina Neill

As the U.S. struggles with shortages of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers have jumped into action. Around the country people are sewing masks, for healthcare workers and community members at risk for contracting COVID-19. But sewing for a cause fits into a much bigger history.


On this edition of WSIU InFocus, we hear from Jean Rendleman Miner, Academic Advisor in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at SIUC  and Rita Medina, Coordinator for Recruitment and Retention at the College, about the anxiety and uncertainty many college students are going through.

Amelia Blakely

Even the way a farmers market operates has changed since the pandemic started as social-distancing practices become more critical for maintaining public health.

In Carbondale, Illinois the farmers market switched to a drive-thru allowing some local producers to sell their goods in a physically-distant manner with masks and gloves. 

Carbondale Turley Park
Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

The spread of COVID-19 has forced park districts around the state to make some changes.

Many people consider Memorial Day the official beginning of summer, marking the start of youth ball leagues, summer camps, and the opening of community pools.

For park districts in the region the summer of 2020 is becoming one of uncertainty and revamping form the spread of COVID-19.

Rural Hospitals Brace For COVID-19

May 13, 2020
Ferrell Hospital

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, some of the biggest outbreaks have been concentrated in urban areas, like New York City and Chicago. But rural America isn’t immune to the virus — and many rural areas are already dealing with a scarcity of health care.

Ferrell Hospital, in Eldorado, is bracing for coronavirus. While most of Illinois’ cases have concentrated in the Chicago area, Dr. Joseph Jackson, a physician at Ferrell, said the virus spreading to rural areas like the ones his hospital serves is inevitable.


WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Interim SIUC Chancellor John Dunn about COVID-19's effects on university commencement, along with plans for Fall 2020.

Commentary: Mike Baltz on Carson's 'Silent Spring.'

May 11, 2020
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

On this month's feature, written and narrated by Ornithologist Dr. Mike Baltz, we hear about a book, published nearly 60 years ago, that has concepts still relevant today.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute has launched a new series, with virtual lectures featuring prominent speakers from across the country. In its inaugural  event, Institute Director John Shaw talked with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Kennedy.

If someone gets sick in a seven county swath of the Ozarks of southeastern Missouri, the closest place they can go for care is a clinic run by Missouri Highlands Health Care. Highlands operates in some of the least populated and poorest counties in the state. Now, it’s cutting back.

Lisa Marlow is worried about her students. Marlow is a school nurse and educator with the Murphysboro Community Unit School District 186. 

The district serves primarily low-income students in a rural part of southern Illinois. 

When school is in session, Marlow says having eyes on students, especially those with chronic conditions like Type 1 diabetes or asthma, is crucial.

Illinois Treasurer

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs about the state's Bridge Loan program for businesses, and Charitable Trust program for non-profits.

Collaborative Kitchen Helps Those Needing Food

Apr 29, 2020

Two Carbondale restaurants, New Kahala and Cristaudo's, are organizing the Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen, in an effort to team up with other restaurants to provide food during this time.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Linda Renee Baker of SIU's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Baker has worked with the Simon Institute and SIU School of Medicine to address disparities in healthcare that fall along racial and socioeconomic lines.

Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony.

For fourth-year medical students, spring is normally the time for an important rite of passage. They finish  classes and find out where they’ll spend the next several years doing their residencies.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned all that upside down.

Photo Provided / Photo Provided

The Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen is a group of Carbondale restaurants, devastated by the COVID-19 shutdown, who are partnering  to help those in the community who are hungry, and, to help fellow restaurants.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Solarize Southern Illinois' Beau Henson and Straight Up Solar's Brent Ritzel about their new group buy project.

Youth Groups Keeping Kids Engaged During Shutdown

Apr 20, 2020

The Illinois stay-at-home order has now entered its fifth week.  And recently Governor Pritzker said that all public and private  schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

The elderly are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. The country’s first big outbreak was at a nursing home in Washington state, and more recently nursing homes and senior living facilities in places like Indiana, Illinois and Iowa have had experienced dozens of cases -- and deaths. Now, these places are facing a lot of pressure to keep residents safe -- and occupied. 

Photo Provided / Photo Provided

Students across Illinois are adjusting to remote learning because of the state wide school closure from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools across the country go on spring break during March and April and then come back to their normal routines.

However, in 2020 things are a little different.


WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Interim Chancellor John Dunn about the effects of COVID-19 on the university.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller introduces new Morning Edition Host Leah Lerner.