Sean Powers

Director of Podcasting

Sean Powers is Georgia Public Broadcasting's first director of podcasting. He joined GPB in 2014 as a producer/reporter with On Second Thought, and remained with the program until 2018. For his last four months on the show, he served as acting senior producer.  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 a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, five national PRNDI awards, honors from the Atlanta Press Club, and recognition from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Powers previously developed podcasts for ListenUp Audiobooks in Atlanta. He's also mentored teenage journalists who report for VOX Teen Communications, a magazine in Atlanta.

Ways to Connect

In 1981, actor Bruce Campbell first took on "The Evil Dead." The cult hit spawned two sequels, video games, Marvel comic books and a television series. "Ash vs. Evil Dead" airs its season finale later this month. We talked with Campbell last year as he prepared to attend Walker Stalk Con in Atlanta. He shared his thoughts on low budget, his cult star status and getting the chance to reinterpret the title character. 

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would halt its Legal Orientation Program, which provides legal advice and information to detained immigrants. The DOJ has also suspended a telephone helpline. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says this isn't the only obstacle immigrants face when it comes to legal assistance. In a new lawsuit, the SPLC claims federal immigration officials make it difficult for detainees to communicate with their attorneys. In the lawsuit, the Southern Poverty Law Center calls out two Georgia detention centers as part of the problem. SPLC legal director Lisa Graybill and immigration lawyer Hiba Ghalib talked with us about immigrants' access to legal assistance.  

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Saturday marks two months since a school shooting killed 17 students and educators in Parkland, Florida. Since then, we’ve heard public outrage transform into ever more urgent calls for reforms to the nation's gun laws. Antoinette Tuff knows first-hand what it’s like to come face-to-face with a school shooter: On Aug. 20, 2013, she was working at Decatur’s Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy when a 20-year-old gunman entered with an AK-47 military assault rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition. Tuff talked the gunman down, and no one was injured or killed. She tells us whether teachers should be armed.

Saturday marks two months since a school shooting killed 17 students and educators in Parkland, Florida. Since then, we’ve heard public outrage transform into ever more urgent calls for reforms to the nation's gun laws. Antoinette Tuff knows first-hand what it’s like to come face-to-face with a school shooter: On Aug. 20, 2013, she was working at Decatur’s Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy when a 20-year-old gunman entered with an AK-47 military assault rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition. Tuff talked the gunman down, and no one was injured or killed. She tells us whether teachers should be armed.

As the weather warms up, you may spot more outdoor cats in your neighborhood. For pet owners, raising a cat to be indoor versus outdoor is a very sensitive subject. We talk about the ethics of cat ownership with Barbara King, College of William & Mary professor emerita of anthropology.

In the year since President Trump took office, a new wave of social movements has rippled across the country. March for Science Atlanta brings together scientists, data geeks and average citizens to push for policies that support and reflect research. The group will hold its annual Rally for Science April 14. The Rally for Science keynote speaker is Emory University professor Linda DeGutis. She previously served as director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC. DeGutis will speak on the importance of gun violence research. We spoke with DeGutis and March for Science organizers Louis Kiphen and Allison Halterman.

Courtesy of National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice details a painful legacy in American history: the lynchings of thousands of African-American men, women and children. 

Why do young people do stupid things? From the “condom snorting challenge” to the “tide pod challenge,” we looked at some of the dangerous trends popular among teenagers.

A group of neo-Nazis is planning a rally later this month in Newnan, Georgia. Some people in Newnan worry this rally could get violent, and there's a Change.org petition to urge the city not to allow the rally. Is it possible to reform extremists? GPB Special Correspondent Celeste Headlee spoke with two people who left their life of hate behind them.

Screenshot from YouTube

What is the quintessential Georgia song? Atlanta-based punk rock group The Coathangers adds their picks to our growing Georgia Playlist. 

The ransomware attack that crippled Atlanta a few weeks ago isn't the only high-profile cyberattack Georgia has faced in recent years. Two years ago, a security researcher gained unauthorized access to a server used by Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which stores the data of millions of Georgia voters. At the time, the data breach wasn't illegal under Georgia law —  but a new bill awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal's signature could change that. Senate Bill 315 defines unauthorized computer access as a crime under Georgia law, which would make data breaches easier to prosecute. Some people in the tech industry, however, worry SB 315 could actually hinder their ability to do their jobs.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a leader in South Africa's anti-apartheid movement and ex-wife of the late Nelson Mandela, died Monday. She was 81. On Second Thought producer Fenly Foxen, who grew up in South Africa, spoke with host Adam Ragusea about Madikizela-Mandela's integral role in the fight against apartheid. Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, CEO of the TutuDesk Campaign and daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, also joined from South Carolina. Tutu-Gxashe earned her master's degree from Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. 

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic ruling Brown v. the Board of Education more than six decades ago. Linda Brown, the namesake of that landmark court case, died March 25. She was 76. 

With Brown v. Board, it became illegal to separate public school students by race. But since the landmark ruling, many schools in the South have resegregated, according to a report from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. The study also found Latino student enrollment surpassed black enrollment for the first time.

We spoke about the resegregation of southern schools with Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education at Penn State University, Belisa Urbina, executive director of Ser Familia, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution education reporter Maureen Downey.

National Park Service

April 4, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Today, we paid tribute to King's legacy by talking to the people who knew him, portrayed him and were inspired by him. 

LaRaven Taylor / GPB

Civil rights icon Xernona Clayton was both the organizer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr.

She sat down with On Second Thought for a conversation about how King would feel about today's civil rights movements.

WSB-TV

The life of Martin Luther King Jr. has been the subject of a number of films.

The made-for-television film, “The Boy King,” tells the story of his youth. The WSB-TV movie focuses on  early prejudices King encountered in his childhood and how his family responded.

Associated Press

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

So, in the last 50 years, how has the civil rights movement evolved, and where is it headed?

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Nearly a decade after Martin Luther King Jr's death, President Jimmy Carter posthumously awarded King the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The activist's widow, Coretta Scott King, accepted the award on his behalf. On Second Thought producer Sean Powers took us back to that day at the White House with an audio postcard.

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Georgia Congressman John Lewis is a man who wears many hats. He is a civil rights leader, a principled politician and a graphic novelist. We talked to him about his three-part graphic memoir, "March," which tells the story of the civil rights movement from Lewis's perspective. 

AP Photo/David Goldman

In August 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Atlanta at the annual convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Less than a year later, he was killed in Memphis, Tennessee. We talked with Xernona Clayton, an advisor to King and one of the conference planners.

Wikipedia

In this rare 1961 interview with Martin Luther King Jr., King spoke with Eleanor Fischer, a reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation who later worked for National Public Radio.

In the interview, King reflects on childhood run-ins with racial prejudice in Atlanta.

This interview was uncovered by archivist Andy Lanset and the WNYC archives. 

Interview Highlights: 

Eleanor Fischer: We're you aware of racial prejudices while growing up in Atlanta?

Last year, we spoke with two Georgia-based comic book publishers who are working to develop more superheroes of color. Carlton and Darrick Hargro are the creative force behind the comic book company, 20th Place Media. We talked to them about one of their latest comics called “Moses,” which draws connections between the African slave trade and an alien abduction.

On Second Thought For Monday, April 2, 2018

Apr 2, 2018

Georgia leads most of the nation in average student loan debt. Nearly 1.5 million Georgians owe an average of $30,000 in federal student debt. Defaulting on student loans hurts more than your credit score; it can also result in losing your professional license. In more than a dozen states, including Georgia, your license can be seized if you don't keep up with your loan payments. 

Before the new teen romantic comedy, “Love, Simon” hit the big screens, it was a novel. "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" follows the story of a highschool boy who struggles with his sexual identity.

The newest appointed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is already facing serious accusations. Dr. Robert Redfield has been accused of fabricating or seriously botching HIV vaccine data. President Trump's appointee also has no experience running a public health organization. This problematic news comes months after the controversy with previous CDC director, Brenda Fitzgerald.

The City of Atlanta is still dealing with the fallout from a massive cyberattack Thursday. Since a group of hackers locked down the city's computer system with a malware called Ransomware, city employees have been unable to carry out essential business. Atlanta residents can't even pay their bills online. 

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has condemned the attack. She has yet to confirm if the city will pay the $50,000 ransom hackers have demanded in exchange for the city to regain access to its data. Georgia Public Broadcasting reporter Emily Cureton updated us on the latest developments in the data breach. We also spoke with Milos Prvulovic, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Computer Science.

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