Mike Smith

2020 Public Affairs Reporting Intern

Mike Smith is a graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legislative session.

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Sonthana Thongsithavong, Glenwood High School Tennis Coach
Sonthana Thongsithavong

An Illinois high school sports coach has mixed feelings about the state’s new guidelines on high school athletics.

Haley Pate, Biron Butler and Korde Gardener protesting
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

Black Lives Matter protests in Springfield continued Wednesday. Young activists said they aren't giving up on voicing their concerns anytime soon. 

Damon and Aidan McParland pose for a photo
Damon McParland

While residents of Springfield wait for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to end his stay-at-home order, two members of the community have gathered their bagpipes to lift the city’s spirits and raise money during the pandemic. Reporter Mike Smith watched them perform and has this story.

Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a health organization in East St. Louis will lend its help to the state's COVID-19 contact tracing initiative. Meanwhile, the governor said Wednesday the state’s casinos will remain shuttered for now.

Karina Villa puts on a shower cap
Ted Schurter / State Journal-Register

Workers who caught COVID-19 on the job will be eligible for workers compensation benefits.

Bob Bowcock
via Chino Basin Watermaster / Chino Basin Watermaster

A health advocacy group said a type of water-borne disease may be spreading at Illinois’ unoccupied workplaces.

Kidzeum of Health and Science
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

The non-profit Kidzeum of Health and Science in Springfield is using Paycheck Protection Program funds to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

A senior Pritzker administration staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and all employees in the Governor’s office are now working from home as a precaution.

Mike Murphy

A number of legislators have criticized Governor J-B Pritzker’s plan to reopen the state’s economy in five phases.

Reporter Mike Smith talked to one such lawmaker, Republican state Representative Mike Murphy of Springfield. He says the months ahead will be challenging for businesses in his district if the Governor’s plan is not adjusted.

Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said state government has been extending help to communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic . The governor also offered a stern warning to employers failing to protect their employees from contracting the virus on the job.

State officials speaking at a committee hearing Tuesday morning
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

This story has been corrected to include an official response from DCFS.

A group of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services workers said the agency is failing to protect them from being exposed to the new coronavirus. The union representing those workers, meanwhile, is demanding more protections be put in place.

Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Illinois will start expanding contact tracing efforts designed to help map the spread of COVID-19.

Jeb Brown and his son Colt Brown
Erica Brown

The Riverton Kiwanis Club is funding a food donation box in that community for residents in need.

Betsy Goulet sitting at her desk at home posing for the photo
Joe Goulet

Betsy Goulet has worked to help and protect children since the late 80s. After a brief stint as a Child Protective Investigator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, she went on to found such groups as the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center and advise public leaders on at-risk youth and victims of childhood violence.

 J.J. Kim sitting down and typing on his laptop from home.
J.J. Kim

Illinois colleges and universities might not be hosting in-person classes, but many school newspapers are still operating.

Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he will sign an extended stay-at-home order lasting until May 30.

Screenshot of Ngozi Ezike via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the highest one-day death toll due to COVID-19 with 125 lives lost. The total confirmed cases has reached 29,160, with 1,259 deaths. Sangamon County reported another death Friday, bringing its total to five.

Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

A group of Illinois employers say they are not happy with recent changes to the state’s workers compensation rules.

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder signing a Declaration of State of Emergency
City of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder has ordered local law enforcement to take “appropriate enforcement action” to keep residents from breaking the stay-at-home order.

Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’s having to pursue many avenues to acquire personal protective equipment for hospitals and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a fourth field hospital location for treating COVID-19 patients. Public health experts are expecting a surge in cases this month.

Shannon O'Brien / University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield has transitioned to all-remote learning as the state stays at home.

Illinois Times

Illinoisans owe a combined $58 billion on their federal student loans, and with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order leaving some residents unable to work, making payments on those loans can be an impossible task.

Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker announced new measures to help businesses stay afloat during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Creative Commons: Chris He, 2009

As Illinoisans continue to practice self-isolation, a Springfield Facebook group is bringing the community together online.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaking with reporters at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago
screen capture / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order starting Saturday at 5 p.m. through April 7 to slow the spread of COVID-19. State public health officials reported Illinois’ fifth death from the virus Friday.

marijuana buds next to prescription container
eggrole / flickr

With Illinois residents practicing isolation inside their homes, the marijuana industry is making adjustments to meet consumer needs.

Innovate Springfield's Katie Davison discussing ideas to attract young people with community members
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield officials on Thursday fielded ideas from community members about what a potential downtown building should look like and what purpose it should serve.

screen capture from the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau website
illustration by Brian Mackey / Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau

A group of Republican lawmakers is criticizing the state for failing to process FOID card renewals in a timely manner.

Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease / Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease

With a fourth case of COVID-19 announced in Illinois Monday, coronavirus continues to dominate headlines. But experts say there’s another, more common disease that ought to be getting more attention.