Robert Joiner | St. Louis Public Radio

Robert Joiner

Health Reporter

Robert Joiner has carved a niche in providing informed reporting about a range of medical issues.  He won a Dennis A. Hunt Journalism Award for the Beacon’s "Worlds Apart" series on health-care disparities. His journalism experience includes working at the St. Louis American and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he was a beat reporter, wire editor, editorial writer, columnist, and member of the Washington bureau.

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This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 25, 2008 - DENVER - It's possible that somewhere in this mile-high city, the well-choreographed Barack Obama campaign has assigned a team to chant against rain on Thursday night. That's when Obama visits INVESCO Field to accept the Democratic nomination for president. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 25, 2008 - As Democrats opened their presidential nominating convention in Denver, the message seemed to be one of introduction, of making sure that all who watched knew that Barack Obama was brought up by a single mother who worked hard.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 23, 2008 - By selecting Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has added foreign policy experience to his ticket as well as help in winning a key state, according to an expert on the vice presidency. But Republican leaders in Missouri immediately pounced on the choice of Biden, D-Del., and said he would do little to help Obama win over voters in Missouri.

Photo by Robert Joiner | Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 22, 2008 On some summer evenings, after the sun and heat disappear and the weather turns cool and pleasant, Brenda Benedict sits on her front porch on Bellevue Avenue in Maplewood, does needlepoint and recites a prayer that nothing else will go wrong in her world.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 18, 2008 - On paper and in person, from one end of the state to the other, Amy Blouin is trying to get out the word that, notwithstanding the rosy fiscal picture painted by Gov. Matt Blunt and many other Republicans, it is not morning in Missouri. She says the governor seems to wake up to a Missouri that's very different than the one many residents experience or worry about. Theirs is a morning of getting up on the wrong side of the bed -- with anxiety over job insecurity and overdue mortgages, vanishing health benefits and price shock at the gas pump, the kind of morning that seems to escape the governor.

Confluence Prep principal John Diehl 2008
Photos provided by Confluence Academy

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 30, 2008 - The logo is Matisse-like in its simplicity and complexity: a crescent, a circle and a few other geometric shapes that form a human body floating in space and reaching for a star. The image was created for Confluence Academy to evoke the charter school's mission of helping kids learn to believe, achieve and reach their dreams.

Parents and students already believe in those dreams enough to make Confluence the largest K-8 charter school system in St. Louis. This support, along with grants from groups like the Walton Foundation, has paved the way for Confluence's first high school, Confluence Preparatory Academy, which opens in mid-August.

When Betty Hearnes heard the news that Sen. Barack Obama would woo working-class and swing voters in Cape Girardeau, Mo., she thought perhaps the announcer had made a mistake.

"Somebody gave him bad advice," says the wife of former Missouri Gov. Warren E. Hearnes and secretary of the Mississippi County Democratic Committee in southeast Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A year later, you can almost see the egg on Terry Jones' face. About 12 months ago, the political scientist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis was among pundits who saw the political campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as the equivalent of a colt signing up for the Kentucky Derby.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Caitlin Ellis wants to know what Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton has to say about the economy, the war or the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for that matter, she doesn't tune into CNN or wait for the evening network news. Instead, she's more likely to get her version of the truth by tapping into some of the so-called new media on the Web, such as YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Democratic presidential nomination is now Sen. Barack Obama's to lose. That's the view of some political experts after watching Obama pull off a big victory against Hillary Clinton in the North Carolina primary on Tuesday and nearly upset her in Indiana where Clinton was a heavy favorite.

Though Clinton has vowed to continue her campaign, these political experts say nothing short of a major bombshell will prevent Obama from winning the nomination.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Wherever workers appeared to gather signatures for the initiative petition to bar state affirmative programs in Missouri, chances are that someone from the WeCAN organization was  standing by with a counter-argument against the petition.

This unusual strategy for defeating a petition before it gets on the ballot apparently succeeded.

Wherever workers appeared to gather signatures for the initiative petition to bar state affirmative programs in Missouri, chances are that someone from the WeCAN organization was  standing by with a counter-argument against the petition.

President Bush greets volunteer Jerron Johnson before giving him the President's Volunteer Service award, the highest award for service, at St. Louis Lambert airport on Friday. (300 pixels 2008)
Adam Wisneski | Post-Dispatch (pool) | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: President George W. Bush told high-tech workers at World Wide Technology in Maryland Heights on Friday that rebate checks will help counter slow economic growth and that he remained confident that the “economy is going to come on.”

Bush spoke to a receptive audience that interrupted him with applause several times during a session that included a discussion of gasoline prices, the mortgage crisis, slow economic growth and access to health insurance.

Photo provided by Matt Adler Adler (in blue shirt) makes his pitch for becoming a delegate during a Democratic congressional caucus in March. (300 pixls)
Provided by Matt Adler | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The millennial generation -- under 30 and Internet-savvy -- is known for its interest in service to others, volunteerism and social issues. After months of political networking before and after the Iowa caucus, Matt Adler began to sense that "millennials" were ready for something new -- a leap into the political arena.

Adler, 22, a Washington University senior who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, is evidence of young people's deeper involvement. After hard work in local caucuses, he surprised himself by becoming one of the two youngest Democrats to win slots as delegates to August’s Democratic National Convention in Denver. The other young delegate is Sam Hodge, 21, a senior at Truman State University.

Phillip G. Gonzalez tries to make a point at 2008 GOP’s 2nd Congressional District Convention 300 pixels
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Delegates who support presidential contender Ron Paul were rebuffed Saturday when they tried to participate in the GOP’s 2nd Congressional District Convention at Kirkwood High School. The action was the most dramatic event to emerge as Republicans across Missouri held conventions in the state’s nine congressional districts to elect three national convention delegates each and three alternates. Paul's forces won all three delegates in the 5th Congressional District in Kansas City and one in the 8th district in Southeast Missouri.

Delegates who support presidential contender Ron Paul were rebuffed Saturday when they tried to participate in the GOP’s 2nd Congressional District Convention at Kirkwood High School. The action was the most dramatic event to emerge as Republicans across Missouri held conventions in the state’s nine congressional districts to elect three national convention delegates each and three alternates. Paul's forces won all three delegates in the 5th Congressional District in Kansas City and one in the 8th district in Southeast Missouri.

Delegates who support presidential contender Ron Paul were rebuffed Saturday when they tried to participate in the GOP’s 2nd Congressional District Convention at Kirkwood High School. The action was the most dramatic event to emerge as Republicans across Missouri held conventions in the state’s nine congressional districts to elect three national convention delegates each and three alternates. Paul's forces won all three delegates in the 5th Congressional District in Kansas City and one in the 8th district in Southeast Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise is on a mission. He wants to see every high school student graduate, ready to succeed. The author of "Raising the Grade: How High School Reform Can Save Our Youth and Our Nation," Wise is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education, which pushes for reforms in secondary education. We caught up with him at Webster University where he spoke Tuesday.

KIPP students in Kansas City work quietly at tables.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY — Across the street from the forward-looking kids at KIPP Endeavor Academy in Kansas City sits the other side of the coin — down-on-their-luck men who sit on a crumbling rock fence, drink wine or beer from brown paper bags, listen to a booming hip-hop beat on a car radio and watch the world pass them by. The scene is hardly uplifting for children trying to hold fast to a KIPP-inspired dream of making it out of this neighborhood and into college. But sights like these do not discourage KIPP officials.

Teacher Ricky Presberry works with a student at the KIPP Kansas City school
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY -- When he was a teacher in Kansas City public schools, Jon Richard felt frustration because the academic gains made by his fifth graders would disappear in middle school. Now Richard (pronounced ri-SHARD) is in a position to help reverse this pattern. He is a school leader for KIPP, a charter school system that has a track record for helping kids retain knowledge and attend college.

Kristi Meyer,KIPP KC math teacher, demonstrates how 5th graders use small marshmallows and toothpicks to understand vertices, ends and geometric shapes.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY  -- One recent Monday morning at the KIPP charter school here, some fifth-graders were walking single-file down a corridor when a visitor introduced himself. Like little soldiers, they all stopped as if on cue, but one kid, apparently forgetting an unwritten rule, rested one arm against a bulletin board covered with Grade-A student essays while he listened to the visitor. At the risk of creating a fuss, friction or conflict, another student gently touched the kid’s arm and moved it away from the prized essays. The two students exchanged smiles as if to say, “this is the KIPP way,” then gave the visitor their full attention.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Following weeks of English and math drills, tens of thousands of public school students are sweating through another season of Missouri Assessment Program testing. The scores are supposed to help the public figure out, among other things, whether charter schools are as good an investment as traditional public schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Missouri Democrats have now elected their full slate of superdelegates. Of Missouri's 16 superdelegates, five support Sen. Barack Obama, four line up with Sen. Hillary Clinton, and seven remain uncommitted.

They will join Missouri's 72 pledged delegates -- 36 for Obama, 36 for Clinton -- at the party's convention in Denver this August. Missouri has a total of 88 delegates.

What you need to know

WHO ARE MISSOURI'S SUPERDELEGATES? 

COMMITTED TO CLINTON

2008 graphic
St. Louis Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: On the morning of Aug. 25, 1983, about 300 St. Louis children boarded buses for trips lasting as long as 45 minutes to schools in the Ritenour District. In some cities, the sight of black children headed for predominantly white schools in the suburbs had triggered anti-busing rallies and, in some instances, violence. But the 300 kids who rode to Ritenour schools that morning enjoyed a quiet and peaceful trip, which set the tone for the start of perhaps the largest and certainly one of the longest running school desegregation initiatives in the nation.

Charter schools

Apr 2, 2008

Following weeks of English and math drills, tens of thousands of public school students are sweating through another season of Missouri Assessment Program testing. The scores are supposed to help the public figure out, among other things, whether charter schools are as good an investment as traditional public schools. The spirited and at times mean-spirited debate growing out of this question is as constant and as predictable as Meramec River flooding following heavy spring rains.

St. Louis Beacon

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