Anita Rao

Managing Editor, "The State of Things"

Anita Rao is the Managing Editor for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. 

She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. In her spare time she also co-hosts and produces a podcast and radio show about millennial feminism called "She and Her." 

Ways to Connect

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

The man once known fondly as “America’s Dad” now faces three to 10 years in state prison. 81-year-old Bill Cosby was sentenced last week for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, one of more than 60 women who has come forward with assault allegations against Cosby.

Image for stories to save lives
Southern Oral History Program / Center for the Study of the American South

Cardiologist Dr. Ross Simpson has spent years studying premature sudden death. He investigates why people between the ages of 18-64 with no pre-existing conditions are dying in North Carolina. 

Courtesy of Rachel Raimist

Hundreds of people lined up in Detroit this morning to bid farewell to Aretha Franklin at her public visitation. The singer’s outsized legacy has crystallized in the days since her death on Aug. 16, 2018. 

Courtesy of Wake Tech

Under the 15-year presidency of Stephen Scott, Wake Technical Community College grew by leaps and bounds. Full time enrollment more than doubled, the total budget more than quadrupled, and the college added five new campuses, including one in RTP that opened earlier this month. 

Andrew Dye / Winston-Salem Journal

A coalition of concerned community members and activists filed a federal discrimination complaint Monday against the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education and School System. It alleges that they mishandled concerns about mold and air quality at the elementary school Ashley Academy for Cultural & Global Studies, which serves a predominantly black and Latino population in eastern Winston-Salem.

MSMoody Photos

In hip-hop culture, the cypher is a circle in which people are rapping and beatboxing in a collective – a space that lays the foundation for the creation of community and music. 

Image of pipeline path
U.S. Energy Information Administration / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal judges rejected two key permits Monday in a move that may impede construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile project to transport natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina by way of Virginia. 

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey (center-right) listens while State Superintendent Mark Johnson gives his monthly address to the board.
Jess Clark / WUNC

On Thursday, State Board of Education Chair Bill Cobey submitted his resignation. His resignation will go into effect in September, six months before his term as chair was set to end. This move comes after State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson shared his reorganization of the State Department of Public Instruction. 

courtesy of Rodrigo Dorfman

Many cultures mark the end of childhood with a rite of passage. And for many Latinas, the transition from girlhood to womanhood often includes a giant party – the quinceanera. A growing number of Mexican families in the Triangle are keeping that tradition alive despite how costly these lavish events can be for low-wage workers. And for the teenagers being feted, the whole experience can make them feel both connected to their heritage and extended family, and like helpless victims of their mothers’ projections. 

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist Kaoru Ishibashi began classical violin training at around seven-years-old. After a brief stint as a metalhead in high school, Ishibashi tried his hand at electrical engineering at Cornell University, but found himself dedicating more time to his rock band than his textbooks. He ended up graduating from the Berklee College of Music with a degree in film scoring. 

Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Public hearings on environmental issues are often publicized in the back of the newspaper and roundly ignored. But amidst alarm over GenX and other contaminants in the Cape Fear River, Columbus County residents showed up in droves to two public meetings on the proposed use of methyl bromide in a local logging operation. 

Courtesy of Deondra Rose

Many people credit the feminist movement with the striking shift in gender dynamics in the United States over the second half of the 20th century. Women earn college degrees at higher rates than men, and they have also made large political and socioeconomic strides. 

Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

The word “rosé” may conjure up memories of cheap wine from boxes or bottles with screw caps. It used to be sweet, cheap and often passed over by serious wine drinkers. Today, rosé has become as much a lifestyle as it is a wine. Perhaps it’s the vibrant pink color or the change in the way rosé is produced, either way millennials are devoted to the beverage, creating hashtags, blogs and even playlists dedicated to the rosé experience. 

The state was in the heat of the trial of John Edwards when an unexpected ray of sunshine appeared – Rambo. He’s the Maltese-Yorkie mix who took his morning walk  past the news crews camped outside the courthouse. While the Edwards case played out inside, Rambo and his momager Courtney were outside building friendships with the press. Rambo got his first TV interview on WFMY, where he was deemed the unofficial mascot of the trial. 

Emre Tazegul / AP Photo

Last week, North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson was moved from a jail in Turkey to house arrest until his trial continues in October. Brunson has spent 23 years in Turkey raising a family and serving as an evangelical minister. 

Sarah's grandmother, Pattie Anne Watkins, at age 16 in 1941
Courtesy of Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson wasn’t interested in history or her ancestry until she inherited a box of her late grandmother’s diaries from the 1940s, when she was in her late teens. Reading those diaries gave her a different perspective on “Grammy” and helped Simpson realize the similarities between the two of them, especially when she went back and read her own teen journals. 

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

House Republicans on Wednesday filed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The lawmakers, including Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), say Rosenstein has withheld documents from Congress and has mishandled his job overseeing the special counsel investigation. The move demonstrates a widening division within the GOP on the handling of the probe into President Trump.

Courtesy of Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

When six-year-old Ben arrives in the emergency department of a Rhode Island hospital, the physician who attends to him uses her medical training to try to understand his trauma. But as the boy’s memories start returning, and they don’t seem to be his own, she must expand her understanding of how people are connected and what kind of phenomena might be possible.

Lorenzo Manag / Huemanly

 

 When Tracy Cruz was young, singing was just another language. Her mother and grandmother made ballads out of busy work, oftentimes singing in their native Tagalog as they did household chores. Tracy was born on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, but moved to San Jose, California when she was five.

Mitch Prinstein / Penguin Random House/2017

Popularity is often a concern for teenagers, but research shows it also influences life outside the high school cafeteria. Children as young as four years old can identify their most popular peer, and one’s popularity growing up can even predict his or her lifespan.

In the book “Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World” (Penguin Random House/2017), Mitch Prinstein teases apart the distinction between two different types of popularity: likability and status. 

Cover of Coconut, Ginger, Shrimp, Rum cookbook
Brigid Washington / Skyhorse Publishing 2017

Brigid Washington grew up with the Caribbean flavors of her family's native Trinidad. Ginger, coconut, fresh seafood and other ingredients shaped her palate and her experiences in the kitchen.

But food was not an important part of her adult life until, as a dissatisfied writer living in Raleigh, she felt compelled to walk into the kitchen of Bloomsbury Bistro and ask the chef to teach her the culinary arts. That brazen request led to culinary school and a cookbook. “Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum.: Caribbean Flavors for Every Season” (Skyhorse Publishing/2017) highlights the mainstay flavors of the islands with American fusion twists. 

NC State House
NCGA

Lawmakers returned to Raleigh this week for a special session to determine the titles for six proposed constitutional amendments. The amendments will be put to voters this November and include controversial items like a voter ID measure and a push to limit the governor’s appointment powers.

Courtesy of Onnesha Roychoudhuri / Melville House Books

 

Identity politics are often criticised for being a divisive force in America. But writer and activist Onnesha Roychoudhuri came to a personal realization that they are also key to building important social movements. Roychoudhuri developed this idea after years of working as a journalist and trying to ignore her personal identity in the name of objectivity.

Courtesy of Kurt Gray

The Book of Genesis says that man was created in God’s image. But a new study finds human beings may be returning the favor.

Courtesy of Hope Larson

For decades, dedicated readers have scoured their local comic book stores for the latest issue of their favorite superhero story. But look past the capes and one will quickly come across comics and graphic novels that offer complex and critical analyses of politics and society. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” to recent issues of “Black Panther,” graphic novels and comics allow readers to engage with dense topics and relate to diverse characters and experiences. 

President John F. Kennedy in the motorcade where he was assassinated, with Texas Governor John Connally sitting in front of him.
Walt Cisco / Dallas Morning News

Americans know that on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed as he rode in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Many people don’t know, however, that Texas Governor John Connally was riding in the same car as President Kennedy that day and was also hit by a bullet. He was seriously wounded, but he recovered. 

Courtesy of Asha Bala / North Carolina Arts Council

When Asha Bala was born, her mother looked at her and declared that she would be a dancer. Her country, India, was a newborn as well, recently independent from British rule. So many parents were keen to revitalize ancient cultural and spiritual practices like Bharata Natyam dance, once practiced in the temples and based on epic tales and mythology.

Courtesy of Martha Quillin / News & Observer

When Hurricane Matthew flooded low-lying areas across Eastern North Carolina in October 2016, thousands of people were displaced. As Martha Quillin writes in the News & Observer, it wasn’t just the living who moved.

Many people gathered at Headliners Barbershop, while one person cuts hair.
Tru Pettigrew

After Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a national conversation started about law enforcement and communities of color. That conversation was also happening in Cary, North Carolina, at Headliners Barbershop, where the clientele is majority African-American.

Courtesy of Scene on Radio

The 2017 season of the podcast “Scene on Radio” from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University received a Peabody Award nomination for its candid look at white supremacy in the United States.

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