Amanda Magnus

Producer, "The State of Things"

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC.  She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies. 

Portrait photo of Wind and her daughter.
Denise Bardsley Photography

Susan Wind’s daughter was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer at 16 years old. Soon after the family shared the news, Wind started hearing from her neighbors and other community members about their own families’ cancer battles.

Trump supporters hold signs and cheer as Trump looks at the crowd.
Creative Commons

Why do people vote against their own economic interests? In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump won states populated by mostly white, working class voters — like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio — but his tax cuts benefit the rich.

a headshot of Ann Patchett at her bookstore, Parnassus Books in Nashville
Heidi Ross/Harper Collins

Everyone has particular childhood memories that stand out and shape the story of who they are. But how reliable are these memories, and when should we let them go? These are some of the questions plaguing siblings Danny and Maeve Conroy, the two central characters in author Ann Patchett’s new novel, “The Dutch House” (Harper/2019).

Promotional photo showing four women confronting an alien in high water.
Courtesy of Women's Theatre Festival

Imagine a world in which almost every town is flooded and most people are living in temporary shelters. It is unclear what has caused the flooding or if waters will recede any time soon, and government officials are not being transparent about what is going on. This is the plot of the new play from Women's Theatre Festival, called "Waters Rise."

Andre Vann standing with a table of NCCU's history.
Courtesy of Andre Vann

Andre Vann has always been enchanted by the stories of others. He grew up in a small, tight-knit community in Henderson, N.C. that was founded by his great-great-grandmother. He was rooted to his family history in that neighborhood, surrounded by his relatives and close family friends.

Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff at a press conference.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Impeachment is once again at the center of this week’s newscycle. Now Congress has text messages from U.S. diplomats discussing President Donald Trump’s interactions with the Ukraine.

Ross and Ruiz-Lopez headshot.
Courtesy of Violet Bell

When North Carolina duo Violet Bell started recording their debut album, they planned to feature band members Lizzy Ross and Omar Ruiz-Lopez plus a drummer. But once the tape started rolling, Ross and Ruiz-Lopez realized the music warranted a bigger sound.

Okra is a seed-to-stem plant, meaning that every part of the organism is edible.
Peter Taylor

Writing off okra as a slimy pod is a great injustice, according to Chris Smith. The garden writer and seed saver is an okra aficionado who asserts that while the vegetable may have a unique texture, it is a surprisingly versatile piece of produce.

Kelley leaning against a counter in a TV repair shop.
Courtesy of Irene Kelley

Irene Kelley has been a force on Nashville’s Music Row for decades. She spent 20 years writing or co-writing hit songs for country artists like Ricky Skaggs and Loretta Lynn. But at the same time she was quietly working on her career as a performer.

Photo of the five members of the band posed with their instruments outside.
Courtesy of Carolina Blue

Bluegrass band Carolina Blue formed out of necessity.

A full-body mask that is white and includes the names of black men victimized by racist violence.
Courtesy of Fahamu Pecou

  

Artist Fahamu Pecou has been wrestling with stereotypes of black masculinity for his entire life. No matter how many degrees he earned or what job he had, he had the sense that he was only seen as a black body.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2mr6xsv

The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies accusing them of misusing federal funds in their programming.

Illustration of someone surrounded by life stressors.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

The World Health Organization now officially lists workplace burnout as an occupational syndrome in its International Classification of Diseases manual.

Old photos of the massacre.
Courtesy of the General Negative Collection, North Carolina State Archives

Wilmington is the setting for some of North Carolina’s oldest history — including the only coup d’etat to ever take place in the United States. In 1898 a mob of armed, white supremacists torched the offices of the local black newspaper, killed many African American residents and overthrew the elected government.

Yoo and his family with a family of African immigrants.
Courtesy of Lawrence Yoo

Pastor Lawrence Yoo’s vision for changing the world combines community service and entrepreneurship, and he has used this model in his own life.

A doctor holding a stethoscope.
Pxhere

North Carolina did not expand the number of adults eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but the state is pursuing other avenues of healthcare reform. The state Department of Health and Human Services and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have teamed up to work on a program to shift how healthcare is paid for.

People rollerskating on a flat track in wearing team unirforms.
Robert Davezac

The fast-skating, hard-hitting sport of roller derby was incredibly popular in the United States from the 1940s to the 1970s. The sport fell out of favor and into dormancy for several years — until a few punk-rock women in the early 2000s decided to pick it back up again.

Sonny Kelly on stage
Huth Photography/Courtesy of Sonny Kelly

North Carolina playwright, actor and teacher Sonny Kelly has made it his mission in life to inspire others. He aims to use performance and ministry to connect with people, especially marginalized kids. As a young man in the U.S. Air Force, Kelly felt like he had no real purpose or direction in his life.

Christina Koch is in between two astronauts in space suits.
NASA

A North Carolinian is slated to set a new record on the International Space Station.

A colorful card showing all the main characters from the film.
Library of Congress

Follow the yellow brick road to The State of Things’ celebration of the 80th anniversary of the film adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 1939 film’s mesmerizing visuals, hit musical numbers and heartwarming characters are still revered by audiences today.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump accused Jewish Americans of being disloyal if they vote for Democrats. The comments evoke the anti-Semitic idea of “dual loyalty” and that Jewish citizens are more loyal to Israel than to their own countries. What kind of impact will this have on the 2020 election?

Courtesy of Floyd McKissick Jr.

A University of Michigan study of North Carolina death penalty trials from 2012 showed that prosecutors on average struck black jurors at 2.5 times the rate of white jurors. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court forbid prosecutors from using the basis of race alone to reject jurors, racial bias is alive and well in North Carolina’s justice system.

Solar panels convert solar energy to usable engergy.
Pxhere

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality recently released a plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gases from electricity production over the next decade. The goal is to get to zero emissions by 2050, starting with a 60 to 70% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030.

Pickett measures her patient's height.
Courtesy of UNC Greensboro

When Stephanie Pickett was a nurse at Duke University Medical Center, more than 90% of the patients she saw with kidney failure were black. This shocking racial health disparity both bewildered her and inspired her to take action.

Cecil sits on a stool playing his guitar and sings into a mic.
Courtesy of David Ray Cecil

Singer and guitarist Dave Ray Cecil began writing music when he was six years old. As a child, he strung notes together on the piano and secretly used his brother’s guitar to write songs.

Image of the North Carolina State Legislature Building in Raleigh.
Wikimedia Commons

A disagreement over who should control settlement money from Volkswagen could cost North Carolinians $92 million. Volkswagen agreed to pay the state that money for selling cars that cheated on emissions tests, but both Governor Roy Cooper and the Republican-led legislature are claiming the right to dole out the funds. 

A black and white photo of the cast of The Wizard of Oz in costume.
Library of Congress

Somewhere over the rainbow, The State of Things is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the film adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 1939 movie is best known for its hit musical numbers, fantastical plotline and use of Technicolor. Judy Garland’s career took off after she portrayed Dorothy Gale on her journey through the magical land of Oz, and the film has since become an American cultural touchstone.

Image of the Appalachian Mountains.
Flickr Creative Commons

Many Americans spend more time looking at screens than they spend outside — or even looking out a window. This increased disconnect between humans and nature comes at a time when scientists warn that the environment is especially vulnerable: the recent National Climate Estimate estimates that annual average temperatures in the U.S. are expected to rise by about 2.5°F in the next few decades. A new collection of nature writing from Appalachia aims to bring readers closer to nature through stories about both the splendor of the mountain region and clear examples of how humans are changing the planet.

A woman holds a black-and-white photo of her grandmother.
Courtesy of Digital Diaspora Family Reunion LLC

Family pictures often illustrate everyday milestones — like birthday parties, weddings or family reunions. But they can also illuminate deep and complex stories about communities, values and identity. The new three-part PBS documentary series “Family Pictures USA” follows people from southwest Florida, Detroit and North Carolina as they search to discover what surprising things they can learn from stashed-away images.

Ernest Grant standing at a podium.
Courtesy of the American Nurses Association

As a boy Ernest Grant was enchanted by the nurses who attended his church in Swannanoa, a small area in western North Carolina. He often overheard them talking about their work at a local tuberculosis sanitarium and vividly remembers their stories of caring for patients.

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