Amanda Magnus

Editor, "Embodied" / Lead Producer, On Demand Content

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. 

A group of Black people in the middle of the street, walking. The people are holding various signs and there is one large black banner with the words 'Black Panther Movement Black Opressed People All Over The World' in bold, gold letters
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen took over a decade to fully realize his vision of a collection of stories about the West Indian community in London in the '60s, ‘70s and '80s. That idea came to life last month with the release of a five-part film anthology called "Small Axe." The films explore the joy and pain of life in this immigrant community — and its important contributions to London's history.

Four Black men in a boat rowing in the water.
Richard Schultz / Courtesy of 50 Egg Films

A Louisiana family is sounding the alarm over the disappearance and death of 15-year-old Quawan "Bobby" Charles. The teen was missing for days before being found facedown in a creek. Local law enforcement officers say the boy drowned, but Bobby’s family says his disfigured corpse tells a different story. Host Frank Stasio talks about this 2020 death that calls to mind the 1955 murder of Emmett Till with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal.

Iheoma Iruka has devoted her career to understanding bias in early-childhood education, but she has very few memories of that period in her own life. Iruka was born in Texas, but her parents moved back to Nigeria when she was 3. She stayed there until after second grade when she and two of her sisters moved to Boston with her mother, and the family was split between Nigeria and the U.S.

A white man, Donald Trump, standing in front of a wooden podium. The podium has a blue sign with a red border with the words 'Trump Pence' in bold, white text. Trump is wearing a dark colored suit and a red tie with a white shirt
Gage Skidmore

The election is over, but many big questions remain for the political future of our nation. Which political party will control the U.S. Senate? Will the Democratic Party move more to the left or more to the center under a Biden administration?

A graphic of an Asian woman, colored red with a white mask, holding a baby colored yellow, against a blue background.
Pixabay

In September, 865,000 women left the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eighty percent of the people who stopped working or looking for work that month were women. It’s no coincidence that this large drop out happened around the same time that the fall semester began: data confirms that mothers disproportionately shoulder the burden of childcare, supervising virtual learning and domestic work. 

President Trump, a white man with light orange and white hair, standing in front of a podium with a microphone. He is wearing a white shirt with a red tie and a dark suit jacket. His mouth is open
Michael Vadon

Three major broadcast news networks cut away from President Donald Trump’s press conference last week because of his on-air lies about election fraud. CBS, ABC and NBC cut away from his live stream to fact check the claims. Fox and CNN carried the entire press conference but reported afterward that the president had no evidence to back up his accusations about the election.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

The United States hit a new record this week: more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day. The virus is surging around the country — including in North Carolina. The state broke its own record last week with 2,886 new infections in one day on Thursday, Oct. 29. 

A group of people in yellow shirts, standing on both sides of a sidewalk. There is one person looking directly at the camera, appears to be a white man, smiling and holding a travel cup
Peyton Sickles/WUNC

Republicans outperformed polls in North Carolina and much of the nation in last night’s general election. But many results are still unclear and likely will be for days. The presidential and U.S. Senate races in North Carolina are still too close to call, and there are also 117,000 outstanding mail-in ballots that could impact the state’s results. 

A group of people kneeling in front of a building with columns
Rusty Jacobs/WUNC

Law enforcement officers pepper sprayed peaceful protesters in Alamance County this weekend on the last day of early voting. The group of about 150 people were participating in a “Legacy March to the Polls” in downtown Graham that included a stop at the controversial Confederate monument there and a plan to march two blocks to an early voting site. 

A group of people, all in black shirts, standing in what seems like a city. There is one person in the front of the crowd holding a microphone, the person appears to be a Black woman. They are wearing a shirt that reads 'Black Lives Matter Los Angeles'
Creative Commons

Hundreds of thousands of women from across the country donning pink hats flooded onto the nation’s capitol in 2017 for the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. The Women’s March in Washington D.C. — along with sister marches held in all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries — had some pundits claiming the 2016 election of Donald Trump had awakened the women-identifying electorate. 

A woman in a colorful head scarf holding yellow flowers in front of brightly-colored art.
Courtesy of Cortina Jenelle Caldwell

The world of artistic expression called to Cortina Jenelle Caldwell at a young age. As a child she dreamed of becoming an architect, spent a lot of time journaling and loved losing herself in a good book. Her early life was characterized by hard work and perseverance, but it was also marked by trauma. 

A painting of a Black masculine face covered in leaf print, with roses coming up his neck.
Courtesy of Being seen

How much does it matter to see people who look and identify like you in the media that you consume? In the new podcast "Being Seen" host Darnell Moore examines what it means to have culturally accurate and responsible depictions of the Black, male, queer experience. He joins host Frank Stasio and popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal on this edition of #BackChannel, a series connecting culture and context, to talk about his interviews with artists, writers and others. 

A photo of the Durham County Jail: a large silver building.
Laura Candler/WUNC

COVID-19 is spreading more quickly throughout North Carolina's population: public health metrics in the last week have some experts worried the state is heading in the wrong direction. Research shows the virus spreads more quickly indoors and when people have prolonged close contact with one another — something that's almost unavoidable in places like jails and prisons. 

A picture of the map of North Carolina with different shades of red to show the number of confirmed cases in each county
Creative Commons

North Carolina hit its highest one-day case count of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,684 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, and shared that hospitalizations are also creeping back up. 

Contributed by Hassan Pitts

Many people know the role that Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr. played in the fight for civil rights. But what about Willena Cannon, a student at North Carolina A&T University who was arrested after protesting to integrate Greensboro’s businesses? Or Reverend Steve Allen, who founded one of the first African American law firms in Greensboro in 1979? 

A black and white photograph of a Black man in a beret kneeling over an injured man on the ground.
News & Record file

More than four decades after the Greensboro Massacre, the city formally apologizes for the role of city police. On Nov. 3, 1979, a caravan of Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazi Party members pulled out weapons and killed five people protesting at an anti-Klan march in Greensboro. Ten people were injured, and the police were nowhere to be found — even though they knew a violent attack was coming. 

A red street sign saying 'danger due to misinformation' in what seems to be a city, there are headlights in the background
[Flickr]//Creative Commons

In the past decade, we’ve grown increasingly accustomed to a news cycle that operates at a breakneck pace and the ability to follow along with news updates on devices that fit into our pockets. But constant access to information does not necessarily make us more informed. The proliferation of social media and online information sites opened the doors to a less-regulated news economy, which means misinformation and hoaxes can often spread faster than the facts themselves. 

Two White Men, President General Ford and Jimmy Carter, standing at wooden looking podiums on a stage
Flickr / Creative Commons

North Carolina voters had the opportunity to watch two high-profile debates this week: the first presidential debate in Cleveland and the final U.S. Senate debate in Raleigh. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off Tuesday night in a contentious debate that left many voters feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham took the stage Thursday for the last of three scheduled debates.

A woman speaks into a microphone at a protest
Courtesy of Dawn Blagrove

Dawn Blagrove identified her life's work at an early age. As a young girl growing up in 1970s segregated Milwaukee, she read Sam Greenlee's novel "The Spook Who Sat By The Door." It tells the story of a Black CIA operative who goes undercover within the system and takes what he learned back to his Chicago neighborhood to help young people start a revolution. 

Flicker/David Geitgey Sierralupe

There are still very few answers about what led to the police killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky earlier this year. Police officers battered their way into Taylor’s apartment, serving a "no-knock" warrant, and shot Taylor five times. As the FBI and Kentucky state officials continue to investigate the death, a new documentary from The New York Times Presents digs into official reports and documents to piece together what went wrong. "The Killing of Breonna Taylor" also paints a picture of who she was as a person through interviews with Taylor’s friends and family.  Host Frank Stasio talks about the story with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal for #BackChannel, our recurring series connecting culture and context. 

McKenzie County Sheriff's Office

Hundreds of inmates have been released from state prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic to help curb the spread of the virus. But the same is not true in the state’s jails, which housed just under 16,000 people statewide in the first five months of 2020, according to data from the University of North Carolina School of Government. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety oversees the response to the coronavirus in the state’s prisons, but jails around the state do not have the same accountability or oversight. 

Actor Lamorne Morris standing in front of a public billboard with fliers in his hand, looking confused.
Photo by: Joe Lederer/Hulu

In the pilot episode of cartoonist Keith Knight’s new Hulu show "Woke," the main character Keef is putting up posters in a park when police officers show up, draw guns and slam him to the ground. The cops think he is a suspect in a string of muggings because he "fit the description": a six-foot-tall Black male. The nerdy character, played by Lamorne Morris, is understandably shaken after the incident. 

The front of the North Carolina Legislature building with an American flag and a North Carolina flag out front with two trees on either side
Jayron32

The North Carolina legislature passed the Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 Thursday, which allocates the nearly $1 billion left of federal CARES Act money. 

RISMedia

Owning your first home is a rite of passage — a marker of true adulthood. For those privileged enough to buy a house, it is often the first step in building wealth. But millennials are not achieving that milestone at the same rate that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers did at their age. 

Flickr/CC

Nearly one of five students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the first in their families to attend college. Many first-generation students come from socioeconomically-disadvantaged families and have access to fewer resources and support than their peers. These students are also less likely to graduate — they drop out of college after three years at more than twice the rate of their peers whose parents got a degree. 

Howard Burchette sitting in front of a microphone with a WNCU flag on it
Courtesy of Howard Burchette

Every Saturday evening for more than 15 years, Howard Burchette has hit the airwaves in Durham with a playlist of iconic tunes and interviews with masters of funk. On “The Funk Show” on WNCU, Burchette interweaves dance-worthy songs with stories from greats like Bobby Byrd, Chuck Brown and Bettye Lavette. 

Clapsaddle's headshot
Courtesy of Annette Clapsaddle

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle spent years writing her first novel, and it garnered critical acclaim: she won an award and became a finalist for another. Yet she could not find an agent to publish it. So, she started again, this time with the support of the Great Smokies Writing Program. 

Courtesy of Joe Troop

Singer-songwriter Joe Troop has been putting out a lot of music during the coronavirus pandemic — including a song he released on YouTube in late April called “A Plea to the US Government to Fully Fund the Postal Service." The song went viral and garnered more than 400,000 signatures to take action to save the post office. 

A painting of Yusuf Hawkins, surrounded by protest signs, pink flowers and and the Black Liberation flag.
HBO

Sen. Kamala Harris is breaking barriers as the first Black woman and Asian American person to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket. The former California attorney general is already facing right-wing attacks on her “eligibility” to run and left-wing criticism of her reputation as a prosecutor. 

A large brick industrial building with a Tyson sign on the side
Jacob Biba / Carolina Public Press

Nursing homes, schools, correctional facilities and childcare centers are required to report information about coronavirus outbreaks to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The state agency then shares that information publicly in its regularly-updated COVID-19 dashboard, which includes details about the specific facilities in which the outbreaks are happening and how many people have tested positive for the virus.

But the agency does not publish similar data about meat processing facilities, even though they have been a hot spot for the virus. 

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