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. 

Okra enthusiast Chris Smith shares his passion for the mucilagenous vegetable in his new cookbook.
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.

All of the former workers involved in the complaint are immigrants from Mexico, which they cite as a reason for their unfair treatment
Bob Karp / Indy Week

Five former employees of the Hampton Inn in Mebane filed a complaint in Guilford County Superior Court alleging wage theft totalling $24,681. They assert that money is from unpaid bonuses and vacation time, mileage reimbursement, a malfunctioning time clock and more.

Those housed by UYCS are placed in dingy apartments and run-down hotels plagued by mold, pests, and drug abuse.
Courtesy of Jordan Green

A Triad City Beat investigative piece reveals troubling accusations against United Youth Care Services (UYCS), an agency that provides substance abuse treatment tied to housing for those enrolled in Medicaid.

Courtesy of Keyetta Mangum

Television shows like “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” exemplified the country stereotype in American culture. Characters were uneducated, naive and often had a strong affinity for guns. North Carolina native Keyetta Mangum grew up in a rural area and is fiercely proud of her country roots, but also finds that most popular culture representations of rural life are tired, cliche and problematic.

Carolyn Coleman serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors and as the First Vice President of the North Carolina NAACP
NAACP

Carolyn Coleman got her first taste of community activism as a young girl in a segregated community in Savannah, Georgia. She and her mother went door-to-door collecting signatures to advocate for neighborhood improvements. She continued to work for civil rights and social justice for close to six decades.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that she will step down as press secretary by the end of June 2019.
Evan Vucci / AP

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be stepping down at the end of June, as announced through tweets from President Donald Trump. Sanders has been in Trump’s press office since his 2016 presidential campaign.

Rihanna fled the threat of violence in El Salvador in 2014.
Michal Huniewicz / Creative Commons

President Donald Trump’s administration has made several significant shifts in the country’s immigration policies, including a travel ban on those from several Muslim-majority countries; reducing the number of refugees admitted to the country; and enforcing policies that make it harder for individuals to seek asylum in the United States. A case in western North Carolina highlights the impact of the changes for asylum-seekers.

Le'Andra McPhatten is a musician and the director of Le'Andra's Music Studio in Durham.
Denise Allen / Courtesy of the North Carolina Arts Council

North Carolina’s strong cultural traditions in music, crafts, dance and food have been evolving for generations. Millennials are now taking the helm and putting their own spin on various folk and traditional art forms.

A fire at an apartment complex in May 2018 was a wake-up call for Greensboro to address its affordable housing crisis.
David Ford / WFDD

This summer the city of Greensboro plans to sue the 10 landlords with the highest number of housing code violations. These companies have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines owed to the city.

Robert Mueller is the latest in a long line of Federal Prosecutors who have played critical roles in American political history.
Carolyn Kaster / AP

Robert Mueller is part of a long line of special prosecutors in American history. Scholars point to the Ulysses S. Grant administration as the first to recognize that the U.S. Department of Justice might not be the most reliable entity to investigate a sitting president.

a black and white photo of the front of the North Carolina Mutual building
Archives, Records, and History Center/North Carolina Central University

As Durham celebrates its sesquicentennial, host Frank Stasio invites a panel of community leaders, business owners and activists to look back at the history of the Bull City and trace how its economy, politics and culture have shifted in the past 150 years. They home in on Black Wall Street: a four-block district on Parrish Street that was once a mecca for black-owned businesses.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers in the North Carolina House and Senate are negotiating the state budget. The primary differences in the spending plans approved by each chamber include the amounts allocated for teacher and state employee raises, cost of living adjustments for state retirees and education.

a headshot of De'Shawn Charles Winslow
Julie R. Keresztes/Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

Azelea “Knot” Centre is an independent, strong-willed woman who likes to live life on her own terms. She is an unabashed alcoholic who refuses to comply with societal norms, like marriage. Her next door neighbor, Otis Lee, is a close friend who tries to “fix” Knot by trying to convince her to settle down and live a more traditional life.

Jen Schradie's book cover
Courtesy of Harvard University Press

Online movements accompanying major protests like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street made people optimistic that digital activism could level the playing field and fuel a new generation of political activism. Some pundits thought the internet would be the great equalizer — giving all perspectives equal weight and access.

the bandmates posing with their instruments outside
Courtesy of Sabra Music

The Asheville-based swing group Queen Bee and The Honeylovers made their entire debut album a tribute to their beloved hometown. “Asheville” came out in late April and features tunes about the historical characters and legends of the city in the style of a 1920s swing record.

black and white photo of protesters holding signs
From the Raleigh News and Observer Negative Collection/Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina / bit.ly/2Qsjbm2

Coastal Hyde County is the site of one of the longest and most successful civil rights protests in American history. In 1968 the African American community boycotted Hyde County schools in response to the county’s desegregation plan.

Monét Noelle Marshall and Jordan Clifton on stage and in character
Alex Maness

What happens when a white male artist hires a black actress to stand in for him so he can get into a show for diverse artists? That is the question at the center of the comedic play “White.”

a black-and-white photo of men on the Watergate Committee, including Rufus Edmisten
Associated Press / AP

Rufus Edmisten cut his teeth in the political world as counsel to former U.S. Sen. Samuel Ervin Jr. Ervin was the chairman of what is commonly known as the Watergate Committee, and Edmisten played a key role in that committee’s work as well.

A woman in a prison cell
Officer Bimblebury / Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2JTob1G

The number of incarcerated women in North Carolina is growing faster than the number of incarcerated men. According to statistics from Prison Policy Initiative, the number of women in the state prison population increased 19% from 2009 to 2015. In that same time period the number of men in the state prison population increased only one percent.

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.

Jenna Glass in front of a book shelf
Courtesy of Jenna Glass

In the fictional world of Seven Wells, women are treated as possessions and forced to produce male heirs to continue the hereditary monarchies in their patriarchal society. There is magic in Seven Wells, but men have more magical powers than women, and women’s magic is considered dirty and shameful.

an eviction notice on a front door
Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons/http://bit.ly/2HmJ9nV

North Carolina is a hotspot in the nation’s eviction crisis. As of 2016, the state’s rate of evictions and eviction filings were nearly double national rates. New reporting shines a light on the specific problems in Durham County, where gentrification is pushing out long-time residents and advocates say the city is in a time of crisis.

an artist rendering of Omisade Burney-Scott wearing headphones
Artist: Wutang McDougal / Courtesy of Omisade Burney-Scott

Omisade Burney-Scott felt alone as she approached menopause. There were no resources to help guide her through this transition — nothing like the Judy Blume novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” that helped her through puberty. So Burney-Scott decided to create a resource of her own: “Decolonizing the Crone,” a multimedia project that collects the stories and experiences of women over 50.

Dan Bishop with a microphone in his hand
Chuck Burton / AP

State Sen. Dan Bishop of Mecklenburg County won Tuesday’s Republican primary election for the 9th Congressional District. Bishop beat out nine other candidates with 47.7 percent of the vote.

Horace Kephart with a pipe in his mouth, a gun in his hand and a snake nailed to the wall.
Courtesy of Western Carolina University Hunter Library, Special and Digital Collections

Naturalist Horace Kephart is a Southern Appalachian icon. He authored beloved books about hiking and exploring, and one of his most famous is even lovingly referred to as the “camper’s Bible.” But Kephart is perhaps best known for his crusade to preserve the Great Smoky Mountains.

An image of a jail cell
AlexVan / pixabay Creative Commons

North Carolina is changing its job screening process for correctional officers. Now, only a fraction of applicants will have face-to-face psychological interviews. Prison officials say the change will save money and help hire officers more quickly to fill vacancies. Critics say eliminating the interview is a dangerous move.

a giant cube made of white plastic pipes with blue film negatives making up the sides
Courtesy of Christina Lorena Weisner

The River Cube will marry art and science in its 275-mile journey down the Neuse River. The cube itself is made of found aerial footage of an unknown river system, and while it goes on its journey down the river, a team alongside it will collect scientific data, including photographs and water samples.

A giant face puppet surrounded by people holding red sticks
Courtesy of Paperhand Puppet Intervention

Artists Jan Burger and Donovan Zimmerman met while working together on the Haw River Festival in Saxapahaw. Burger thought it would be fun to create a puppet show for the fourth graders who attended the educational program, and he asked Zimmerman to help him. This collaboration led to the birth of the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a project that uses cardboard, bamboo, papier-mâché and other assorted items to create giant puppets, masks and shadow plays.

a casino facility
Courtesy of Cleveland County

A Congressional bill that would make way for a new casino is sparking controversy in western North Carolina. The bill would allow the Catawba Indian Nation to establish a gaming facility in Cleveland County. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians say this new casino would hurt their facilities in Cherokee and Murphy.

The book cover featuring a photo of Isaac Granger Jefferon, a Virginia tinsmith circa 1847.
Amanda Magnus/WUNC

The slave narrative was the first form of literature indigenous to the United States. William L. Andrews analyzed more than 60 slave narratives published between 1840 and 1865 for his latest book, “Slavery and Class in the American South: A Generation of Slave Narrative Testimony, 1840–1865” (Oxford University Press/2019).

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