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. 

A map of the U.S. from Jacqui Castle's new novel, 'The Seclusion.'
Jacqui Castle / Inkshares

What if the United States built walls along its borders with Mexico and Canada? That is the premise of a new, young adult dystopian novel that imagines what an isolationist United States would look like in the year 2090. 

flag-draped casket of Sen. John McCain
Alex Brandon / AP

Federal judges ruled again that North Carolina’s Congressional map is unconstitutional due to partisan gerrymandering. In their ruling, the judges left open the option to order redrawing the districts before the 2018 election. What impact could this ruling have on the midterm elections and congressional control? 

The cover of Anne-Claire's new album, 'I Still Look For You.'
Kendall Atwater

When Anne-Claire Niver’s grandmother died in 2016, her small family was devastated. Niver was so grief-stricken that writing music about her grandmother was painful – too painful for her to imagine writing a song or recording an album about the loss. 

Los Angelos gang member being tattoed
J. Ross Baughman 1982 / Wikimedia Commons

Guilford is one of eight counties in North Carolina that has more than 40 gangs, according to 2016 numbers from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol GangNET database. In 2017, Greensboro had a record 42 homicides, and 11 of those killings were gang related. That same year, the number of violent deaths in High Point was nearly three times greater than killings in 2016. 

NC State House
NCGA

The North Carolina General Assembly is in a last-minute special session, called yesterday, to rewrite two proposed constitutional amendments to appear on the November ballot.

File photo of a protest sign in front of Chemours' President of Fluoroproducts Paul Kirsch during a community meeting hosted by the chemical company Chemours at Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, N.C. on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

Earlier this week the state turned down Chemours’ suggestion to raise the acceptable amount of GenX, a chemical found in the water, soil and air around its North Carolina plant. The Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board instead affirmed the state’s conservative threshold of the chemical for drinking water. 

Angel Medical Center
Courtesy of Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The sale of not-for-profit community hospital system Mission Health to a national health care titan is underway in Western North Carolina.

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

Inmates around the country are on strike demanding improved prison conditions, better pay and increased rehabilitation services. The National Prison Strike started Tuesday, and is set to end on Sunday, Sept. 9.  

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

Silent Sam, the controversial confederate monument that stood on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus is gone.

Courtesy of Michelle Skipper

When Hurricane Matthew devastated her rural community, Michelle Skipper was there to help. She and her husband cooked and did laundry for hundreds of people staying at an emergency shelter in St. Pauls, a small town in Eastern North Carolina. 

gavel at courtroom
William Johnson / US Airforce Photo

A three-judge panel met Wednesday to discuss two challenges to constitutional amendments proposed by the Republican-led General Assembly.

Two adults with developmental disabilities make candles.
Courtesy of Extraordinary Ventures

The transition from high school to college or the job market is difficult for many people, but it can be especially difficult for people with developmental disabilities. The Chapel Hill-based nonprofit Extraordinary Ventures aims to bridge that gap. It operates six small businesses that employ more than 50 people with developmental disabilities. 

Congressman Robert Pittenger
Reinis Inkens / Wikimedia Commons

Some U.S. House races that were once considered reliably Republican are becoming more competitive, and three of these districts are in North Carolina. 

A woman's hands on a tablet in front of a computer.
Pexels / Pixabay

A North Carolina woman was stalked and harassed on social media for months, and police said they could not do anything to help her. 

Courtesy of Keith Dannemiller

What does home mean, and how does the idea of home change over time? Mexico City-based photographer Keith Dannemiller explored these questions during a month-long residency at the Eyes on Main Street program based in Wilson, North Carolina. 

Courtesy of David Joy / Putnam

  

Who are you willing to die for? That question is at the center of a new Appalachian noir novel set in western North Carolina, where author David Joy has lived his entire life.

An artist piece next to a science piece
Courtesy of Casey Lindberg and Ariana Eily / Duke University Rubenstein Arts Center

Popular stereotypes of artists and scientists are starkly different. While the scientist is brainy, analytical and often donning a white lab coat, the artist is inexact, eccentric, and creative. But the overlap between these two disciplines is far greater than what stereotypes may lead people to believe. A new exhibit on view at the Duke Rubenstein Arts Center explores the intersection of art and science and what happens when the two are in conversation with one another.

One of artist Dean Allison's glass busts.
Courtesy of Dean Allison

Alongside the wide-sweeping social and political upheaval of the 1960s, a new form of glass art was born that gave artists more freedom to explore political and artistic ideas. While glass had long been available to artists, new technology developed in 1962 allowed them to work with it in smaller studio spaces, which paved the way for artists to take glass art in a new direction. 

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 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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

A copperhead snake
Jeff Beane

With warmer weather and more outdoor activities comes the increase in snake sightings in North Carolina. There are nearly 40 species of snakes in the state with one of the most common being the copperhead. Despite the fact that there are copperheads in every county in North Carolina, there are still a lot of misconceptions and myths about them says herpetologist Jeff Beane

The AIDS Memorial Quilt
Elvert Barnes / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/1dsePQq

According to the United Nations, more people are living with HIV than have died since the epidemic began in the 1980s. There have been large medical and social advances for those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. But many of those early researchers, advocates and survivors are nearing the end of their lives. 

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock with her three sons.
Courtesy of Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock studies what it is like to live in the body of another person. She looks specifically at bodies that may make others uncomfortable, like those of people with memory loss or people who have bulimia. She transforms first-person interviews into performance pieces that explore perspectives on embodiment.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

President Donald Trump is in the United Kingdom for a two-day visit with British leaders. The visit turned awkward after the president blasted U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in the press one day before the two were set to meet. He told a British tabloid that May ignored his advice on Brexit and that her political rival Boris Johnson would make an excellent prime minister.

D. Shawn and Soul
Courtesy of D. Shawn & Soul

Duo D. Shawn and Soul say their debut album takes on a different tone than the “turn up” or party songs that loom large in the rhythm and blues scene. According to the artists, a significant amount of R&B music does not show the true depth of who a woman really is, and their release “Ya Girl’s Playlist” is an effort to counter that one-dimensional narrative.

Ragen Chastain is doing a split
Courtesy of Ragen Chastain

More than 90 million American adults are obese. Research shows that excess weight can increase your risk of certain health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. But being overweight affects more than your health. Studies show obese people have a harder time finding a job and are paid less than thinner people.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

In late June, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to halt most family separations at the border and to reunify all families that had been separated. U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw told the government to have all families back together by July 26 and to reunify children under the age of five with their parents by July 10.

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