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. 

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.

A prosthetic hand grips an object with synthetic skin on its fingertips.
Osborn et al, Science Robotics 2018

Researchers have developed a new part for a prosthetic hand: a synthetic skin that can feel pain. The electronic dermis, or “e-dermis,” fits over the fingertips of a prosthetic hand and helps amputees differentiate between something sharp and something round.

Courtesy of Jason Brown

When he first started playing football, Jason Brown saw it as a business decision. He wanted to get a scholarship to college so that he would not be a financial burden for his parents.

Dan Brainerd

 Last year, the Craven Arts Council and Gallery asked Jon Shain to do a tribute show featuring the music of W.C. Handy. He decided to take on the musical challenge of turning music for cornet and big band into music that a solo guitar and singer could perform. He transcribed hours of old piano music and listened to hours of full band recordings of Handy’s music. He re-arranged the music to work for solo guitar and voice.

Rozalind MacPhail playing flute in front of a movie being shown.
Courtesy of Tom Cochrane

Canadian multi-instrumentalist Rozalind MacPhail fell in love with Wilmington when she was stationed there for an artist residency as part of the Cucalorus Festival. She was inspired to create an audiovisual project featuring short films about why people feel connected to the city.

President Donald Trump Walks with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un
Evan Vucci / AP Photo

This week President Donald Trump attended a historic summit with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Trump surprised South Korea and some officials at the Pentagon when he announced the U.S. would stop military exercises with South Korea.

Courtesy of Hari Jones

Historian Hari Jones says there were no losers in the Civil War. Instead the war formed a more perfect union by securing freedom for millions of Americans.

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Erik Hersman / Flickr

Last week North Carolina state legislators filed a proposal that would ask voters to decide whether a photo ID requirement should be added to the state’s constitutional qualifications to vote. Voters won’t necessarily see more details before deciding on the proposed constitutional amendment. Lawmakers would add those details later in a separate bill.

a picture of Southernmost, Silas House's new novel
Courtesy of Silas House

In his latest novel, Silas House examines what it is like to fundamentally disagree with the people you love. “Southernmost” (Algonquin Books/2018) centers on an evangelical preacher, Asher Sharp, who takes in two gay men after a devastating flood in their small Tennessee town.

Prescription pills
Wikpedia

A bill in the North Carolina General Assembly would allow law enforcement to have access to a statewide database of prescribed controlled substances. This is the latest move by the legislature to help curb the opioid epidemic in North Carolina.

State Superintendent of Public Schools Mark Johnson
NC Public Schools

The North Carolina Supreme Court released a ruling Friday over who is in charge of running the state’s public schools: the State Schools Superintendent or the State Board of Education. After the decision was unveiled, both sides claimed victory.

A floating home on the Fontana Lake in North Carolina.
Tim Robison, courtesy of Our State Magazine

In its first season, the “Away Message” podcast from Our State Magazine focused on remote places in the state. For its newly-released second season, the podcast explores lost or forgotten stories in North Carolina’s history.

A picture from the play 'The Lost Colony.'
Courtesy of Andrew Lawler

In 1587, more than 100 men, women, and children traveled to the New World from England to found a colony on Roanoke Island. The colony’s governor went back to England later that year to get more supplies and returned in 1590. But by then, the colonists were gone.

Several hands of different colors raised.
John LeMasney / Creative commons

A controversial charter school bill passed in the General Assembly on Wednesday. The bill would allow four municipalities outside Charlotte to run their own charter schools.

Courtesy of Dr. Kimberly Johnson

Even though she grew up in a small, historically black community in Mississippi, Kimberly Johnson heard plenty of conversations about racism and discrimination.

Phil Cook's album cover for "People Are My Drug."
Courtesy of Phil Cook

 Phil Cook moved to North Carolina from Wisconsin over a decade ago. Even though he is from the Midwest, Cook says he has always been a student of Southern music. He had romantic ideas about the South from a young age, even with no experience of the region.

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