Charlie Shelton-Ormond

Podcast Producer

Charlie Shelton-Ormond

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC. His fascination for audio storytelling and radio journalism began as a broadcast major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his career as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC’s student-led radio news show, where Charlie’s work won multiple Hearst Journalism Awards.

After college, Charlie worked as a producer for “The State of Things” with WUNC, where he developed programs on everything from state politics to popular culture. From there, he dove into the world of podcasting, and produced the long-running American history program “BackStory.” As a producer for “BackStory,” Charlie developed several episodes about North Carolina history, including the life and legacy of civil rights activist and lawyer Pauli Murray, and a tragic fire at a chicken processing plant in Hamlet, NC in 1991.

When he’s not putting together podcasts, Charlie enjoys hosting a weekly radio show about the history of music called “Keeping Time.”

While most historically Black colleges and universities in North Carolina are welcoming students back to campus this month, some small, private institutions are offering only virtual instruction this fall.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with Suzanne Walsh, president of Bennett College in Greensboro, about the college’s decision to go online this semester.  

We also hear Durham-based jazz musician Brian Horton perform a unique rendition of the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often called the Black national anthem.

After pivoting to virtual instruction in the spring, colleges and universities are now taking different approaches to try to keep students and faculty safe as a new semester gets underway.

Some smaller private institutions are keeping things remote, and offering all-online classes. Meanwhile, the 17 schools within the UNC system are welcoming students back into dorms and offering a mix of in-person and virtual classes. 

Host Dave DeWitt talks with Randy Woodson, chancellor of North Carolina State University, about the school’s preparations for an unprecedented semester. 

DeWitt also reflects on his experience as a parent sending his oldest child off to college, and adjusting expectations during the pandemic.
 


For many white people who are recognizing their privilege and complacency around systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd's death, turning acknowledgement into an action plan to dismantle racism remains a challenge.

Host Leoneda Inge has seen how paralyzing and disorienting "white guilt" can be, and she recounts a trip she took from Durham, NC to Montgomery, AL on a bus of predominantly white people to see several Civil Rights museums and memorial sites. She also speaks with Desiree Adaway, founder of The Adaway Group, about Adaway’s experience organizing conversations with white people about systemic racism.

We also hear from Ronda Taylor Bullock, co-founder of the Durham-based nonprofit “we are,” about dealing with racism as a family in a candid conversation with her 9-year-old son Zion.
 


The pandemic hasn’t halted much traffic for summer vacationers in some areas of the North Carolina coast. In June, Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Dare County saw its largest number of visitors in nearly 20 years. But even as people come from states with higher COVID numbers, Dare County’s health department has mostly been able to keep COVID under control. 

Host Dave DeWitt talks with Sheila Davies, director of the department of health and human services in Dare County, about the role of residents and visitors in combating the virus in the coastal county. We also hear about a new app that aims to help healthcare workers better understand their mental health.


For workers across the country, the pandemic has brought to the surface longstanding issues around lack of stability and support in the workplace. Earlier this week, demonstrators gathered in downtown Durham, North Carolina to advocate for a $15 minimum wage as a part of the national rally called “Strike for Black Lives.” The event was just one example of how employees across multiple industries have felt underpaid and undervalued by their employers.

Host Leoneda Inge hears from people about their experiences in the workforce during the pandemic, and she speaks with attorney Carena Lemons about workers’ rights related to COVID-19.

Inge also remembers the life and legacy of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, who died last week at 80 years old.
 


The pandemic has infiltrated and affected every aspect of human life, across the globe. The devastating health and economic impacts have been undeniable, and ever-present.

But there’s something else happening that’s not as noticeable: the animals. Creatures with fur, feathers and paws have been spotted in some unexpected places since there haven't been as many humans getting in their way.

WUNC’s Laura Pellicer and Elizabeth Friend were curious about the effect a drastic decrease in human activity might have on wildlife. So they decided to look at one animal in particular, and see if it’s behavior has changed since North Carolina shut down from COVID-19.

On this episode, we’re featuring "CREEP," an audio special about our relationship with wildlife during the pandemic.

 


The World Health Organization reports there are more than 150 vaccines for COVID-19 in various stages of development. But how do you ensure that everybody is fairly represented in clinical research trials, especially when people of color are dying at higher rates from the virus?

Host Leoneda Inge talks with Kent Thoelke, chief scientific officer and executive vice president of PRA Health Sciences, about the clinical research organization’s efforts to connect with diverse populations for COVID-19 treatment and vaccine trials.

Inge also discusses a recent measure passed by Asheville city council that will provide reparations for the city’s Black community. The resolution calls on the city to create a commission and designate funds to strengthen Black home and business ownership, and close gaps in healthcare, education and employment.


What will happen in the fall? It’s a question that’s burning in the minds of parents, teachers and students since schools were closed in March. On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper announced schools will be allowed to reopen for both in-person and remote learning with safety protocols in place. Meanwhile, parents are faced with the difficulty of determining what will be best for their child’s health and education in the upcoming semester.

We hear from Dr. Charlene Wong, assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke University, about the impact of in-person and remote learning on families and students.

We also talk with Dr. Brian Burrows, medical director and chair of the emergency department at Duke Regional Hospital, about life as a medical professional during a pandemic, and how to manage personal well-being as a doctor on the frontlines.

The personal loss of a loved one leads host Leoneda Inge to reflect deeply on the recent experience of saying goodbye during the pandemic.

Despite social distancing and stay-at-home orders preventing large groups from gathering together, Black communities have still found ways to mourn the loss of family and friends.  Whether it’s live streaming a service, mandating face masks, limiting attendance or offering creative kinds of support to relatives, people are adapting to the current challenges of organizing funerals and memorials.

Inge also talks with Nina Jones Mason, manager of Ellis D. Jones & Sons Funeral Directors, about grieving during this unique time.


After months of socially distant play dates, remote learning and unplanned Fortnite marathons, families have done their very best to find a “new normal” during the pandemic. Throughout all the stress and uncertainty, families are staying resilient, creative and connected.

We talk with Dr. Christine Murray, director of the Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships at UNC-Greensboro, about shifting family dynamics and how households have adjusted to different routines in quarantine.

We also talk with Dr. Anita Blanchard, associate professor of psychological and organization science at UNC-Charlotte, about the influence of video conferencing platforms like Zoom on people’s sense of community.


Confederate monuments, memorials, and names on buildings are coming down across the South. In the last month, many of the region's long standing symbols have been stripped, from the Mississippi state flag to a statue of Stonewall Jackson in Richmond, Virginia.

Host Leoneda Inge visits the city of Quincy, Florida, after officials swiftly removed their Confederate landmark, and she speaks with Mitch Colvin, mayor of Fayetteville, North Carolina, about recent protests against the legacy of Confederate symbolism in his city. Leoneda also reflects on the significance of recent changes to capitalize “Black” in newsrooms.

Our thanks to WRAL for supplying some of this episode's audio.

 


North Carolina residents have lived under various rules and policies throughout the gradual reopening, and last week Governor Roy Cooper added a new one to the list: a statewide mandate to wear face coverings.

Growing evidence shows that face masks can help reduce the spread of the virus. Yet some people, like President Donald Trump, are still reluctant to wear one.

We talk with Dr. Julia Marcus, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, about the rhetoric tied to wearing a face mask and how public health messaging can adapt. We also hear from a hygiene expert about a possible future for sports fans.


As Black, Latinx, and Indigenous populations continue to endure a disproportionate number of COVID-19-related deaths, state and local health departments are working to increase access to testing and other health care services for communities of color.

Host Leoneda Inge travels to a free testing site in a predominantly Black community in Tallahassee, FL, and talks with Dr. Cardra Burns, senior deputy director of the North Carolina Division of Public Health, about our state’s efforts to bolster testing and break down systemic barriers to health care.

We also make a big announcement about the podcast and hear from musician Shana Tucker about her experience performing “America the Beautiful” on the cello as a Confederate monument was recently disassembled in Raleigh.

Our thanks to the News & Observer for supplying some of this episode’s audio.

Correction: a previous version of this story misidentified Dr. Cardra Burns as the senior deputy secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The state Department of Health and Human Services reports three clusters of COVID-19 at childcare centers across North Carolina. A “cluster” is defined as five or more cases, with links between cases, at a licensed or regulated childcare facility.

As state health officials try to mitigate these clusters, parents and childcare directors must grapple with what’s best for kids’ safety. About a third of all childcare centers in the state have remained closed since March, while advocates predict around a third of facilities could close permanently.

We talk with WUNC education reporter Liz Schlemmer about the obstacles childcare owners and parents are facing. We also hear about a camp that’s adjusting to a different kind of summer.

As state officials continue to heed the call for social distancing and face coverings, researchers and health experts have been busy examining the trends and forecasting possible scenarios for the pandemic’s future.

We talk with Kim Powers, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about her work modeling the projection of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

We also hear about the work of a historic site to celebrate Juneteenth, while social distancing.

The next phase of North Carolina’s gradual reopening is in jeopardy as many of the state’s health trends continue to move in the wrong direction. Hospitalizations on average are on the rise, while 1,154 people have died from the virus.

We talk with Rose Hoban, editor and founder of North Carolina Health News and a registered nurse, about the positive test rate in the state and other alarming trends that could influence the next steps.  Host Dave DeWitt also reflects on the special experience of his son’s high school graduation.


There have been more than 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than a dozen outbreaks at state correctional facilities. Five inmates at state prisons and one person on prison staff have died from the virus.

State officials say they’ve been following CDC guidelines for testing and treatment, but some argue officials aren’t doing enough for inmates. On Monday, a state judge sided with civil rights groups, and ruled that state prisons must come up with a plan to test every inmate for COVID-19.

We hear from Elaine White about her experience being incarcerated during the pandemic, and why she is concerned for the health of people at correctional facilities. And we check in with WUNC data reporter Jason deBruyn about testing at state prisons.


Since the start of Phase 2, some of the state’s key COVID-19 metrics haven’t been trending in the ways North Carolina’s leaders had hoped. On Tuesday the number of hospitalizations hit a new high, with the state Department of Health and Human Services reporting 774 people in the hospital with COVID-19. This peak comes after North Carolina also saw its single highest day of new cases reported over the weekend.

We talk with Dr. David Wohl, infectious disease physician at UNC School of Medicine, about the upticks in hospitalizations and what it means for the road ahead. We also hear about a memorial for George Floyd this past weekend in Raeford, North Carolina.
 


The demographic breakdown of COVID-19 cases remains a grim reminder of rampant racial health disparities in our nation. For black and Latinx communities especially, the consequences of longstanding gaps in healthcare have been intensified by the pandemic.

Hispanics account for 39% of confirmed COVID-19 cases, but only comprise about 10% of the total population. But there are several barriers prohibiting Latinx folks from getting adequate testing and treatment during the pandemic. We talk with Eliazar Posada, community engagement and advocacy director for El Centro Hispano, and Paola Jaramillo, cofounder of Enlace Latino NC, about outreach within the Latinx community.


In the past week, protests have taken place throughout North Carolina, and across the country, in response to the death of George Floyd. Floyd, who was born in North Carolina, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis last week. In a video, Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” while the officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

The ongoing protests are also fueled by historic and longstanding violence and institutional inequalities perpetrated against black Americans- inequalities that have been illuminated by the pandemic’s death toll.

We talk with William Darity, director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center for Social Equity at Duke University, and the co-author of the new book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century.” We also hear from Brianna Baker, a public health analyst with RTI International, about attending a protest in Raleigh on Saturday and why she feels an urgency to organize despite a pandemic.


Two heads of state clashed this week after President Trump put Governor Roy Cooper in the crosshairs of his active, and now partially fact-checked, Twitter account. Trump threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if Cooper couldn’t guarantee full capacity for the event in August.

On Thursday, the Republican National Committee sent Cooper a set of guidelines on safety at the convention, but Cooper has asked for more details on the vague game plan.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly is already looking toward November and voters' safety at the polls. A bill is moving through the state legislature that would grant easier access to voting by mail in the upcoming elections.

We talk with WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs about the bill and how it might influence the way people in North Carolina vote this fall.


The main objective of the all the stay-at-home orders was to flatten the curve and make sure hospitals across the state didn’t become overrun. That has so far been successful in North Carolina. But, as "stay-at-home" becomes "safer-at-home," there’s been a spike in cases, percentage of positive tests and hospitalizations. Meanwhile, hospitals and health care workers in other states have seen a greater surge, and are now seeing a greater decline.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, health care employees have worked tirelessly to treat COVID-19 patients — and in many cases save those patients’ lives — while risking their own life in the process. The emotional and mental stress doctors, nurses and others in the medical field experience inside the hospital will likely stay with them after the pandemic subsides.

We check back in with Bevin Strickland, a nurse and doctoral student at UNC Greensboro who recently returned home after working on a contract at Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens, New York. WUNC reporter Liz Schlemmer talked with Strickland about the transition back to North Carolina and the psychological toll of working in critical care during the pandemic.


Once North Carolina’s gradual reopening shifts into Phase 2 Friday afternoon, more places like restaurants, salons, and pools will be given the green light to open up again.

While some business owners are anxious to reopen as fast as possible, others are more cautious. How customers will balance feeling safe and resuming their pre-pandemic lives remains an open question.

We check back in with Christina Pelech, owner of the Fuss & Bother hair salon in Durham, about her next steps as a small business owner, and how she anticipates life in her shop to look during Phase 2.


Gathering

May 19, 2020

Governor Roy Cooper is considering an ease on more restrictions, as the date approaches for the planned move into Phase 2 of North Carolina's gradual reopening.

But reopening hasn't come quickly enough for some. Last week, a network of churches called "Return America" held a rally outside the state legislative building, demanding the right to hold indoor worship services despite Cooper's executive order limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people or less.

On Saturday, a federal judge sided with the church leaders who filed a lawsuit, temporarily granting churches permission to hold large worship services indoors.

But not every church is jumping at the opportunity to reopen its sanctuary. We talk with Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, about weighing the decision to reopen the church and the intersection of COVID-19 with Christianity.


Since the onset of the pandemic, nursing homes have been hotspots for the virus. As congregate living spaces, COVID-19 can spread quickly among its residents, posing serious risks to people 65 and older.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports around 100 ongoing outbreaks at nursing homes and residential care facilities across the state. Meanwhile, more than half of deaths related to COVID-19 in North Carolina have come out of nursing homes.

But the majority of facilities, thankfully, have yet to endure an outbreak. And many are doing their best to keep it that way, even if it means keeping their residents isolated. We talk with Dan Tunstall, a resident at Carolina Meadows in Chapel Hill, about coping with isolation and maintaining a healthy body and spirit amidst the pandemic.


As people return to North Carolina's stores and parks during Phase 1 of the gradual reopening, there are growing concerns about the health and safety of workers at meat and poultry processing plants across the state.

Last month, President Donald Trump deemed meat processing plants essential infrastructure, and ordered them to stay open for the sake of the country's food supply chain. But working shoulder-to-shoulder on an assembly line poses serious risks for workers, as health experts have repeatedly urged people to keep at least 6 feet apart.

We talk with WUNC's Celeste Gracia and Laura Pellicer about the conditions at two specific plants in North Carolina, and how workers are coping with the decision to go to work despite possible risks to their health.


J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

House Republicans on Wednesday filed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The lawmakers, including Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), say Rosenstein has withheld documents from Congress and has mishandled his job overseeing the special counsel investigation. The move demonstrates a widening division within the GOP on the handling of the probe into President Trump.

Mitch Prinstein / Penguin Random House/2017

Popularity is often a concern for teenagers, but research shows it also influences life outside the high school cafeteria. Children as young as four years old can identify their most popular peer, and one’s popularity growing up can even predict his or her lifespan.

In the book “Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World” (Penguin Random House/2017), Mitch Prinstein teases apart the distinction between two different types of popularity: likability and status. 

NC State House
NCGA

Lawmakers returned to Raleigh this week for a special session to determine the titles for six proposed constitutional amendments. The amendments will be put to voters this November and include controversial items like a voter ID measure and a push to limit the governor’s appointment powers.

Courtesy of Hope Larson

For decades, dedicated readers have scoured their local comic book stores for the latest issue of their favorite superhero story. But look past the capes and one will quickly come across comics and graphic novels that offer complex and critical analyses of politics and society. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” to recent issues of “Black Panther,” graphic novels and comics allow readers to engage with dense topics and relate to diverse characters and experiences. 

Pages