Josie Taris

News Administrative Intern

Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.

A dog and a bonobo.
Vanessa Woods

When thinking about evolution, Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, or “survival of the fittest,” is ingrained as the reason why some organisms thrived and others faltered. But our cultural understanding of “fittest” focuses on brute strength and size. What if there was another way to explain the success of some species? 

DPS building
Ildar Sagdejev / WikiMedia Commons

Local school districts within North Carolina can choose to follow Gov. Roy Cooper’s guidance on Plan B reopening — which includes remote and in-classroom hybrid learning — or they can choose complete remote-learning for the upcoming school year. 

Tahir Siddeeq

If a drug proven to reduce coronavirus transmission by 50% to 85% existed, would you take it? Masks offer that kind of protection for public health, and yet people still go out in public without them. Why is that?

Jamea Richmond-Edwards / Courtesy of E. Patrick Johnson

Writer E. Patrick Johnson was hesitant to collect the stories of queer black Southern women. He is a cisgender gay black man, and the divide between the male and female experience was something he felt he could not portray on the page. But after being encouraged by women who wanted their experiences known and shared, he found a way to spotlight their voices.

A masked woman looks out her window.
Victoria Bouloubasis for Enlace Latino NC/Southerly

North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb, and the state’s Black and Latino populations are being hit the hardest. Black citizens comprise about 22% of the state’s population, but they account for a third of deaths. And nearly half of the people who have tested positive identify as Hispanic, even though the group makes up less than 10% of the state’s population. 

Cooper at a lecturn.
UNC-TV

North Carolina will remain in Phase 2 of reopening until at least July 17. Governor Roy Cooper also announced a mask requirement that goes into effect today at 5 p.m. 

Aunt Jemima syrup bottles
Mike Mozart

As the country reckons with the systemic racism upon which it is built, major companies are making statements of their own. Some address inequities and enumerate actionable steps to combat racism. 

Protestors march for DACA.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The LGBTQ community and DACA recipients are celebrating last week's Supreme Court decisions. In a surprise 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court ruled the Trump Administration could not immediately end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program⁠. 

Soldiers of Indiana National Guard
Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy

As protests surged in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer, governors and mayors in more than 20 states deployed the National Guard to control the crowds.

Gragg stands in front of a pink quilt top with yellow and blue squares. She is wearing a large necklace, drop earrings and a blue shirt. Her coily hair has streaks of blue.
Dare Kumolo-Johnson

Mavis Gragg never thought her work would “take her to the trees,” but that is where she has found herself. 

The North Carolina House of Representatives' meeting room
North Carolina General Assembly

Cities around the country are facing pressure to reform their policing and take a hard look at systemic racism. Minneapolis announced the intent to defund portions of their police department. Other cities have ended relationships between school systems and the police. 

Byrd holding his fists together in front of his face, with his thumbs facing outward in opposite directions.
Courtesy of Hausson Byrd

Writing poetry in this moment of civil unrest is not much different than writing poetry at any other time in American history, according to Hausson Byrd. He says poets have been writing about police brutality, racism and violence since the beginning. 

Historical photograph of men in a truck
Library of Congress

Anti-racist activists are protesting across the country in response to police brutality against people of color, particularly black men. This latest wave began after George Floyd, a black man, died after a white former Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. An independent autopsy concluded Floyd's cause of death as "asphyxiation from sustained pressure." Floyd was in police custody for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Many recognize that white racism and violence against black and brown people lead to this civil unrest, but what causes white violence?

Courtesy of Jessica Yinka Thomas

Jessica Yinka Thomas grew up in both the United States and West Africa. Her father, a Nigerian economics professor, and her mother, an American computer scientist, raised their four kids between Miami, Nigeria, Senegal and eventually Maryland to get them ready for college in the states.

Courtesy of Blair Publishing

Twenty-five years ago, renowned poet Lenard D. Moore invited a group of his peers into his basement for a session of writing critique. That monthly gathering evolved into the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, which has supported over 60 writers across a variety of styles through their careers. 

Christine Rucker-Putnam

Strikes and labor organizing are on the rise as essential workers grapple with safety concerns while on the job. Meatpacking plants, city sanitation and healthcare are some of the industries where workers are striking or organizing.

Sara Deek / Courtesy of Webtoon

When Victoria Lee first wrote “The Fever King” (2019/Skyscape), they did not intend to predict the future. Rather, they hoped to explore our habit of repeating history. Then the coronavirus hit, and the parallels between the fictional Durham, Carolinia in 2074 and the real Durham, North Carolina in 2020 deepened further.

One person films two people kissing. The two people kissing are leaning onto a bed.
Courtesy of Pink and White Productions

How comfortable are you talking about porn and erotica? Does it make you embarrassed? Ashamed? If you knew more about how porn is made, and how to navigate your own exploration of pleasure, would you still blush at the mention of it?
 

Protestors march for MMIW.
Courtesy of Crystal "Red Bear" Cavalier Keck

Gov. Roy Cooper declared Tuesday, May 5 a “Day of Awareness for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.” The advocacy group Shatter the Silence reports that 31 native women have gone missing or been murdered in eastern North Carolina since 1998. The state tracked at least 90 cases of murdered or missing indigenous women in North Carolina since 1994. But advocates say the real numbers are likely much higher. 

A banana with a condom on it.
Pixabay

Can you do condom demonstration over Zoom? What about teaching comprehensive sexual education? In the midst of a pandemic, the answer is unclear. On this segment of Embodied, host Anita Rao talks with Elizabeth Finley about gaps in sex ed brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Courtesy of Justin Catanoso

When in-person classes were cancelled for the semester at Wake Forest University, Professor Justin Catanoso knew he would have to break some of his own rules. 

A woman dressed in black, wearing a mask looks gazes off towards a stream of light
Kate Medley / WUNC

 Death is a taboo topic. Acknowledging it feels like an admission of defeat — that there is no hope left. But in the face of a pandemic, death surrounds us. 

Courtesy of Jon Reep

The news is filled with constant updates about the coronavirus pandemic, from outbreaks in prisons and nursing homes to an ever-increasing number of deaths. Mental health experts have been vocal about the need to take breaks from the news, but what specifically can help us reset? Try humor.

Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

North Carolina’s unemployment filings since March 16 hover just over 470,000, and about 87% of those claims are related to COVID-19. This amounts to years worth of claims that need to be processed in only a matter of weeks. 

Curbside sign reads: Please remain in your vehicle, we will be right with you.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

North Carolina is still in the early phase of its COVID-19 outbreak. The statewide case count jumped over the weekend, from 888 last Friday to about 1,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday morning. 

Jared Weber / Carolina Connection

How is the coronavirus pandemic changing your life? North Carolinians share their stories of how this outbreak is affecting all facets of their calendar day, from canceled weddings to closed businesses to concerns about elderly relatives and neighbors. 

John Riddick

Are you a Becky, or a Rebecca? Do you ignore injustice if it does not affect you, or do you stand up for what is right?

Courtesy of Ronnie Pepper

Ronnie Pepper loves to hear stories as much as he loves to tell them. He grew up in the small Appalachian town of Hendersonville during the era of the civil rights movement in a house with no plumbing and only four rooms.

Courtesy of the Greensboro Historical Museum, Greensboro, N.C.

The women’s ACC Basketball Tournament is underway in Greensboro, and three North Carolina teams are left: Wake Forest, NC State and Duke. Years of dedication from young female athletes culminate in tournaments like this, but despite the athleticism and dedication of the players, fans do not come out in droves like they do for men’s games. So, what does that mean for the athletes, their financial potential and the game at large? 

The Doug Prescott Band started in 1996 as a musical project between friends. Now, its an evolving group of up to eight people who create Americana folk tunes. Frontman Doug Prescott got started in music when he picked up a trumpet in the fourth grade. Songwriting came naturally to him, and it has been a lifelong passion. 

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