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. 

headshot of Josh Stein, NC flag in the background
Courtesy of NCDOJ

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has signed onto several federal lawsuits since taking office in January 2017. He joined 14 other Democratic attorneys general in a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. Earlier this month Stein signed on to a multi-state lawsuit to block a question about citizenship on the upcoming 2020 Census. A week later, he and 15 other Democratic attorneys general filed a motion to intervene in a Texas lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.

book cover for 'the peacemakers: leadership lessons from twentieth-century statesmanship'
Courtesy of Sanford School of Public Policy

There were breakthroughs on several seemingly impossible conflicts in the 20th century: the Cold War came to a close; apartheid ended in South Africa; relations warmed between the United States and China; and the violence between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland quieted. Can 21st century leaders learn from those behind these peacemaking efforts from the previous 100 years? Bruce Jentleson tackled this question in his new book, “The Peacemakers: Leadership Lessons From Twentieth-Century Statesmanship” (W. W. Norton and Company/2018). The book profiles 13 leaders, including negotiators, activists, and trailblazers.

photo of Nikki Haley speaking at the United Nations
Julie Jacobson / AP Photo

This week marked another rift in the Trump administration, this time over imposing new sanctions on Russia. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the president would announce those new sanctions during her appearance on Sunday talk shows. On Tuesday, a top White House official negated that comment and blamed Haley’s statement about sanctions on “momentary confusion.” Haley shot back, saying “I don’t get confused.”

the five members of kooley high posing in a parking lot
Brett Villena

North Carolina hip-hop group Kooley High is out with their new album “Never Come Down.” The acclaimed Kendrick Lamar-collaborator Patrick Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder, is executive producer for the album and one of the tracks includes Grammy-nominated artist Rapsody who was also a founding member of the group. Rapsody has since branched off for her own solo career, but she is still close with the group that helped her get her start.

Deana Martorella Orellana's mother, Laurel Martorella (left), and Orellana's sister, Robin Jewell, hold her Marine Corps photo. Orellana killed herself a year after leaving the Marines. She had agreed to undergo counseling the day she died.
Jay Price / American Homefront

Female veterans are nearly 2 1/2 times more likely to commit suicide than civilian women, according to data from the Veterans Administration Suicide Prevention Program. The same data show male veterans are 18 percent more likely to kill themselves than civilian men. Why are female veterans struggling? The advocacy group Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) released six recommendations on the mental health needs of women service members and veterans based on a poll of veterans in the civilian world and women on active duty.

photo of a garden area, with several spires made of earthy material, rising about 10-15 feet into the air
Courtesy of Clearscapes

The new “Oberlin Rising” monument in Raleigh commemorates one of the first African-American communities in the city. After the Civil War, Southern land was divided into parcels and sold to former slaves, and Raleigh’s Oberlin Village was made up of several of these parcels. It was established in 1866 as one of the first freedmen communities in the city. Oberlin’s history is largely overlooked, and development has nearly erased the community from the landscape.

photo of a man speaking at a rally
Sam DeGrave / Asheville Citizen Times

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, conducted raids across North Carolina over the past week. ICE agents took several dozen people into custody in the Triangle area and arrested about a dozen people in Western North Carolina, according to a ICE spokesman Bryan Cox. The mayors of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham all released statements condemning the raids in their communities. An immigrant advocate group in Asheville held a rally on Saturday that drew hundreds of people downtown.

photo of joy harjo
Karen Kuehn

Critics call Joy Harjo “the first lady of American Indian poetry.” But Harjo is more than a poet. She is also an author, musician and playwright. She is a native of Oklahoma and a member of the Mvskoke (Muscogee) Nation.

photo of the airbnb website, with pictures of rooms for rent
www.airbnb.com/a/Asheville

The Asheville City Council voted to severely restrict tourist rentals in Asheville earlier this year. The new rules state that rentals that had city permits before the vote can stay in business.

photo of David Crane speaking at a podium
Ken Harper

In the 1990s, officials founded five criminal tribunals to seek international justice: four temporary bodies in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia, and the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. The first four were put in place to handle specific civil war crimes. Since then, the issue of international criminal justice has faded.

photo of Erin Byrd
Courtesy of Erin Byrd

Activist Erin Byrd grew up moving from one military base to the next – from Virginia to Texas to South Korea to Texas to Germany and back to the U.S. again. Throughout her childhood, Byrd witnessed military families get free dental care, free health care and reduced-price groceries. The government supplied these basic services to the military population, and she wondered why the whole country did not have the same benefits.

photo of an orchestra rehearsal
Courtesy of Peter Askim

April 4, 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King was shot on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. The Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra of North Carolina State University will honor this anniversary in their upcoming program, “The Dream Is Alive: Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.” All of the music included in the event was written by African-American composers.

photo of a young person in a mouth-covering mask in front of a closed theater. the sign says 'all theatres closed until further notice at request of mayor.'
Courtesy of UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

2018 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of a flu pandemic that killed 50 to 100 million people and infected hundreds of millions around the world. Host Frank Stasio talks to James Leloudis, a history professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about why the 1918 influenza was so deadly, and what impact it had on public health.

Photo of Edna Lewis smiling
John T. Hill

Edna Lewis changed the perception of Southern food in American culture with her cookbook, “The Taste of Country Cooking” (Knopf/1976). She touted the use of fresh, local ingredients before the farm-to-table movement began. But many people know very little about the chef and cookbook author, despite her many contributions to food culture.

photo of Emily Musolino and her guitar
Courtesy of Emily Musolino

Emily Musolino is more than a singer-songwriter. She is the owner and operator of Blue Moose Studios in Durham. She is invested in creating a collective for female artists, and she has had her own share of struggles, including growing up LGBT in North Carolina and bouts of alcoholism. She brings all of this into her music.

photo of the entrance to the 12 x 12 exhibit, detailing the artists and their work
Courtesy of SECCA

Music is the first thing visitors experience at the 12X12 exhibition at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem. They hear one note played over and over again. This singular sound sets the tone for “12X12: 12 Artists from the 12th State,” an exhibition that brings together a group of artists from various backgrounds and artistic practices with one thing in common: North Carolina.

photo of three men playing horns for a huge crowd
Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum

During the Cold War, the U.S. Department of State sent jazz musicians around the world to sell the American way of life. This initiative took place in the 1950s, during segregation and the beginning of the civil rights movement. Jazz was gaining popularity on the international stage partly because of a Voice of America program hosted by Willis Conover, and partly because jazz musicians, like Louis Armstrong, played international tours.

photo of elayna jean playing guitar and signing at a microphone
John Guerin

Many of the songs Cosmic Punk performs are rooted in angsty, teenage feelings. Elayna Jean, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, says that is because she wrote a lot of those songs while she was still in high school.

photo of a group of people posing for a picture
Courtesy of SNCC Digital Gateway.

Duke University has teamed up with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Legacy Project to connect today’s young organizers with activists of the civil rights era. The project is called “SNCC Digital Gateway,” and its aim is to pass on informational wealth from the organizers of SNCC to the young people of today, to help inform their activism. Instead of solely taking information from the SNCC activists, researchers treated the activists as partners and fellow scholars in their collaboration on this project.

photo of a man holding a card that says 'asheville is climate city'
Courtesy of The Collider

This month Asheville hosted the first ClimateCon, a conference to explore innovations and business solutions to combat the effects of climate change. The nine-day conference included a business of climate forum, a summit for emerging climate leaders, and community-wide events.

photo of Barbara and Zachariah Claypole White
Courtesy of Barbara Claypole White

Barbara Claypole White always wanted to be a writer. But she put her passion aside when her young son was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

photo of Tutu Alicante
Courtesy of Tutu Alicante

Tutu Alicante grew up in Equatorial Guinea, a small nation on the western coast of Central Africa. The country is one of the largest oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa, yet many of its citizens live in extreme poverty. The oil profits stay within the government, and long-serving President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo uses intimidation tactics like imprisonment or even execution to silence his critics.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

The special election in Pennsylvania this week turned a reliably red district blue. Democratic candidate Conor Lamb beat Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. Is this a wake-up call for the Republican party?

copy of the official program of the women's suffrage procession, March 1913
Library of Congress/Public Domain

When people gathered for the women’s marches of 2017 and 2018, they were joining a tradition that dates back more than a century. In 1913, thousands of women marched on Washington wearing purple and gold sashes instead of pink hats, and Rebecca Roberts says they were a lot more radical than today’s activists.

photo of Alexa Rose
Courtesy of Alexa Rose

Alexa Rose was singing before she could talk, but she did not sing or even listen to country music until she was a teenager. She starred in a country-inspired musical theater production, which opened her up to the sounds of the Carter family, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash.

A picture of people in voting booths
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr Creative Commons

Last November, some voters in the small Eastern North Carolina town of Sharpsburg showed up to the polls but were unable to cast ballots. Due to a technical error, the Wilson County Board of Elections only printed 12 ballots for their precinct, even though that precinct has over 200 eligible voters. The mayoral race was decided by three votes, and the man who lost has since successfully challenged the results in court.

A collection of headlines and photos from the media covering white supremacists
Courtesy of WNYC

The latest episode of WNYC’s “On The Media” takes a critical look at how the press covers white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups. The episode stemmed from questions reporter Lois Beckett asked herself as she was covering white nationalist rallies for The Guardian.

photo of a gun and ammunition
Wikimedia Commons

Since the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Florida high school, President Donald Trump says teachers should be armed. Last week North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson polled teachers around the state about the matter.

photo of Dobbs playing the double bass for a group of children
Courtesy of Bach With Verse

Richard Hartshorne, known internationally as “Dobbs,” left the classical music world in 2004 to play Bach for audiences who do not usually have access to it. The double bassist founded “Bach With Verse,” a non-profit that brings music to audiences that otherwise would not get it. Dobbs has played in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and in prisons around the United States.

photo of Donald Trump, speaking and gesturing
Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Two of the nation’s largest gun sellers announced they will take steps to curb firearm sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods says it will stop selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, and they’ll also require those buying guns to be over 21, whether it’s required by local laws or not. Walmart will no longer sell guns to people under the age of 21, and they’ll stop selling items that resemble assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns. 

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