Anita Rao

Managing Editor, "The State of Things"

Anita Rao is the Managing Editor for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. 

She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. In her spare time she also co-hosts and produces a podcast and radio show about millennial feminism called "She and Her." 

Ways to Connect

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.

Nikola Solic / AP Photo

The 21st FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia heads toward the final game on Sunday when France and Croatia will battle for the top spot. The tournament attracts millions of viewers from around the globe, with the last World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in 2014 drawing a record 1.01 billion viewers worldwide, according to FIFA.

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.

Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

In February, Congress enacted legislation geared at keeping children out of foster care and in a stable home with their family. The Family First Prevention Services Act frees up $8 billion in federal funds once allocated for foster care and adoption and allows states to use it for prevention.

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.

courtesy of Jennifer Dasal

It can be as difficult to explain why an artist is driven to paint or sculpt as it is to define what makes great art. But for some of the highest-achieving artists the motivation to create is clear: competition.

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.

Courtesy of Dan Ariely

Summer is filled with temptation. We know that fresh fruit is a healthier choice than ice cream. A ripe watermelon can be just as sweet, but often times we pass it by for a double scoop in a waffle cone. The barrage of pool parties and cookouts combined with summer vacation may leave many struggling to make and keep health commitments.

Eat Your Feelings: How Hunger Becomes ‘Hanger’

Jul 6, 2018
Petras Gagilas/Flickr Creative Commons

Plenty of people blame feeling angry on being hungry and this year the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “hangry” as a colloquial blend of the two. The term reflects a common experience, but one that had not been well understood.

Jean Leon Gerome / Public Domain

Blackbeard’s stolen vessel, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, ran aground off the North Carolina coastline three hundred years ago this summer.

a picture of someone signing a picture of the band
courtesy of Gracie Curran

Gracie Curran grew up in the church. Her mom was the church choir director and most of the music in their house was gospel. While her friends enjoyed pop sensations like Britney Spears, Curran says she never really connected to popular music until she heard Etta James. James’s voice and lyrics spoke to her.

Josh Reynolds / AP Photo

President Donald Trump and the NFL continue to wage war over athletes’ right to protest during the national anthem. Earlier this month, Trump suggested that instead of protesting, NFL players should give him names of people who they think are “unfairly treated by the justice system.” In an editorial for the New York Times, four current and former NFL players argued that it is not about individual pardons, it is about systemic injustice.

Courtesy of Sara Wood / Southern Mix

The Asian-American population in North Carolina has exploded in the past few decades. A 2016 study shows that from 2000-2010, the Asian-American population in the state grew by 85 percent, which was the third-fastest growth rate in the country. But who exactly makes up this growing population? What are their stories and traditions, and how are they changing the face of North Carolina?

MAD Magazine Cover from October, 1972
MAD Magazine / Flickr/Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/46ZanQ

Former MAD Magazine editor Nick Meglin died at his home in Durham Saturday, June 2 at the age of 82. Meglin worked at MAD as an editor for nearly 50 years before retiring in 2004. Host Frank Stasio pays tribute to Meglin, who was one of his creative inspirations and a dear friend.

The Wild Bison truck stop, pictured here at night, is where Rao began her reporting for her novel.
Courtesy of Maya Rao / WUNC

Before 2008, western North Dakota was a faded frontier. The vast and sparsely-populated area had been steadily losing population since the Great Depression. But the discovery of the Bakken oil fields, in combination with new fracking technology, paved the way for what Maya Rao calls a modern-day gold rush.

A group of protesters outside of the Greensboro coliseum before R Kelly is scheduled to perform.
Skip Foreman / AP Photo

A Texas woman filed a lawsuit Monday accusing R.Kelly of sexual battery and knowingly infecting her with herpes. This is the latest in a decades-long string of allegations against the R&B artist that detail an array of misconduct, including his repeatedly holding women against their will in a “sex cult.” Hollywood leaders recently renewed the #MuteRKelly movement to demand that companies who profit from his music cut ties.

headshot of chancellor cummings
Courtesy of UNCP

Retired surgeon and former state Medicaid Director Robin Gary Cummings took office as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2015. Cummings is a Pembroke native and member of the Lumbee Tribe. His tenure has been marked by efforts to expand economic and educational opportunities for residents of Robeson County, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

photo of two adults with autism working with two therapists
Courtesy of Autism Society of NC

One in 57 8-year-old children in North Carolina is diagnosed with autism, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But new reporting from North Carolina Health News and EdNC shows many families around the state are struggling to access specialized treatments that could transform how their children with autism behave.

photo of tomlin overlooking newsroom floor with many cublicles
Courtesy of Robyn Tomlin

Robyn Tomlin oversees eight newspapers across two states. In January, she was appointed the first regional McClatchy editor for the Carolinas. But her relationship with newspapers started far from a bustling newsroom. As a 19-year-old mom running a daycare inside her apartment, Tomlin became an avid reader of The News & Observer. The paper was her lifeline to a world outside of dirty diapers and wailing children.

posed photo of rashon nelson and donte robinson sitting on a sofa, the wall behind them hold many diplomas etc.
Jacqueline Larma / AP Photo

The arrest of two 23-year-old black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks earlier this month has sparked a national conversation about implicit bias. Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were waiting for a business meeting when the employees asked them to leave. Soon after, police entered the store, handcuffed them and took them to jail.

photo of tammy hooper in the blue ridge public radio station
Amanda Magnus

In late February, leaked bodycam footage of a white Asheville police officer beating a black pedestrian went viral, and the city is still reeling. The footage captured an incident that took place Aug. 24, 2017 when former Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman confronted city resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush over alleged jaywalking and trespassing. Footage shows Hickman beat, choked, punched and stunned Rush.

photo of tom perez speaking at a microphone, an american flag in the background
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez took the helm of the Democratic National Committee in early 2017 when its reputation was in tatters. The Clinton-Sanders primary created a rift in the party, which was further devastated by the Russian email hacking scandal and big losses in the 2016 election.

photo of Kim Pevia
Courtesy of Women AdvaNCe

A record number of women are running for public office this year for positions ranging from state legislators to governors and members of Congress. Whether or not they will be elected still remains uncertain, but their attempts could counteract staggering statistics: for every one woman who holds office as a governor, member of congress or state legislator in the United States today, there are three men, according to analysis from The Washington Post.

photo of ava duvernay signing posters for fans
Alex J. Berliner / ABImages

With the new Disney release “A Wrinkle In Time,” Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to direct a film with a budget over $100 million. She notes the accomplishment but calls it bittersweet, because it has taken Hollywood until 2018 to support women of color in these roles. 

photo of stage production - a man speaks at a podium and a group of people look up at an angel figure
Sarah Shatz / 'The World Only Spins Forward'

Playwright Tony Kushner subtitled his seminal work a “gay fantasia on national themes.” “Angels in America” is a two-part, seven-hour play that examines the politics and culture of 1980s America through the stories of eight characters living at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. From its debut in a small San Francisco theater in 1991 to its return to Broadway this year, the play has not only earned a Pulitzer Prize and several Tony awards, but it has also struck a chord with actors, activists and writers around the world.

photo of a man steering a motorboat down a river
Bear Guerra / Fonografia Collective

Ruxandra Guidi is no stranger to deadlines. She has been working as a storyteller and journalist for close to two decades for outlets including NPR, the BBC, National Geographic and The New York Times. But lately she has become increasingly interested in slowing down the reporting process and seeing what happens when she gives herself one month or one year to tell a story, instead of one day or one week.

photo of Danai Gurira on top of a car holding a weapon
Marvel Studios-Disney via AP

There are not many superlatives left to describe the success of “Black Panther.” The latest Marvel movie has received glowing reviews, broken countless records, and is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. It is also well on its way to surpassing $1 billion at the global box office. And although it has reached screens in far corners of the world, questions remain about what its long-term impact will be. Can one successful film finally disprove the longstanding myth that black films don’t travel?

photo of Rachelle Faroul in the doorway of her new home
Sarah Blesener for Reveal

Starting in the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration practiced a policy called redlining, which permitted banks to deny loans to particular neighborhoods based on their racial or ethnic composition. That practice has been illegal since 1968, but African-Americans and Latinos continue to be denied mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts, according to new reporting from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

The black community owned 0.5 percent of America’s wealth at the end of slavery, and today that number has barely increased. A typical white household is 10 times wealthier than a typical black household, and the racial wealth gap is growing.

Phelan M. Ebenhack / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Donald Trump just celebrated his first year in office, and the burning question in some circles is: should Oprah Winfrey take his place? The buzz around #Winfrey2020 started after she gave a rousing speech at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.

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