Frank Stasio

Host, "The State of Things"

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.

From there he went to National Public Radio, where he rose from associate producer to newscaster for All Things Considered. He left that job in 1990 to help start an alternative school in Washington, DC. Frank returned to NPR as a freelance news anchor, guest host of Talk of The Nation and other national programs, and host of special news coverage.

He also presents audio theater workshops for children and teachers and conducts radio journalism workshops for broadcasters in former Soviet-bloc countries. He lives in Durham.

Nina Berman

Nina Berman has been capturing stories as a professional photographer since the late 1980s. She is best known for her photos capturing military culture and veteran issues in the wake of Sept. 11. She documented the militarization of American life with the collection “Homeland” and told the stories of wounded veterans in “Purple Hearts- Back from Iraq.”

photo of North Carolina State Capitol Building
Nathanial Johnson / Flickr

Two weeks after the repeal of House Bill 2, several new proposals are working their way through the General Assembly. A group of House Republicans filed a bill that aims to ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina. The bill claims the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage is “null and void in the state of North Carolina.”

Catherine Coleman Flowers

Lowndes County, Alabama covers more than 700 square miles in the south-central portion of the state. It is part of the Black Belt, a region with dense soil that was once the site of thriving cotton plantations. The area declined rapidly during industrialization, and the chalky, clay soil that was once the key to thriving cotton fields, became a disaster for sewage systems. To this day, large swaths of Lowndes County residents have either inadequate or no septic system, which leads to a wide range of environmental and public health issues.

Nasher Musuem of Art

 Nina Chanel Abney was drawn to art at an early age. As a kid growing up in Chicago, she stayed busy by doodling and making collages with comics in the newspaper. As she got older, her work began to take on more political themes, including racism, police brutality and the impact of social media. The exhibition “Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush” features about 30 of Abney’s paintings, watercolors and collages.

Jordan Green / Triad City Beat

UPDATE: According to reports from News & Record reporter Danielle Battaglia, a superior court judge has ordered the release of the police body camera footage of Jose Charles to the Greensboro City Council for viewing in a closed session.

Another violent arrest by police in Greensboro is testing North Carolina's 2016 law on the release of police body camera footage. The mother of fifteen-year-old Jose Charles says police choked her son without provocation at a Fourth of July party, and she wants the public to see the police tape of the incident. Police charged Jose Charles with attacking an officer, among other crimes. 

Lucinda Devlin

For more than 40 years, photographer Lucinda Devlin has captured unique scenes across the country. Her images are social commentaries on things like the death penalty and agribusiness. The exhibit "Lucinda Devlin: Sightlines" spans Devlin's career and features 83 of her photographs.

www.abigaildowd.com

After working in city politics, and running an art school, Abigail Dowd needed a change. She packed up her great-grandfather’s guitar and took off to Florence, Italy, to Ireland, and later to Maine, to spend some time reconnecting with herself and her music. The trip turned into an eight-year journey.

Image of scholar William (Sandy) Darity
Duke University Sanford School School of Public Policy

Why are some people rich and others poor? Answering this elusive question has been the lifelong work of economist William (Sandy) Darity. Darity was an observant child, and from an early age he picked up on how wealth disparities divide communities. 

Max Cooper Photography

Thirty years ago Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Herzenberg made history when he became the first openly gay elected official in the South. Today there are 13 openly-LGBTQ individuals serving in elected office in North Carolina. The social and political climate in the state has evolved dramatically in three decades, but many argue that the heated debate around House Bill 2 shows that LGBTQ issues are still politically divisive.

The Mountain Faith Band

For more than 15 years, the Mountain Faith Band has performed Americana and bluegrass across the country. The group mostly consists of the McMahan family from Sylva, North Carolina. Members of the family grew up playing bluegrass while they worked together in their dad’s tire shop. Today the group is well known for their 2015 appearance on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The founder of the private security firm Blackwater was allegedly involved in a secret meeting with a confidante to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

jessamynstanley.com

 Jessamyn Stanley did not like yoga when she first started. Stanley’s first yoga class ended with her lying in a heap, overcome with nausea. But the body positivity advocate found her way back the mat years later and started sharing her journey with yoga on social media. Her honest posts on Instagram and Tumblr made Stanley a social media star.

Harper Collins Publishers

In her debut novel “No One Is Coming To Save Us” (Ecco/2017) Stephanie Powell Watts tells the story of an African-American family living in small-town North Carolina. The book features a young man named J.J. Ferguson who returned to his hometown to impress his high school sweetheart. Watts channels the literary classic “The Great Gatsby” as well as her experiences growing up Lenoir, N.C.

Tabacus: The Magazine of the British Tabulating Company, August 1958.

In the 1940s, Great Britain led the world in electronic computing. They were responsible for developing the world’s first digital electronic programmable computer; it helped crack enemy codes to aid the Allies in winning World War II. Three decades later, Great Britain’s computing industry was nearly extinct.  

slim, white-haired Abby Abinanti stands looking serious on a misty hill
Courtesy of Anne Makepeace

In Native American communities, poverty, drugs and the school-to-prison pipeline mean few second chances for those who commit crimes.

Two tribal judges in California are taking a different approach: Abby Abinanti and Claudette White are using restorative justice techniques to rehabilitate offenders and keep families together.
 

An image of doctoral student A.D. Carson
Ken Scar

Hip-hop music has long been revered for showcasing nuanced messages about marginalized communities. Nas’ 1994 debut studio album “Illmatic” is praised as a seminal, lyrical portrayal of life in New York City. Meanwhile, Beyonce’s 2016 album “Lemonade” was heralded for its powerful messages about black feminism. Works like these achieved large commercial success, but what happens when hip-hop extends beyond the airwaves and into the academy? 

Laura Pellicer

For close to two decades, Richard Joyner fought to get away from the farms of Pitt County, North Carolina. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and repeatedly witnessed racial and economic injustices. His family was never properly compensated for their labor, and his father was treated poorly by white land owners.

Later in his life, Joyner became the pastor for the small 300-person community of Conetoe, North Carolina. Within one year, 30 of his congregants died from health-related illnesses. He decided to return to farming to grow healthy food for his community.

North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh.
Jim Bowen / Flickr

The replacement bill for House Bill 2 has been signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper called House Bill 142 a compromise between state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. 

Usman Dadi

The Pakistani ensemble Sounds of Kolachi blends South Asian melodies with western classical compositions, jazz arrangements and more. Host Frank Stasio talks with Ahsan Bari, co-founder of the group, about the band’s origins and influences.

St. Martin's Press

In 1995, Lisa Dickey set out on what she thought would be a once in a lifetime trip. Along with photographer Gary Matoso, the writer headed to a lighthouse at the border of Russia and North Korea, and then voyaged inland for more than 5,000 miles. Along the way, they met a broad spectrum of Russians and spent time getting to know a few standout characters, including a farmer, members of an isolated Jewish community, and a rap star.

Doris Jenkins stands in front of rows of roller skates at her rink.
Courtesy of Nicole Triche

Doris Jenkins has led customers in roller skating fun and games for over 50 years from her rink on Topsail Island, NC.

She is the locally famous subject of  a new documentary premiering at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 7 as part of this year's Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Host Frank Stasio talks with filmmaker and director Nicole Triche about the film, and its septuagenarian subject.

Mona Chalabi

During his campaign, President Donald Trump repeatedly voiced distrust of the national unemployment numbers, calling them “totally fiction" and a “hoax.” He's not alone in his skepticism. A new survey by British polling company YouGov shows many Americans are distrustful of statistics released by the U.S. government and the degree of trust varies along party lines.

MITTO SettembreMusica / Wiki Creative Commons

Musical performances aim to engage audiences and evoke emotions. But how does the message of art change when it is commemorating specific historical incidences of trauma and suffering? The conference “Performing Commemoration: Musical Reenactment and the Politics of Trauma” will examine how art channels memory, re-enactment and commemoration, and how audiences should interpret specific works.

a plate full of biscuits
Christina B. Castro/ Flickr Creative Commons

Many have argued that as regional distinctiveness faded away, Southern identity evaporated along with it.

Political science professors Christopher Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts studied it, and found that white and black southerners still have a strong and salient sense of what it means to be Southern.
 

LOGAN ULRICH / WUNC

Prominent leaders from the North Carolina General Assembly have taken the reigns and are working to rewrite the controversial House Bill 2. 

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