Laura Lee

Managing Editor

Laura Lee is the managing editor of The State of Things. Born and raised in Monroe, North Carolina, Laura returned to the Old North state in 2013 after several years in Washington, DC. She received her B.A. in political science and international studies from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2002 and her J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 2007.

Laura briefly strayed from her Tarheel allegiance in 2011 to obtain a masters degree in journalism from the University of Maryland where she was an Eleanor Merrill Fellow.  Prior to WUNC, Laura worked for NPR on the Washington desk, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation. She was previously WUNC's assistant news director for talk programming. 

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Last night, presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded barbs about many subjects including America's economic strength. Economic stability is a key issue in the election and also in the lives of many Americans. 

As part of the NPR Nation Engaged project, host Frank Stasio asks, “What can we do to create economic opportunity for more Americans?” One possible solution is worker-owned businesses.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt at a BOT meeting in September 2016
Emily Kristina Gabbard / WUNC

The academic and athletic scandal at the University of North Carolina dominated headlines for years.

Allegations of paper classes and inappropriate assistance to student-athletes prompted internal and external investigations. And newly released correspondence shows what was going on behind-the-scenes in the midst of revelations about academic fraud. 

Charlotte shooting protesters
Chuck Burton / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Charlotte's police chief says video footage of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott does not show 'definitive evidence' that Scott pointed a gun at officers before he was fatally shot.

Taheshia Williams, center, tells her eyewitness account of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, in Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Scott's death on Sept. 20 led to protests and rioting.
Nell Redmond / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Charlotte police say 16 officers were injured last night in clashes with those protesting the fatal police shooting of a black man.

The history books documented track star Jesse Owens' experiences at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, hosted in Nazi-controlled Berlin.

But Owens was not the only African-American athlete to represent the United States of America. A new film, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, documents the experiences of 18 African-American athletes representing a country that would not give them equal rights.

Hunter Lewis
Courtesy of Hunter Lewis

Hunter Lewis grew up in a big family in North Carolina where gathering for meals was the centerpiece of the day.

He deepened his passion for food when he moved to New York to work in some of the top restaurants in the city. Eventually he merged his love of food with his journalism skills. He became food editor at Bon Appetit, then editor of Southern Living and now, editor of Cooking Light.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

  Hillary Clinton is back on the campaign trail after a health issue sidelined her for a few days.

And health becomes a key issue in the campaign. Donald Trump releases some of his medical details of the Dr. Oz show. 

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in political news.

Nina Totenberg, NPR legal affairs correspondent
Wikimedia

  NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for more than four decades.

In that time, she has seen a shift not only in the way the court conducts business, but also in the way individuals consume news about the court. 

Ask The Ethicist

Sep 14, 2016
Ethics
Wikimedia / Wikimedia

What should you do if you know a friend is cheating on their spouse? Should you tell a friend who applied to your firm the real, but confidential, reason she did not get hired? 

Finding solutions to the ethical dilemmas of everyday life are the work of New York Times ethicist, Kwame Anthony Appiah. Appiah is a professor of philosophy and law at NYU. 

Voting sign
JustGrimes on Flickr

The North Carolina State Board of Elections makes final decisions on early voting schedules where the local boards couldn't come to an agreement. Leaders on both sides of the aisle weighed in. Will the election rules finally be set or will more legal action follow? Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

Welcome to Florida sign
Joelk75 and DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Author and comedian Dave Barry is not a Florida native, but he has embraced the state as his homeland. In his new book, “Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2016), he explores the wacky landmarks and zany stories of the Sunshine State.

 Director Michael Lewis talks with cast on Men of Israel film shoot.
Wikipedia

Traditionally, the media has blurred the line between public and private lives, and the digital age has almost eliminated that distinction entirely. Nowhere is the private becoming public more evident than in pornography. Professor Richard Cante examines the social and political implications of pornography. He is a professor of media and technology studies in the Communication department at UNC-Chapel Hill. Host Frank Stasio talks with Cante about the intersection of media and pornography.

Vivian Howard, Cynthia Hill, A Chef's Life
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Chef Vivian Howard stars in the fourth season of her PBS show, "A Chef’s Life," which debuts later this month. The premiere precedes the release of a Howard’s first cookbook, "Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes From My Corner of the South."

Photo of Don Gonyea
Doby Photography / NPR

Election Day is just more than two months away.

And the two contenders for the White House are on the trail, making their pleas to voters and attacking each other. No two candidates in history have had less favorable ratings than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea is taking a look at how voters, especially women in North Carolina, are approaching this race. Host Frank Stasio talks with Gonyea about his reporting, the candidates and life on the trail. ​

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Durham teen Wildin Acosta spoke publicly yesterday about his time in an immigration detention facility.

The Honduran native said he is happy to be back with his family and intends to advocate for others to be released.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC's Will Michaels about the latest.

Tom Ross
University of North Carolina

A bipartisan group of former judiciary members offered their proposal for congressional maps yesterday.

The partnership between Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy and the nonprofit organization Common Cause presented a new map of the state's districts to demonstrate that lines could be drawn without regard to voting history or party registration.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow Tom Ross who led the panel.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

A federal court declared North Carolina's drawing of election lines unconstitutional.

The three-judge panel said the districts must be redrawn because they are racially gerrymandered. The court will allow the election in November to proceed under the old maps.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the decision, its consequences and other political news.

The state epidemiologist in the division of public health resigned yesterday in protest over the McCrory administration’s handling of a controversy stemming from Duke Energy's handling of well water surrounding coal ash sites.

Megan Davies
NC DHHS

State Epidemiologist Megan Davies has resigned her position, effectively immediately. It is the latest twist in an ongoing dispute over coal ash contamination of home water wells and an inter-departmental fight within Governor Pat McCrory's administration. 

Image of US Capitol
ttarasiuk / Flickr Creative Commons

When Sen. Richard Burr declared his re-election bid last year, his odds looked good; he had had a large war chest and no clear opponent. But now, Democratic challenger Deborah Ross has emerged as a strong contender and polls show the two in a hot race.

Analysts are watching the race closely as it will play a significant role in determining which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest on the race.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, a 20-year old African American man was shot to death in North Raleigh. Tapes of the 911 calls  feature the accused shooter, Chad Cameron Copley, declaring himself a member of neighborhood watch who fired what he called warning shots that hit Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas. Copley said there were "hoodlums" on his street and told the 911 operator that he was going out to "secure" the neighborhood. Copley has been charged with first-degree murder. Host Frank Stasio talks with News and Observer reporter Ron Gallagher about the latest.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

A federal court ruling created uncertainty in North Carolina's election process when it overturned the state's controversial voting regulations. The law would have required photo identification, reduced early voting days and eliminated same day registration.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that measure violates the U.S. constitution, because it discriminates against African-American and Latino voters. Local Board of Elections are now making changes that advocates say do not comply with the ruling.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill, House Bill 2, was challenged in court Monday. U.S. district judge Thomas Schroeder heard arguments on a temporary injunction motion. He did not make a ruling on the measure.

And on Friday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s controversial voter identification law on grounds of racial discrimination.

Big Book of Science Fiction
Penguin

Science Fiction and fantasy have traditionally created worlds of aliens, robots and monsters of various sorts.

And there was a time when readers might have been stereotyped as nerds and geeks. But now sci-fi is exploding in the mainstream through digital media. And authors who were once niche writers are now mainstream.

Three leading writers in the genre read this Saturday at Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville as part of the Shared Worlds event. The event features authors who are participating in a youth program by the same name at Wofford College in South Carolina. 

Jedediah Purdy
Travis Drove

  This show originally aired on October 6, 2015.

In an era where humans and the environment are inextricably tied, how do we approach environmental politics, economics and ethics?

In what ways do the historical perspectives on the relationship between humanity and nature shape how policymakers approach current environmental issues like climate change and global warming?

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