Shawn Wen

Associate Producer, "The State of Things"

Shawn Wen joined the staff of The State of Things in March 2012 and served as associate producer until February 2014.

She is a writer and multimedia artist. Her radio work has aired on This American Life, Studio 360, Marketplace, Freakonomics, and Rhode Island Public Radio.

Her video work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Carpenter Center for Visual Art at Harvard University, and the Camden International Film Festival.

Shawn is the recipient of the Royce Fellowship and the Third Coast Scholarship. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in Literary Arts.

James Boyle comes on The State of Things to discuss the shrinking public domain.
Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain

In the public domain, work can be freely shared online, translated into other languages, or republished and cheaply distributed.  

Heather McEntire's guitar.
Carol Jackson / WUNC

You may know Heather McEntire as the vocalist and guitar player of Mount Moriah.  The beloved band has released two albums and toured nationally, but they call the Triangle their home.

Heads on Sticks performs on The State of Things.
Logan Sayles

David Mueller is well known for playing bass in Birds of Avalon, a band which has been signed on a big label and toured internationally.  

Journalist Audra Ang spent seven years reporting from China.
Greg Baker

Audra Ang worked as a foreign correspondent for the AP in Beijing, China for seven years. 

Homeward Bound: The New Domesticity by Emily Matchar
Emily Matchar /

What’s going on with the youth these days?  Some are getting into knitting sweaters. Others are tending to backyard chicken coops. They are cheesemaking, canning, beekeeping and growing their own vegetables. These labor-intensive homemaking projects may be more than a trend towards rustic pleasures.

Jazz great Branford Marsalis joins the State of Things to speak about his work.
Palma Kolansky

Grammy-award winning artist Branford Marsalis is one of the world’s leading jazz artists. 

Black Nativity is a Hollywood adaptation of Langston Hughes' gospel libretto.
Fox Searchlight


Originally a play by poet Langston Hughes, Black Nativity makes its big screen debut. 

Contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base has been linked to adverse health effects.
Sanjay Parekh, via Flickr


A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that babies born to mothers who drank contaminated tap water at Camp Lejeune while pregnant had elevated risks of childhood cancers and serious birth defects.  

Joe Hudson's new book is a collection of essays he wrote for his weekly column in the Statesville Record & Landmark.
Joe Hudson


 Joe Hudson's weekly column in the Statesville Record & Landmark entertains readers with its stories about family, friendship, and Southern culture.  

Tobacco barn and silos.
Brian Stansberry, via Wikipedia

Lawmakers are in negotiation for a five-year farm bill.  

Medicine's Michelangelo explores the life and work of medical illustrator Frank Netter.
Quinnipiac Press

One of the most influential physicians of the 20th century was not a practicing doctor, but an artist.  

Brian Southwell's new book studies the effectiveness of social networking in spreading health news.
John Hopkins Press

Scientists and public health officials are increasingly turning to social media and peer-to-peer networks to educate the public.


The author William Conescu struggled with double vision before having surgery to fix the disorder.

The idea of double vision lingered with him and his new novel Kara Was Here (Soft Skull Press/ 2013), features a character who sees double, both literally and metaphorically.  The character grapples with the conflict between the life he chose and the life he gave up.  Host Frank Stasio speaks to William Conescu about the novel.

Frank Stasio hosting 'The State of Things' from Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh
NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Today, The State of Things is broadcasting live from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Look below to watch the program live. 

Mint Julep Jazz Band


The Mint Julep Jazz Band was named “Best Musical Artist” by Durham Magazine. 

SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

Individuals facing criminal charges are entitled to legal representation even if they are unable to afford attorneys. But what about people facing civil issues like divorce, child custody and medical claims?

There are services that provide legal counsel, such as Legal Aid of North Carolina.  In 2010, Ashley Quiñones became a client of Legal Aid after Medicaid her denied a kidney transplant as she was experiencing renal failure.  Quiñoneschose to appeal the claim and she turned to Legal Aid for help. 

Two local residents, Ivin Scurlock, 41,  and Alexandra Simou, 40, lost their lives in a hit-and-run incident near Southern Village last month.  North Carolina has one of the worst rates for bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in the country.  

iUniverse, Lucy Daniels

  At 22 years old, Lucy Daniels was a best-selling author and a Guggenheim Award winner.  But she spent five years hospitalized for severe anorexia and the trauma of sudden success led Daniels to stop writing for much of her adult life.  After a 40 year gap, Lucy Daniels took up writing again.  Host Frank Stasio speaks with Daniels, a writer and clinical psychologist, about her newest book, “Walking with Moonshine: My Life in Stories” (iUniverse/ 2013).

Wikimedia Commons


A federal government report on Internet access ranked North Carolina last in the country for the rate of Internet subscription.  

Only 17 percent of North Carolina households have fixed Internet connections at a speed the FCC deems the "minimum required to engage in modern life."  Rural residents say that they have difficulty getting coverage while providers claim rural North Carolina has adequate service.

CAM Raleigh

Surveying the Terrain,” a new exhibition at Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum, CAM, uses surveillance and mapping tools towards artistic ends. 

The artists in the exhibition traded in their paintbrushes and canvases in favor of Google Earth, satellite images, and aerial photographs.  Brooklyn-based artist Matthew Jensen used Google Street view for his project 49 States, visiting every state except Hawaii.


A worldwide celebration of amateur filmmaking returns to the Triangle this weekend.

On Saturday UNC Chapel Hill inducted its first female chancellor, Carol Folt.

Poetry Meets Dance

Oct 15, 2013
Coffee House Press


The poet Lightsey Darst found inspiration for her new book “Dance” (Coffee House Press/ 2013) from some unlikely sources: the Zodiac, Dante, the Guinness Book of World Records and Vogue magazine. 

In dance, Darst finds a metaphor for Hell, Earth, and Paradise.  Host Frank Stasio speaks to Lightsey Darst about dance, writing and her latest work.

NC General Assembly, DHHS, Secretary Aldona Wos
Jessica Jones

The head of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, Aldona Wos, and other department leaders were grilled by lawmakers at an oversight committee meeting Tuesday in Raleigh.

Lawmakers and some members of the public questioned the department’s hiring policies, new payment systems and future plans for the state’s Medicaid program.  Wos fielded tough questions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle all day.

Bill Ferris' new book, The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists, presents 40 years of interviews and photographs.
UNC Press

For decades, Bill Ferris documented Southern African-American folklore.  His latest book The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists presents material from 40 years of interviews with writers, scholars and artists who reflected southern culture in their work.