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.


The State of Things
11:17 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Why Do Political Activists Burn Out?

Claudia Horwitz of Stone Circles teaches activists to engage in a spiritual practice.

Founder of Stone Circles, Claudia Horwitz, talks about her work teaching organizers how to lead more sustainable lives

Claudia Horwitz was a young political activist who worked to raise awareness around hunger and homelessness.  She found a high burn-out rate among activists she worked with it. Through her career, Claudia saw people drop out of political organizing for a variety of reasons, such as exhaustion, lack of progress, illness and addiction.  

Read more
The State of Things
10:51 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Abandoning The Black Hero

The film adaptation of Frank Yerby's 1946 best-selling novel, The Foxes of Harrow.

A panel of writers and scholars discuss the white life novel.

African-American literary authors like James Baldwin or Zora Neale Hurston are famous for their depictions of black life. But these novelists have also written books with white protagonists. Why is this unexpected? Is there a mandate that black authors write only about black characters?

Read more
The State of Things
10:17 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Chasing Windmills: Outsider Art Flourishes in North Carolina

Vollis Simpson on his farm in Lucama, NC circa 1986.
Roger Manley

Remembering Vollis Simpson and a look at the rise of Outsider Art in North Carolina

Thousands of curious visitors have made the trek out to Lucama, North Carolina.  The tiny rural town, home to just over a thousand people, has become an unlikely tourist attraction. The visitors come to see the whirligigs.  These are giant windmills, measuring up to six stories high and 50 feet wide, with hundreds of small moving parts. 

Read more
The State of Things
10:56 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Breaking Into Rock Music's Boy's Club

Thirteen-year-old singer-songwriter Emma Livingston has attended Girls Rock NC for three years and counting.
Hannah Shaw

Hannah Shaw, Director of Operations of Girls Rock NC, and Emma Livingston, a 13-year-old singer-songwriter and Girls Rock attendee gives us an overview of the camp and Emma performs her original songs live

Mount Moriah fans are familiar with Heather McIntyre’s heart-wrenching vocals.  But they may not be familiar with her work with the summer camp Girls Rock NC.  In fact, several fan favorites of the Triangle music scene support Girls Rock, including singer-songwriter Laura Thurston and Maria Albani of Schooner.

Read more
The State of Things
11:38 am
Mon June 17, 2013

What Is The Relationship Between Art And Advertising?

Image of George W. Bush from the series Culture of Corruption.
David Alsobrooks
  • Artist Dave Alsobrooks discusses the lines between art and marketing

When Nike used the Beatle’s song “Revolution” in an ad campaign, the Beatles sued. Their lawyer released a statement: “The Beatles’ position is that they don’t sing jingles to peddle sneakers, beer, pantyhose or anything else.” 

Read more
The State of Things
12:27 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

What Will Happen To North Carolina's Tax Code?

Photo of the State Senate Chamber
Credit Dave DeWitt

Host Frank Stasio talks to a panel of experts about possible changes to the tax code

Benjamin Franklin famously said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  But in the North Carolina legislature, three competing plans seek to reform the tax code, and the future of these plans is all but certain.  Two bills are waiting in the Senate Finance Committee. One bill passed the House yesterday and will move to the Senate.

Read more
The State of Things
11:08 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Is The South Dying?

Cover of Tracy Thompson's New Book, 'The New Mind of the South.'

Author Tracy Thompson and Professor Hodding Carter III explore what it means to be Southern today

As the economics, politics, and demographics of the South change, what happens to the culture and identity of the region?

Read more
The State of Things
12:19 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

What Is The Future Of A Chinese-Owned Smithfield Foods?

Smithfield Foods says it will stop using so-called ''gestation crates'' by 2017.

The future of Chinese-owned Smithfield

Smithfield Foods is set to be sold to Chinese firm in a $7.1 billion deal. The Shuanghui Group is the largest meat processor in China, and they have agreed to purchase Smithfield Foods to satisfy a large demand for American-made pork in China. If the deal goes through, it would be the largest ever Chinese acquisition of an American company.

Read more
The State of Things
12:12 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

How Easily Can Obama Close Guantanamo?

A Drone (MQ-9 Reaper)
Credit U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson /

Last week, President Obama laid out his strategy for a new phase in the war on terror.  He repeated his belief that Guantanamo Bay should be closed and cited the political reasons for his failure to do so until now. 

Obama also outlined a new policy that scales back the use of drones to kill suspected national security threats.  What are the laws and policies that President Obama faces? 

Read more
The State of Things
11:32 am
Tue May 28, 2013

The Fight Over Abortion In North Carolina

Abortion activists at a rally in Miami.
Credit Danny Hammontree

A panel of experts discuss the fight over abortion legislation in North Carolina from The State of Things.

Host Frank Stasio speaks to a panel of experts to discuss the fight over abortion legislation in North Carolina. Jessica Jones is WUNC’s Capitol Bureau Chief; Suzanne Buckley is the Executive Director of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice North Carolina; Tami Fitzgerald is the executive director of North Carolina Values Coalition; and Erika Levi is an OB/GYN and abortion provider in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.