The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

Computer keyboard
Defence Images/Creative Commons

More than half of North Carolinians were affected by personal data breaches in 2017. This month the North Carolina Department of Justice announced that the number of people hit in 2017 was seven times the number affected in 2016.

Ten years after the Great Recession North Carolina’s economy is back on its feet by many measures. Rates of employment are up, and the hard-hit manufacturing sector has been superseded by a growing tech and professional services industry.

colorful clouds of gas and dust in the orion star-forming region
NASA

Once a year the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences gathers researchers who spend their waking hours investigating the mysteries of the universe. At ‘Astronomy Days,’ scientists divulge their new findings. 

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

Federal judges ruled yesterday that the state's congressional districts drawn by Republican lawmakers are too partisan. They described them as  drawn to “entrench Republican domination of the state’s congressional delegation.” This ruling marks the first time a federal court has struck down a congressional map on those grounds. 

DRESTWN | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The news media industry has changed enormously in the past 10 years. Every day the line between news and entertainment is blurred further, and the Internet redefined who is considered a journalist. Host Frank Stasio spends the hour examining this blurred line and how it affects news consumers.

Thomas Farr, with right hand raised, is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee.
Alex Brandon / AP Photo

Thomas Farr is a Raleigh-based lawyer who has counseled North Carolina Republicans on a multitude of racially divisive cases.

Women in Hollywood came forward this weekend at the Golden Globes to declare that “Time’s Up” for tolerating sexual harassment. Their new initiative is one of many bubbling efforts in the country to shine a light on gender inequity and harassment in the workplace.

University of Georgia Press

An interracial farmer’s co-op built upon the principles of cooperative communalism existed for 20 years in rural Mississippi. Scholar Robert Hunt Ferguson explores this socio-economic experiment in his book “Remaking the Rural South: Interracialism, Christian Socialism and Cooperative Farming in Jim Crow Mississippi” (The University of Georgia Press 2018). Ferguson is a professor of history at Western Carolina University.

Courtesy Raymond Barfield

For most of his life, Raymond Barfield was a person of faith. He grew up in the church and maintained his faith right up to his early years as a physician. But his time working as a pediatric oncologist pushed him to the limits of his emotional and spiritual capacity.

Associated Press

The relationship between President Trump and former campaign strategist Steve Bannon seems to have hit an all time low. In an official statement the president declared Bannon has “lost his mind.”

Courtesy Melissa Darrow Engleman

'Now Voyager' is the dreamy fourth album by Greenville, North Carolina-based composer Melissa Darrow Engleman. Through compositions like “In Neptune’s Shadow” and “Jupiter’s Moons,” Engleman carries listeners on a musical expedition. 

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Healthcare in North Carolina is a tale of corporate giants in which business moves have major spillover effects on access and quality of healthcare for millions of residents. 

the cover of Joshua Davis's book, "From Head Shops to Whole Foods."
Joshua Davis

In the 1970s, independent bookstores, local food co-ops and credit unions shaped a new consumer landscape that was as much about protest as it was about purchase.

In his new book “From Head Shops To Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs” (Columbia University Press/2017) history professor and author Joshua Clark Davis digs into the unique environment that led to the rise and demise of these businesses.

mist rises off the Cape Fear River
Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Creative Commons

State lawmakers are expected to make addressing the water pollutant GenX a priority in their upcoming legislative session. Republican Rep. Ted Davis may introduce a draft bill as early as Jan. 4 that is expected to have bipartisan support. But as News & Observer reporter Will Doran points out, a lack of funding for its provisions will likely be a sticking point.
 

Host Frank Stasio talks to Doran about the latest on GenX. He also speaks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about other items the state legislature has on its short-term and year-long agendas.

Courtesy of New Hanover County Public Library

The 1940s was a decade of great transformation in North Carolina – the state transitioned from a mostly rural, agricultural place to one with a booming tobacco industry, strong musical traditions and a large military presence.

MALIZ ONG / PESO BILLS

They say money makes the world go 'round. We think it also makes for some great films. In this installment of Movies on the Radio, we're taking a look at movies about cold, hard cash.

The post-holiday season is a time when many people look back at the memories they made and the money they spent. According to behavioral economist Dan Ariely, many of the financial decisions made during this time, and throughout the year, are based on instincts or emotions rather than value. 

FORTYONCEGOLD

2017 was a big year for both rising stars and foundational artists with roots in the North Carolina music scene. Pop-electronic group Sylvan Esso, hip-hop artist Rapsody, and other North Carolina-based artists garnered Grammy nominations, and the state’s music was elevated once again to the national stage.

Tammy Jean Lamoureux

2017 was a whirlwind year in national politics. Major national political fights, like the battle for Standing Rock, had spillover effects on the state and local level.

The State of Things Producer Laura Pellicer shares memories of her favorite stories she produced this year: from coverage of Lumbee resistance to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to conversations about scientific explorations and tech news.

Main character from 'Get Out' in 'sinking' scene
BagoGames / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/SEjzLj

2017 was a big year for new movie releases, but film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes managed to narrow down their lists of favorites to share.

Selections include “Kedi,” a documentary about the cats of Istanbul, Netflix original “Mudbound,” about two sharecropping families, and the box office-crushing release of “Wonder Woman.”

Host Frank Stasio talks with Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about 2017 movies of note. 

Laura Pellicer

Go behind the glass with The State of Things producer Jennifer Brookland, whose picks for best segments of 2017 included conversations on a civil war mystery, an overhaul of higher education, and the efforts of a hustling young entrepreneur.

Host Frank Stasio talks with producer Jennifer Brookland about her favorite interviews she produced this year including conversations with Charlotte teacher Justin Ashley, food company founder Becky Holmes, UNC allergist Scott Commins, biomedical engineer Rachel Lance, ichthyologist Alex Dornburg, education visionary Cathy Davidson and author Shawn Wen. 

Laura Pellicer / WUNC

 

 

As 2017 wraps up, The State of Things staff goes “behind the glass” to join host Frank Stasio for conversations about the highlights of the year. Some of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond’s favorite segments include a conversation with activist and community organizer Bree Newsome who removed the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse in 2015.

Liz Baier

2017 marked a unique moment for journalism. Headlines broke each hour, and conversations that long took place in the margins were brought to the center. With all of this barely in the rearview mirror, The State of Things staff takes turns joining host Frank Stasio in the studio to recap their favorite moments of the year.

IV fluids
Mads Bodker / Flickr - Creative Commons

Note: this segment is a rebroadcast from June 26, 2017.

North Carolina has been battling a growing opioid addiction epidemic. New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from North Carolina hospitals show the rise in intravenous drug use is also causing a sharp increase in the rate of heart infections. 

Cover of 'Be Free Or Die,' written by Cate Lineberry
St. Martin's Press - 2017 / St. Martin's Press - 2017

Note: this segment is a rebroadcast from June 20, 2017.

In May 1862, Robert Smalls became a Union hero overnight when he stole a Confederate steamer from the Charleston harbor. Smalls had been enslaved his whole life and decided to free himself and his family by stealing the Planter and piloting it to the Union fleet outside Charleston, South Carolina. 


Riverhead Books/2017

Note: this segment is a rebroadcast from June 1, 2017.  

Patricia Lockwood grew up in a Catholic family in the Midwest. But her family’s circumstances were a little different: Lockwood’s father was a priest. Throughout her upbringing, Lockwood navigated her father’s larger-than-life personality and the institutional bindings of the Catholic church.

Director, Spike Lee
Jordan Strauss/Invision / AP Photo

As the year comes to a close, popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown, professor of film and broadcast media at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, and Mark Anthony Neal, chair of the department of African and African American studies at Duke University in Durham, recap some of the best cultural moments from 2017 with host Frank Stasio. 

Drawing of Donald Trump scrambling to charge his phone and continue tweeting.
Dwane Powell, The News and Observer

There was nothing in Dwane Powell’s upbringing to suggest he would end up a political cartoonist. 

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Doug Jones and his wife Louise wave to supporters before speaking Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala.
John Bazemore / AP Photo

Democrat Doug Jones won the red state of Alabama in his senate race against Republican Roy Moore this week.

thanksgiving pies
Laura D'Alessandro / Flickr- Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/BxsqdH

For many North Carolinians, food is the anchor for friends and family to come together over the holidays. And a simple request to “pass the potatoes” can be a welcome interruption that keeps the family dynamic from spiralling downhill. So how do family traditions emerge and what determines their staying power for generations to come?

Pages