Anita Rao

Anita Rao is the Managing Editor for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. 

She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. In her spare time she also co-hosts and produces a podcast and radio show about millennial feminism called "She and Her." 

The Asian-American population in North Carolina has exploded in the past few decades. A 2016 study shows that from 2000-2010, the Asian-American population in the state grew by 85 percent, which was the third-fastest growth rate in the country. But who exactly makes up this growing population? What are their stories and traditions, and how are they changing the face of North Carolina?

Former MAD Magazine editor Nick Meglin died at his home in Durham Saturday, June 2 at the age of 82. Meglin worked at MAD as an editor for nearly 50 years before retiring in 2004. Host Frank Stasio pays tribute to Meglin, who was one of his creative inspirations and a dear friend.

A Modern-Day Gold Rush

May 30, 2018

Before 2008, western North Dakota was a faded frontier. The vast and sparsely-populated area had been steadily losing population since the Great Depression. But the discovery of the Bakken oil fields, in combination with new fracking technology, paved the way for what Maya Rao calls a modern-day gold rush.

A Texas woman filed a lawsuit Monday accusing R.Kelly of sexual battery and knowingly infecting her with herpes. This is the latest in a decades-long string of allegations against the R&B artist that detail an array of misconduct, including his repeatedly holding women against their will in a “sex cult.” Hollywood leaders recently renewed the #MuteRKelly movement to demand that companies who profit from his music cut ties.

Retired surgeon and former state Medicaid Director Robin Gary Cummings took office as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2015. Cummings is a Pembroke native and member of the Lumbee Tribe. His tenure has been marked by efforts to expand economic and educational opportunities for residents of Robeson County, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

One in 57 8-year-old children in North Carolina is diagnosed with autism, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But new reporting from North Carolina Health News and EdNC shows many families around the state are struggling to access specialized treatments that could transform how their children with autism behave.

The arrest of two 23-year-old black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks earlier this month has sparked a national conversation about implicit bias. Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were waiting for a business meeting when the employees asked them to leave. Soon after, police entered the store, handcuffed them and took them to jail.

In late February, leaked bodycam footage of a white Asheville police officer beating a black pedestrian went viral, and the city is still reeling. The footage captured an incident that took place Aug. 24, 2017 when former Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman confronted city resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush over alleged jaywalking and trespassing. Footage shows Hickman beat, choked, punched and stunned Rush.

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez took the helm of the Democratic National Committee in early 2017 when its reputation was in tatters. The Clinton-Sanders primary created a rift in the party, which was further devastated by the Russian email hacking scandal and big losses in the 2016 election.

A record number of women are running for public office this year for positions ranging from state legislators to governors and members of Congress. Whether or not they will be elected still remains uncertain, but their attempts could counteract staggering statistics: for every one woman who holds office as a governor, member of congress or state legislator in the United States today, there are three men, according to analysis from The Washington Post.

With the new Disney release “A Wrinkle In Time,” Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to direct a film with a budget over $100 million. She notes the accomplishment but calls it bittersweet, because it has taken Hollywood until 2018 to support women of color in these roles. 

There are not many superlatives left to describe the success of “Black Panther.” The latest Marvel movie has received glowing reviews, broken countless records, and is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. It is also well on its way to surpassing $1 billion at the global box office. And although it has reached screens in far corners of the world, questions remain about what its long-term impact will be. Can one successful film finally disprove the longstanding myth that black films don’t travel?

The black community owned 0.5 percent of America’s wealth at the end of slavery, and today that number has barely increased. A typical white household is 10 times wealthier than a typical black household, and the racial wealth gap is growing.

Donald Trump just celebrated his first year in office, and the burning question in some circles is: should Oprah Winfrey take his place? The buzz around #Winfrey2020 started after she gave a rousing speech at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano are experts at hosting dinner parties, or at least virtual ones. As the hosts of the podcast and radio show “Dinner Party Download,” they guided audiences through 400 conversations about culture, history, arts and food – all packaged in segments that represented different phases of a dinner party, like “small talk,” “cocktails,” and “guest of honor.” 

The #MeToo movement has broken a decades-long culture of silence around sexual assault and harassment and taken down a number of powerful men, including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, TV host Matt Lauer, politician Al Franken, and 30 some others compiled in a list from The New York Times. But according to writer Rob Okun, the thing that ties together all of these individual incidents is a culture of power and privilege held in place by particular ideas about masculinity. 

Gabrielle Calvocoressi was born with nystagmus, a visual condition where the eyes are constantly in spasm. It took Calvocoressi a while to learn how to walk and balance, so the young child spent a lot of time sitting on the floor, daydreaming and observing the world. 

In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission solidified network neutrality rules that prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing down or interfering with web traffic. Last week FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced a repeal of these rules, which would usher in a new era of the internet. 

North Carolina is home to the largest U.S. military installation in the world by population. It employs more than 50,000 military and close to 30,000 civilians and contributes tens of billions of dollars to the state’s economy.

Science and religion are often pitted against one another as opposing forces. While science is defined by clear methodologies and peer-reviewed findings, religion is at once abstract and highly personal. Yet whether or not someone is a highly-devout Hindu priest or a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, both are wielding tools in search of greater understanding. 

Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen started singing blues tunes as a young girl to entertain her parents’ friends at their home in Edison, New Jersey. She later worked for years in the casino industry and won casino talent competitions so often that she was banned from participating. 

Hundreds of thousands of women packed the streets in January as part of the Women’s March. Many donned pink, cat-eared “pussy hats” to mark their participation. This march, alongside many other public demonstrations and landmark court decisions throughout history, have made the fight for gender equality visible to the greater American public. But the movement has really been fueled day-to-day by the work of activists, organizers and regular citizens. 

Teen birth rates in North Carolina are at a historic low, according to a statistical brief from the State Center for Health Statistics. 

Half of the adults in the United States are married, according to the Pew Research Center, which is a sharp decline from the 72 percent of adults married in 1960. But are marriages today better or worse than they used to be? 

Thomas J. Brennan first started writing about war through letters home to his wife when he was deployed in a remote village in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

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