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." 

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.

Tens of thousands of people are forced to flee their homes each day due to conflict and persecution, according to the UN Refugee Agency. More people around the world are displaced now than ever before. 

President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program yesterday.

Viv Albertine was a guitar player for The Slits, a British punk band from the late ‘70s. She rubbed elbows with members of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, but unlike her male punk peers, she heard ‘no’ much more often than she heard ‘yes.’ But that did not deter her from doing what she wanted to do anyway. 

In the past decade the military has become increasingly open to service members of different genders and sexual identities.

A settlement was reached last week in a lawsuit against two psychologists who were paid by the CIA to develop its post-9/11 interrogation program.

In the gospel musical “Crowns” every hat tells a story. The production is based on a book of photographs and oral history interviews of African-American women in their Sunday best. Their hats provide entry points into conversations about memory, loss, family, and politics. 

On Monday, Aug. 21 millions of Americans will experience a cosmic event of a lifetime: a total solar eclipse. This is the first time in 99 years that people from coast to coast can witness the moon completely covering the sun.

Photographer Christer Berg has spent the past few years experimenting with the art of portraiture. He started with a series of environmental portraits of individuals around the state, ranging from ballerinas to business people. 

 In the early 1970s it was not easy for LGBTQ people to be open about their sexuality no matter where they lived in the U.S. But those in the South had an especially difficult time finding safe and supportive spaces. 

 A Triangle-based comedy theater will close its doors later this month in the wake of assault and harassment allegations against its founder and director. He has denied the allegations, but the testimonies and resulting media coverage inspired a number of individuals in the theater and improv communities to start a more public conversation about how to create and maintain safe spaces. 

Photographer Chris Bickford has traveled the world and soaked in different landscapes and cultures, but there is a special kind of serenity he only finds at the North Carolina shore. For more than a decade, Bickford has lived in the Outer Banks taking pictures of the region's shifting sands and close-knit surfing community. He's gathered a collection of black and white photographs in a new book called “Legends of the Sandbar” (Burn Magazine/2017). 

Over the course of two decades, church leaders of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina manipulated and abused congregants from Brazil, according to an investigation by the Associated Press. More than a dozen former members report being told to leave their family in Brazil to join the church in N.C. However, after they arrived they say they were forced into hard labor without pay and physically and emotionally abused.

Tashni Dubroy has served as president of Shaw University in Raleigh since 2015. As president, Dubroy has helped bolster the South’s oldest historically black university. She has been credited with increasing the school’s enrollment and closing a $4 million fundraising gap. Earlier this month, Dubroy was recognized for her work and awarded Female President of the Year at the 2017 Historically Black Colleges and Universities Awards. Now Dubroy is stepping away from Shaw University to work for Howard University in Washington D.C. as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The word ‘che’ is ubiquitous on the streets of Argentina. It is a term of endearment that people use often in casual conversation – similar to a word like buddy in American slang. So when North Carolina native Joe Troop decided to form a band in Buenos Aires with a group of his students, he found it fitting to characterize themselves using the term ‘che.’ The band Che Apalache is comprised of four musicians from three countries who fuse Appalachian folk with Latin American music. 

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