Josie Taris

Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.

How is the coronavirus pandemic changing your life? North Carolinians share their stories of how this outbreak is affecting all facets of their calendar day, from canceled weddings to closed businesses to concerns about elderly relatives and neighbors. 

Are you a Becky, or a Rebecca? Do you ignore injustice if it does not affect you, or do you stand up for what is right?

Ronnie Pepper loves to hear stories as much as he loves to tell them. He grew up in the small Appalachian town of Hendersonville during the era of the civil rights movement in a house with no plumbing and only four rooms.

The women’s ACC Basketball Tournament is underway in Greensboro, and three North Carolina teams are left: Wake Forest, NC State and Duke. Years of dedication from young female athletes culminate in tournaments like this, but despite the athleticism and dedication of the players, fans do not come out in droves like they do for men’s games. So, what does that mean for the athletes, their financial potential and the game at large? 

The Doug Prescott Band started in 1996 as a musical project between friends. Now, its an evolving group of up to eight people who create Americana folk tunes. Frontman Doug Prescott got started in music when he picked up a trumpet in the fourth grade. Songwriting came naturally to him, and it has been a lifelong passion. 

One hundred years ago this August, North Carolina declined the opportunity to be the deciding state to grant women the constitutional right to vote. The decision had come down to Tennessee and North Carolina, so Tar Heel legislators sent a telegram to their counterparts in Tennessee, urging them not to ratify and pledging that North Carolina would do the same. Fortunately, Tennessee ignored that plea and ratified the amendment, adding it to the U.S. Constitution.

  

  

  The 19th Amendment was a watershed moment for women’s rights in the United States, but it left many black women behind. The shortcomings of the suffrage movement inspired faculty-artists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 19th Amendment Project, which is part of the UNC Process Series. The show explores women, power and politics and celebrates pivotal black activists.

What keeps youth voters from the polls? The longstanding assumption is that the under-30 electorate just does not care about that part of the political process. But a new book argues against that premise. 

With a soulful blend of twang and spacey-rock tunes, the indie-country duo Blue Cactus is known for its country music sound. Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez released their EP “Finger on the Button” earlier this week with a titular track that they call their President’s Day anthem. 

How did images of Jesus end up on our clothes? Historian Lynn Neal aims to answer that question in her latest book “Religion in Vogue: Christianity and Fashion in America” (NYU Press/2019).

Ashley Wright relocated from her home in Clarksville, Tennessee to the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2016 to nourish her musical career. Since then, she has made a home for herself and her music in Boone. 

The musical project Mebanesville started 20 years ago with just five friends playing in a new coffee shop.Two decades later, the project has seen band members come and go, but nobody ever really leaves for good.

Jessica Yinka Thomas grew up in both the United States and West Africa. Her father, a Nigerian economics professor, and her mother, an American computer scientist, raised their four kids between Miami, Nigeria, Senegal and eventually Maryland to get them ready for college in the states.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks are iconic figures in the country’s Civil Rights Movement. But who led the charge in North Carolina? The prominent, but little-known black banker John Hervey Wheeler played a large role.


From its creation in the late 19th century, basketball captured America’s attention. What began with James Naismith and two peach baskets evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry with its reach extending beyond sports to marketing and fashion. 

The storied Tobacco Road rivalry extends far beyond the walls of the Dean Dome or Cameron Indoor. Student journalists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s The Daily Tar Heel and at Duke University’s The Chronicle have always covered the leadup to the big game, but last year they started combining forces to create the “Rivalry Edition.” 

Do you say please and thank you to your smart speaker? With each update, technology inches closer towards a greater understanding of the human condition. Empathy remains a trait exclusive to people, but that could change.

As a package of gun control measures makes its way through Virginia’s newly-Democratic legislature, gun rights activists around the South are turning to their county boards of commissioners to go on the record in opposition to gun control.


Affordable housing is in limited supply in many communities in North Carolina. The problem is particularly acute in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, where the population growth has outpaced that in more rural parts of the state. WUNC data reporter Jason deBruyn explored what is happening to housing in the Triangle region for his new in-depth series “Where We Live.”

Writer E. Patrick Johnson was hesitant to collect the stories of queer black Southern women. He is a cisgender gay black man, and the divide between the male and female experience was something he felt he could not portray on the page. But after being encouraged by women who wanted their experiences known and shared, he found a way to spotlight their voices.

Growing up, Carl Tanner did his best to hide his vocal talent. He played keyboard in a rock band in high school but was reluctant to let out his booming voice. Eventually, a friend overheard him singing and pushed him to join the school choir. His natural ability stunned the instructor, and he started singing hymns at church, too.

 

Actors make their living by telling the stories of other people. It is a craft marked by embodying a completely different life. But sometimes this process pushes out those who could most authentically tell the story. 

Duke Energy is expected to execute the country’s largest coal ash cleanup in the next couple decades. A settlement signed Dec. 31, 2019 between Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality decided the utility will excavate nearly 80 million tons of coal ash from unlined ponds and move it to lined landfills.

Durham called folk rocker Nancy Middleton back home after 11 years in Nashville.

If you have ever been on a diet, you know the pure vulnerability of getting weighed at the doctor’s office. Standing on an old metal scale with your shoes off, you might avert your eyes, as if that would prevent the nurse from saying the number out loud as they write it down. But what if weight did not play such an active role in how you understood your health?

Fifteen years ago, Allan Gurganus gifted NPR listeners a 22-minute meandering tale from the perspective of a mall pet store manager during the holidays. The beloved North Carolina writer’s twinkle-eyed reading of “A Fool for Christmas” developed into a yearly tradition at The Regulator bookshop in Durham.

Teachers nationwide continue to stage protests. Organizations like Fight for $15 are gaining power and steam. General Motors recently ended the longest autoworkers strike in recent history. Employees lost nearly $1 billion in wages while the company lost nearly $2 billion in production.

On a misty Saturday morning outside of Burlington, a small tour group walks down a gravel pathway through the exotic animal enclosures at the Animal Park at the Conservator’s Center, a nonprofit zoo. 

As a kid, Jose Santibanez showed up at school every day not to learn, but to play soccer. He was undocumented and struggled to motivate himself, despite his intellect.

The U.S. Department of State has a long history of utilizing cultural “people-to-people” diplomacy to advance national interests. One of those programs sends hip-hop artists all over the world to engage in artistic exchange.

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