Tanya Ballard Brown

Tanya N. Ballard is a Southern girl, an optimist and a wild dreamer who laughs loudly and often.

As an editor for NPR.org, Tanya brainstorms and develops digital features; collaborates with radio editors and reporters to create compelling digital content that complements radio reports; manages digital producers and interns; and, line edits stories appearing on the website. Tanya also writes blog posts, commentaries and book reviews, has served as acting supervising editor for Digital Arts, Books and Entertainment; edited for Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More; and filed on-air spots for newscast. Occasionally, she sits in with the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast team and hosts NPR Facebook Live segments.

Projects she has worked on include Abused and Betrayed: People With Intellectual Disabilities And An Epidemic of Sexual Assault; Months After Pulse Shooting: 'There Is A Wound On The Entire Community'; Stuck in the Middle: Work, Health and Happiness at Midlife; Teenage Diaries Revisited; School's Out: The Cost of Dropping Out; American Dreams: Then And Now; Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty; Living Large: Obesity In America; the Cities Project, Farm Fresh Foods; the Dirty Money series, winner of a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Investigative Reporting, a Scripps Howard National Journalism Award and an Edward R. Murrow award; the "Friday Night Lives" series, winner of an Edward R. Murrow Award; and, "WASP: Women With Wings In WWII," winner of a GRACIE Award.

Tanya is former editor for investigative and long-term projects at washingtonpost.com and during her tenure there coordinated with the print and digital newsrooms to develop multimedia content for investigative reports.

Tanya is a native of Charlotte, N.C., an alumna of N.C. A&T State University, and a former congressional fellow with the American Political Science Association. She has been a reporter or editor at GovExec.com/Government Executive magazine, The Tennessean in Nashville and the (Greensboro) News & Record.

In her free time, Tanya fronts a band filled with other NPR staffers, sings show tunes, dances randomly in the middle of the newsroom, takes acting and improv classes, teaches at Georgetown University, does storytelling performances, and dreams of being a bass player. Or Sarah Vaughan. Whichever comes first. She lives in Washington, D.C.

When police entered 64-year-old Stephen Paddock's 32nd-floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo says, they found "in excess of 10 rifles."

Every year as August draws to a close and Labor Day approaches, I start craving muscadines, the large, thick-skinned grapes that were everywhere in my home state of North Carolina when I was growing up.

Many summer evenings, my friends and I would sit on one of our porches and plot out how we could get into a neighbor's yard to get the muscadines off the vine and into our mouths. We crafted football-like plays that involved a bunch of running, splitting up, grape snatching and fence jumping.

William Weaver was 14 and a rising high school sophomore in the fall of 1964.

He was also one of 14 black students integrating the all-white West High School in Knoxville, Tenn.

"As soon as we got into the school, the principal was calling the roll. He said, 'Bill Weaver,' and I said, 'My name is William.' And he said, 'Oh, you're a smart N-word.' I'd been in school maybe 30 minutes and he suspended me," Weaver, 67, says, while recounting his first day at school during a recent visit to StoryCorps.

Though the violence has ended in Charlottesville, Va., debates and protests continue and Confederate statues and monuments are being removed all over the country.

Wally Funk has spent her life in pursuit of a dream. The pilot, flight instructor and almost-astronaut longs to go to outer space.

In 1961, she was part of a group of female pilots who took part in tests to determine whether women were fit for space travel. The project was run by the same doctor who developed tests for NASA astronauts and the women became known as the Mercury 13.

While college campuses struggle with consent, and when and how "no means no," a nearly 40-year-old court case in North Carolina says a person can't be charged with rape if their partner revokes consent during sex.

Mass shootings in Orlando, Fla., Alexandria, Va., and San Francisco during the first two weeks of June — two of them on the same day — have once again put America's complicate

A year ago, a gunman opened fire in Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Deonka Drayton was one of the 49 people killed that night, in what was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Drayton was 32 at the time, and had a son with Emily Addison.

"She had a beautiful voice, the most amazing smile, and she smelled so good all the time," Addison said during a recent visit to StoryCorps.

The two moved to Florida together in 2012, and Drayton hated the heat.

When Anthony Planakis was going through the New York Police Academy, they told him to write his interests down on a little card.

"Beekeeping, of course I put that down," says 54-year-old Planakis, who is a fourth generation beekeeper. "And the very first job, the sergeant comes right up to me and I just look up and go, 'Hey, Sarge,' and he goes, 'Bees?' and I go, 'Yeah, where?' 'Harlem.' And I go, 'Cool.' That was it, that was the first job I handled," he says.

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