What Next

It Didn’t Start With Nikole Hannah-Jones

UNC has a troubled history of racism.


Episode Notes

Last year, UNC–Chapel Hill began courting Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones to come teach at the Hussman School of Journalism. But when her tenure recommendation landed in front of the school’s board of trustees, it refused to take a vote, leaving her application in limbo. After months of public pressure and lobbying by students and faculty, Hannah-Jones was offered tenure—but not before she’d decided to teach at Howard University instead.

How did UNC’s board of trustees cost the school such a coveted appointment? And how deep did the political divisions over Hannah-Jones’ hiring get?

Guest: Joe Killian, investigative reporter at NC Policy Watch.

If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on What Next. Sign up now at slate.com/whatnextplus to help support our work.

Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Davis Land, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz, and Carmel Delshad.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

All episodes


  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.