Robert Benincasa is a computer-assisted reporting producer in NPR's Investigations Unit.

Since joining NPR in 2008, Benincasa has been reporting on NPR Investigations stories, analyzing data for investigations, and developing data visualizations and interactive applications for NPR.org. He has worked on numerous groundbreaking stories, including an exclusive on the independence level of nursing home residents, the safety of automated aircraft, and a government mandate to produce $1 coins that Americans don't want.

Prior to NPR, Benincasa served as the database editor for the Gannett News Service Washington Bureau for a decade. In 1995, he joined the Burlington VT Free Press as a staff writer.

Flora of Virginia
3:17 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Definitive State Plant Guide

The last time the state of Virginia had its own, definitive plant guide was 1762, with the book “Flora Virginica.” Now, after more than a decade in the making, the volume has finally been updated. 
 

Flora of Virginia offers a state-of-the art guide to nearly 32-hundred plant species in 200 families. The book features identification keys, cutting edge taxonomy, and detailed habitat information….with a pretty thorough description of each plant.

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A look at the economy and business outlook in Virginia.

A look at the arts and culture of Virginia.

McDonnell Initiative Moves Forward
7:07 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Governor Expedites Rights Restoration Process

Although the General Assembly this year shot down one opportunity for Governor McDonnell to fulfill a campaign promise to restore the voting and civil rights of nonviolent felons, the Governor has found a way to sidestep lawmakers and make progress toward that goal.  A day after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli unveiled his advisory report on the issue, McDonnell announced his own initiative. 

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Chesapeake Bay Preservation
6:47 am
Thu May 30, 2013

VA Farmers Adapting to EPA Imposed Changes

Virginia Poultry Farm

The Chesapeake Bay watershed spans six states and the District of Columbia. Within this watershed are several large cities, including Cooperstown, N.Y.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Baltimore, Md.; Washington, D.C.; and Norfolk, Richmond and Charlottesville, and the bay supports more than 2,700 species of plants and animals.

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Kat Chow is a journalist covering race, ethnicity, and culture for NPR's new Code Switch team. In this role, Chow is responsible for reporting and telling stories using social media, sparking conversations online, and blogging.

Prior to coming to NPR, Chow worked with WGBH in Boston and was a reporting fellow for The Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper in Phnom Penh.

Economics & Economy
4:27 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Smithfield Foods to be Acquired by Chinese Company

Credit LM Otero/AP via NPR

Smithfield Foods is being sold to China’ s largest pork producer. 

Saying it’s a great day for American farmers, Smithfield Foods President and CEO Larry Pope has announced his company is being sold to Shuanghui International Holdings Limited, China’s largest meat processing enterprise and largest meat trading company.  It’s believed to be the largest takeover of an American company by a Chinese one.  The purchase price is $4.7 billion.

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Ideas and opinions presented by WVTF and RADIO IQ to better serve our listeners. 

Trout Season
2:29 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The Big Catch

I could hear Tony tearing up the trail from Squirrel Creek toward our campsite in the middle of a blueberry patch in remote Avery County, North Carolina. All the forest creatures could hear him, too.

Tony was anything but subtle when he’d caught a fish and he wanted every thrush, every gray squirrel, every white-tail deer, every groundhog and—most of all—me to know he’d hooked a penny-bright, native, feisty rainbow trout.

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