Stephan Bisaha

Wealth and Poverty Reporter



Stephan Bisaha is the wealth and poverty reporter for the Gulf States Newsroom, a regional collaboration between NPR and member stations in Alabama (WBHM), Mississippi (MPB) and Louisiana (WWNO and WRKF). He reports on the systemic drivers of poverty in the region and economic development.

Before joining the team, Stephan spent three years as an education reporter for the Kansas News Service, a network of member stations in Kansas. He also spent a year as a Kroc Fellow for NPR, where he did the data analysis for an investigation into the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, produced Weekend Edition and reported in Birmingham.

He was born and raised in New Jersey. His hobbies include cooking, improv and physical fitness.

As southern workers quit in record number, restaurants struggle to meet demands

Wages have gone up as restaurants try to hold onto their staff amid a record number of people quitting their jobs in the U.S., especially in the South.

Want to help after Hurricane Ida? Southern charities say the best way is giving people cash

Charities in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana say giving people money is faster and gives them back agency. But experts say cash alone can’t solve all the problems after a storm.

Despite Record Number On The Road, Women Truck Drivers Still Face Barriers Getting Into Industry

Experts say trucking can lift women out of poverty, but barriers like lack of access to child care keep them out.

How Historic Food Stamps Boost Will Bring Relief To Southern Families: ‘This Is A Really Big Deal’

Experts say the 25% increase will make huge strides in combating hunger, especially in The South. Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi will get an additional $950 million from SNAP estimated for this next fiscal year.

As The Clock Runs Out On $300 Unemployment Benefits, A New Orleans Waitress Is Left In Limbo

The tips Dora Whitfield earned at Harrah’s Casino covered her bills. But like a lot of workers, returning to work isn’t as simple as following the help wanted signs.

Alabama Coal Workers Strike For Better Wages, Fair Treatment

The strike has gone on for more than two months with no resolution in sight.

How One Utility In The Mississippi Delta Is Using Teamwork To Keep Faucets Flowing

Water providers in some rural communities across the region often fail to deliver clean and reliable water. Black Bayou Water Association is addressing that issue by connecting small utilities.

Will The Gulf Coast Amtrak Line Ever Leave The Station?

Plans for a passenger line connecting New Orleans with Mobile are underway, but opposition from the freight train industry could derail the service – and possibly President Joe Biden’s vision for an Amtrak resurgence.

Big Union Loss At Amazon Warehouse Casts Shadow Over Labor Movement

Last week's overwhelming vote against forming a union at Amazon's Bessemer warehouse was the latest in a string of disappointments for labor unions. Now Amazon employees and union backers are trying to find a way forward.

Alabama Amazon Workers Reject Union, But Organizers Say The Fight Isn’t Over

The union accused Amazon of illegal anti-union tactics and will challenge the results.

Why Alabama Lawmakers Just Won’t Give Up The Grocery Tax

Politicians across the aisle agree that grocery taxes harm low-income families. And yet the tax remains untouched.

What Labor Wins And Losses In The South Can Tell Us About the Amazon Union Vote

The unionization effort at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a big union win in the South. Yet union organizers had a nearly-identical opportunity just four years ago in Mississippi.

Actor Danny Glover Rallies Support For Unionizing Bessemer Amazon Facility

The "Lethal Weapon" star briefly spoke with workers leaving the facility. He told reporters that the unionization effort in Bessemer is part of a long history of fighting for labor rights.

Birmingham Launches Film Office as State Lags in Big Productions

Birmingham is investing in a new film office, but Alabama still lags behind Georgia in film incentives.

Birmingham’s VA Faces Challenges Keeping Wait Times Down

Wait times have been shrinking at the Birmingham VA after zooming up last year, but challenges with space and hiring still remain.

Vintage Video Games Get An Extra Life

Saturn's Vintage Video Game Night gives gamers an opportunity to replay parts of gaming's past, as well as childhood favorites.

Regions Bank Takes Steps To Be Autism-Friendly

Regions Bank recently announced efforts to make its 1,500 branches autism-friendly. It's something many businesses across the country are doing. But there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach.

A Roman God’s Spa Day: Vulcan Gets A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Vulcan, the world's largest cast iron statue, gets a paint job -- bare bottom and all.

Savings Uncertain With Birmingham’s LED Street Lights

Birmingham is installing new LED street lights across the city. But while other cities across the country have seen dramatic savings after switching, there's no guarantee Birmingham will see similar savings.

How One Woman Rebooted Her Path to Success in the Tech World

Kristin Julbert is responsible for new developments for Regions Bank’s online platforms. She started working in online banking about 20 years ago — well before customers used smartphones to pay their bills. She recently spoke at a panel hosted by Tech Birmingham.