Thursday, February 3, 2011

Young journalists in North Carolina provide a close-up view of trouble on Tobacco Road

Here's a little something different for this blog but certainly right on target in its concern for working folks in the South.

Check out the compelling and award-winning series titled Hardship & Hope on the impact of the Great Recession along Tobacco Road in central North Carolina. Photojournalism students at the University of North Carolina compiled the reports in 2009 although I just this week found out about them. That's thanks to Alex McDaniel, a graduate student in my Narrative Journalism class this semester at the University of Mississippi.

One of the series, Holding On by John Adkisson, tells of 45-year-old Allen Hutson of Oxford, N.C., who has lost his job but still has to make ends meet to support his family. It's the kind of story that could just as easily be told in 2011.

Another in the series, Stop the Presses by Stacey Axelrod, deals with journalists who’ve been laid off in the recession, some of whom I used to work with many years ago back at the old, now-defunct afternoon newspaper, The Raleigh Times.

The package provided yet more proof (I see this, too, in my classrooms) that young journalists are still out there, compelled and inspired by a sense of social justice, and getting real stories about real people in real situations. That's what good journalists have always done.

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