A Bittersweet Ending

The Community Journalism class which produced The Durham Voice and Carrboro Commons this semester

The Community Journalism class that produced The Durham Voice and Carrboro Commons this semester.

There is always something bittersweet about an ending, and this semester is no exception. Yesterday was our last class together, our final content is up online and our print edition will hit the stands tomorrow. In less than 24 hours, I will officially no longer be part of the Durham Voice’s staff, and as a graduating senior I don’t even have the option to continue working with the publication last week like some of my fellow classmates.

It’s as final as my graduation invitations.

But before crying all over the place about the ending, I would like to say that I’m incredibly proud of our work this semester. Our team really dove into the Durham community and we tried our best to apply our growing knowledge of community journalism to accurately portray all the great programs and attack some of the bigger issues of the neighborhoods. We definitely gave 110% and I think that shows in our product. Our professor Jock says that it’s the best semester of each publication, and that’s a pretty high compliment.

We had great support from the students we were involved with at the high schools around Durham as we passed along tidbits of information we wished we had known sooner in our journalism careers. We revamped our website and included some great additions (thanks to Brian Fanney), we had a writer (Caitlin Owens) specialize in investigative journalism and we started this blog and really began to focus on our social media. We also had excellent writers and editors, and, of course, a great professor.

Yet we are not the real stars. The unsung heroes of the semester are; are all the individuals who helped us along the way, quietly and without much fuss and our sources and models for our photos. Thank you so much for letting us into your lives and work and talking to us. You trusted us, and that speaks volumes about the good character of Durham.  There have been countless community leaders, teachers, students and our NCCU counterparts that not only contributed to our publication but who also worked with us to make us better individual journalists.  They accepted us and helped us along the way numerous times. Our wonderful semester wouldn’t have been possible without y’all.

I can honestly say that my experience with the Durham Voice and our community journalism class has been one of the most informative and one of the most helpful. I am terribly sad to see this end, but I am happy with what has been left behind and I look forward to whatever the future holds.

I’m looking forward to see what the next semester does with the Durham Voice. You have my best wishes and I look forward to reading the site next year!

By: Allie Barnes

In regards to our last post about votes for the Best Local Restaurant in NECD, we did not receive any votes. We’ll try again!

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Inspiried by Southern Living, what’s the tastiest restaurant in NECD?

Southern Living Magazine gave our corner of the world quite the compliment yesterday. It was revealed that the South’s Tastiest Town is Durham. The article talks illustrates the town as a unique mixture of old and new, with the blending of the American Tobacco Historic District and Brightleaf Square. And, of course, there are some amazingly delicious cuisines mentioned.

Some of the wonderful restaurants and eateries that were featured include Nana’s, whose chef, Scott Howell, was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award. (Congrats!) Scratch Bakery, Counter Culture Coffee, Fullsteam Brewery and Tavern, Cocoa Cinnamon, Monuts Donuts, Mateo Tapas, Pizzeria Toro and Geer Street Garden were all given love. These places are more than superb, and deserve all the love they are getting.

It’s clear from the article that great restaurants are sprinkled throughout Durham, and lots of them didn’t get a shout out. That’s the nature of journalism- we can’t include everything- but the northeast central area has some great dining spots.

Peterson_GG1FINALEarlier this month, when the Tastiest Town Awards sweepstakes was still in progress, staff writer Marissa Peterson highlighted Gg Fish & Chicken, an extremely popular seafood restaurant off of Fayetteville Street in Durham. Since it’s opening in 2010, it has become a regular spot for locals for lunch and dinner, especially after church services.

And there are many, many more. What about JC’s Kitchen? Or Taqueria El Chilango? Or Doug’s Pub & Grill?

Inspired by Southern Living’s article, and with the help our readers, I would like to host a contest for the tastiest restaurants in the northeast central area. Comment below for your favorite restaurant (one comment is equal to one vote), and all votes will be accepted until Tuesday, April 16th. Spread the word to all your friends, and we’ll announce the winner next Wednesday, April 17th.

By: Allie Barnes

Photo by: Marissa Peterson

More than a dot on the map

If you’ll notice, we have a new tab on our website: Story Map. It takes our stories to a whole new, interactive level as it tracks the exact places in Durham our stories have focused on. All of the red pins that are clustered around northeast central Durham on the Google Map have a story attached to them, so all you have to do is click on the pin to get a link to our story. Brilliant if you ask me. Simply brilliant.

Brian Fanney

Brian Fanney

Our wonderful co-editor, Brian Fanney, is the mastermind behind it. He has really done a lot for the Voice this semester and his enthusiasm is contagious. He completely revamped our website as well as The Carrboro Commons (what the other half of our class works on), added The Lens to our site, and designed and helped launch the Community Calendar. He’s done so much for this publication, and the Story Map fits right in with the other great additions he’s thought of and helped with.

“The Durham VOICE is all about community journalism,” Brian says. “We want to hear stories about neighborhoods from neighbors. We try to sort those stories into categories and tags to make them easier to find, but I wondered if there was a better way. I considered making tags or categories for specific areas of Durham, but wasn’t quite sure how to classify for display them. While looking at the Frederick (MD) News-Post website, I got the idea to make a map. I had some experience in online mapping from writing an article about euthanasia rates across North Carolina. I created a color-coded map to make the data meaningful for people across the state using Google’s Fusion Tables. I thought a map of stories would similarly make the VOICE’s journalism relevant to communities across Durham.”

Now, with just a click of a button, it’s easy to see just where we’ve been able to highlight. It’s a visual representation of the diversity of Durham, and shows that we’re more than just a dot on the map. And the more stories that come, the more the map will look like a sea of red. Red’s a good color.

By: Allie Barnes