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!


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

Songs about Durham

Music is the soul of life. Not a day goes by where I’m not singing along to the radio or have headphones in my ears as I’m walking to class. It’s one of life’s paradoxes-I’m obsessed with music yet I have absolutely no musical talent and am tone deft most of the time. Some say my enthusiasm negates the poor quality to my voice. Lies.

Songs of love, joy, sadness, broken hearts, pain, etc… they all reach in a special place in me. And Durham has a special place in my heart, too. So I was struck with a thought- are there any songs about Durham?!

I did a little research and the result: there aren’t many songs specifically about Durham, but I did find a few songs that I really like. Durham is by no means a perfect city-it has its problems- but it is still a crazy cool place. I also think these songs do a good job with getting across a realness to the city.

1. Welcome to Durham by: Little Brother ft. Big Daddy Kane

WARNING: EXPLICIT. This is a reflection of the rough side of town, from the words of Durhamites themselves. These rappers are from Durham and have been working hard to break into the industry since the mid 2000s. This song is from 2005.

2. Carolina on my Mind by: J Cole

WARNING EXPLICIT. Even though the state in genenal, J Cole gives a direct shout out to Bull City when he’s referencing some of the towns. I really like this song because 1. The back music is awesome and 2. J Cole is talking about overcoming the issues to do what he wants- that’s the Carolina Way. And that is something I’m proud to be a part of.

3. Live and Die by: Avett Brothers

I included this song in the list because, as a senior, I’ve been feeling terribly nostalgic about everything and have a deep connection to Chapel Hill and Durham. And I really do feel that me and this area of N.C. are same… that we have a bond. Plus, the Avett Brothers are from N.C. so that’s even more love. This song was just released in 2012 from their new C.D.

4. Carolina Sunset by: The Marshall Tucker band

It’s true, what he says. “I love a Carolina sunset. That’s one thing a man will never forget. It brings heaven a little big closer to Earth.” From the mountains to Durham to the coast, this song hits home about the greatness. The good and the bad, Durham is one of those Carolina sunset towns. And it’s beautiful. This came out in the mid 1980s,

5. Durham Town (The Leavin’) by: Roger Whittaker

Sooooo this song may or may not be about Durham, NC… Since this is a British artist, it probably refers to the Durham in England. BUT I still think it counts because it’s a upbeat song and it talks about the sadness of leaving Durham, something that one can relate to no matter where Durham is. I like old songs in general, so it’s not a surprise that I like this song, which was first released in 1969.

I’d love to hear your feedback! Do you know of any songs about Durham?

By: Allie Barnes

It’s Madness!

It’s that time of year again- March Madness!! One of my favorite times of year. Tomorrow, Butler, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Louisville, etc. will be on the court and it’s going to be wonderful. I’m kind of miffed I have to go to school- clearly, Thursday and Friday should be holidays. Nevertheless, despite my classes, I’ll be glued to ESPN and BracketBound during every free second for the next couple of weeks.

As I’ve  been filling out my bracket, it’s always difficult to judge where to go place my faith in Duke. Being a current (and forever) Tar Heel, UNC is clearly where my allegiance lies and being a Tar Heel comes part and parcel with being a Duke hater, if only just in basketball. Taking away my Tar Heel pride, it is undeniable that Duke University helps define Durham as a whole.  And in being a part of The Voice this semester, I have grown attached to Durham and love every single one of our features highlighting the wonderful people of Durham, and I want to support them in any way possible.

But does supporting Duke help northeast central Durham? Is downtown defined by Duke? Do Durhamites revel in the success of Blue Devils or is there more of an attraction to UNC? It is unique to have two consistently incredible basketball program within ten miles of each other, so is the fandom extremely polarizing? Not being a native, I can’t say for sure what Duke’s influence is on the community and I’m not sure if outsiders, including myself, will ever fully understand Durham’s acceptance, love and hate of Duke University. It is complicated and has been developing for the last hundred years.

For better or for worse, I have Duke going to the Sweet Sixteen. Check out my bracket- sadly my ESPN account isn’t viewable to others until after the second round, so here is my bracket in two screen shots. I would love to see who your bracket and if you want, we can have our very own Durham Voice pool! That’s only if we have a lot of entries, though, so spread the word.

Top Half of the Bracket/Bottom Half of the Bracket

bracket1 bracket2

By: Allie Barnes

Honorable Mentions

This semester, the Durham Voice has been getting A LOT of love. To say that I’m proud would be an understatement. It’s almost overwhelming. Like I said in my first blog post, I came into Jock’s community journalism class without the slightest idea of his passion and drive to reach and give northeast central Durham, a wonderful place filled with wonderful people, a voice. Five years after the launch of this “lab” newspaper, we’ve reached beyond the this small corner of North Carolina.

DVblogThe semester for our new group of Durham Voice journalists started on January 9th. Six weeks later, (SIX WEEKS guys- that’s only about 42 days!) we were prominently featured in the News and Observer. Executive Editor John Drescher wrote it, and it was lovely piece, describing in detail Jock’s vision, what we students are doing and the type of stories we are working on. That article alone was shared 179 times on Facebook and was tweeted 77 times. That’s incredible! Since the News and Observer has such a large readership base, it truly made me fee like we reached a larger part of the state, branching out past the communities of Chapel Hill and Durham. We said we were going to burst that college bubble, and we did! I thought that was going to be the highlight of the semester.

Then, yesterday, we were mentioned in a Daily Tar Heel article. It was just a mention- no details, no summary, nothing like that. It isn’t even comparable to the News and Observer piece. Yet, I was just as thrilled. The love we received from the DTH meant that all of the students were exposed to our goal and knew that we existed. Passion may be kindled in a few students who may be able to take the Durham Voice to places we’ve never dreamed. Progress, progress, progress. I really didn’t think we could have much better press, at least not this semester.

DVblog2And then, today happened. We were featured in the Huffington Post. THE HUFFINGTON POST. I was floored. The article, of course, centered around the anniversary of former UNC-CH student body president Eve Carson. But out of all the programs that were inspired from Eve and her death, they chose to highlight us. We have a whole paragraph and a direct link to our site! The HuffPost is a national publication, and we’ve potentially reached millions of readers.

In a matter of two weeks, we’ve gone from mainly only reaching our lovely corner of North Carolina to reaching a the entire UNC-CH student body, to the state, to the nation. We’ve also been featured in local blogs, like John Robinson‘s. It’s been a crazy ride. And just think- we’re only halfway through the semester. Where will the next six weeks take us?

By: Allie Barnes

All for one, one for all

You know us- we’re always trying to come up with ideas to expand our publication and help the northeast central Durham community grow and develop in unity. The community is always so lively and full of fun wonderful events that we get to cover, so we got to thinking… why not make a community calendar?

community calendraAnd so that is what we did. Our Community Calendar even has its own tab on our website so that it is easily accessible. It looks good, if you ask me!

Now, of course it is near impossible for us to know all of what is going on in this wonderful little town. Sadly, our school responsibilities keep up inside our college bubble for a lot of the time. To make sure everything is included, we opted to let the calendar be open to anyone. So, if you know of an event for a school, church, restaurant, community center or neighborhood anniversary party, put it on the calendar so that everyone can see. Sometime we’ll even give a shout out on our social media sites to things going on that day, so that the maximum amount of people know. I personally think it’s brilliant.

As you can see from the picture above, our calendar is pretty bare- it’s just begging for more additions. March Madness should apply to more than our local UNC-CH and Duke basketball teams, so have at our calendar. Spread the word- it will only be useful if a lot of people know about it.

Here’s to another wonderful Durham Voice addition!

By: Allie Barnes

We’re all in this together

Andy Bechtel's editing class

Andy Bechtel’s Advanced Editing class

One thing is sure about the Journalism School at UNC-CH– we love working together. In a win/win stroke of brilliance, the articles of the Durham Voice (and Carrboro Commons) are edited by Professor Andy Bechtel’s Advanced Editing class (JOMC 457).

“It’s a great chance for student editors to work on stories reported and written by their fellow students in the [Journalism] school. It also allows the students to learn a lot about the communities we’re covering,” Prof. Bechtel says.

Professor Bechtel has been working with Professor Lauterer since 2007 when his class began editing articles for the Carrboro Commons, in what he deems a “natural collaboration”. Originally the Advanced Editing class only worked with the Carrboro Commons content, but they eventually (and thankfully!) took on the Durham Voice as well. But the editing class doesn’t stop at editing- each story is also formed into a cohesive, printable package. Now, readers can easily print out a story or two and put it on their refrigerator. Can I say perfect?

It’s undeniable that the Advanced Editing class plays an essential role in making the Durham Voice what it is. To Prof. Bechtel and the gang- thank you so much for all that you for us.

In the photo

Seated, from left to right: Michael Lananna, Jordan Moses, Tyler Confoy, Melissa Tolentino, Ben Swanson, Kinsey Sullivan, Sarah Sessoms

Standing, from left to right: Zach Potter, Lindsay Sebastian, Laurie Beth Harris, Andy Bechtel, Kelly Parsons, Brooke Pryor, Rebecca Dudley, Alexa Burrell, Andrew Murray

By: Alyssandra Barnes

It’s a new dawn- meet the new staff!

I signed up for Community Journalism because I wanted it to be one of my classes during my senior year at UNC-Chapel Hill, and boy, I really didn’t know what I was in for. When Professor Jock Lauterer started speaking to the class about local journalism and reaching the community, his excitement and enthusiasm was almost stifling it was so contagious. I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t that. By the end of the class, though, the class was sold, and on a cold day in early January, 15 students started a journey to go beyond the college bubble of Chapel Hill. Our classroom is in charge of two community newspapers, the Carrboro Commons and the Durham Voice.

Like usual, the Durham Voice is now in the hands of a new staff. About every about four months, the publication is run by an entirely new set of students with different visions, skill sets and aspirations. But each semester the students have the central goal to shed light on the communities that deserved to be bragged on. As we begin regularly publishing stories and pictures, we are turning over a new leaf, each of us hopeful that we will be as good, if not better. We have just as much heart as the previous staffs.

While this blog is dedicated to the Northeast Central Durham and the Durham Voice, I wanted to give a shout out to the entire class and the staffs of each publication. We students are exclusively dedicated to our publication- everyone helps each other with story ideas, artwork suggestions and potential sources. We are all in this together, striving to become stronger journalists and to give the towns the attention they deserve.

So, without further ado, I present the 2013 Spring Semester staff of the Durham Voice and Carrboro Commons.


Cammie Bellamy

Cammie Bellamy

Cammie is a junior journalism and mass communication major at UNC-Chapel Hill. This semester, she is serving as co-editor of the Durham VOICE. She also works as assistant city desk editor at The Daily Tar Heel and is an intern at the Carolina Alumni Review. Born and raised in Chapel Hill, Cammie loves reporting on people and happenings in her home region.

Brian Fanney

Brian Fanney

My name is Brian Fanney and I’m a junior journalism and information science double major working for the Durham VOICE. I’ve worked as an assistant city editor for The Daily Tar Heel  and a general assignment reporter for The Frederick News-Post. I will be working for the business desk of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this summer. Besides journalism, I’m interested in computers and technology and worked as a lab technician for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD. I enjoy working on cars and rebuilt the engine in my Pontiac Firebird last summer.


Elizabeth Byrum

I’m Elizabeth Byrum and I am currently a senior studying journalism, global studies and Spanish. I was born in Durham and raised in Raleigh, but as the arts editor for the Durham VOICE, I am excited to make a return to my birthplace. In addition to the VOICE, I am the assistant Diversions editor at The Daily Tar Heel as well as a contributing blogger for Let’s Go travel. Finally, I am passionate about the Spanish language and have been greatly involved with the Latino community of the Triangle, primarily as an ESL tutor. Aside from writing, a few of my favorite things include traveling, frequenting coffee shops and eating breakfast for dinner.

Anna Starnes

Anna Starnes

My name is Anna Starnes and I am a junior majoring in journalism and history at UNC-Chapel Hill. I am a reporter for The Durham VOICE and an intern for Reese News, a multimedia news organization run through the journalism school. I studied abroad last semester so it’s exciting to be back and meeting the incredible people of Durham.
Caitlin Owens

Caitlin Owens

To start with the easy stuff, I am a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from Tampa, Florida. I’m double-majoring in journalism and global studies. After freelancing for the Durham VOICE last semester, I am now the VOICE’s chief investigative reporter. I’m also a member of the Living Galapagos multimedia project and worked as a communications intern last summer with a nonprofit in Kenya. I also have served as a volunteer Young Life leader for the past two years.  I think the link between all of my interests and activities is a passion for people. I strongly believe in the value of people’s stories, whether it be people living in refugee camps in Kenya, the community of Northeast Central Durham or the reader of this blog. Everyone has a story to tell.
Marissa Peterson

Marissa Peterson

I am a senior Communications major, with a concentration in Media Production as well as a staff writer and photographer for the Durham Voice. With an interest in anything that has to do with media and people, I have been trying to find my niche in the media production industry for the last few years. Hopefully my name will be printed in papers or scrolling down a big screen in the near future.
Melanie Johnson

Melanie Johnson

My name is Melanie, and I am a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, studying journalism and dramatic art. I write for the Durham VOICE, serving the people of Northeast Central Durham. I have also written for the UNC start-up magazine wabi sabi, a publication that relates and empowers the experiences of people with disabilities. I live for telling stories, making art and talking to people of all walks of life. I love traveling and exploring, and if it’s got anything to do with the arts, kids, animals or Meryl Streep, I’m all over it!
Alyssandra Barnes

Alyssandra Barnes

My name is Alyssandra Barnes and I’m the Social Media editor of the Durham Voice this semester. I’m a senior, majoring in Journalism and minoring in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m the Editor in Chief of RIVAL magazine, a UNC-Duke joint student publication and am a regular contributor to Equally Wed, a same-sex wedding magazine. I love traveling and will do almost anything once, which is probably why I want to be a travel-adventure journalist after I graduate, hopefully working for a publication like Travel Weekly or Outdoor Magazine.


Morgan Johnson

Morgan Johnson

My name is Morgan Leigh Johnson and I am a Sophomore, Journalism and Mass Communication major at UNC Chapel Hill. I enjoy multimedia, lifestyle writing, and reporting. I am interested in finding the most creative ways to distribute information through multimedia journalism. I am the staff writer/reporter at reesenews.org, writing and producing creative, innovative journalism for UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I am also an intern at Shannon Media with Chapel Hill Magazine/The Weekly and a reporter with the Carrboro Commons. Visit my website at morganleighjohnson.com.

Sarah Hoehn

Sarah Hoehn

Hey y’all! My name is Sarah Hoehn and I am a junior at UNC-CH, majoring in journalism and public relations, with a minor in religious studies. Charlotte is the town that I call home, but here in Chapel Hill, I live and work within the thriving community of Carrboro. Some of my favorite things include: coffee, natural lighting, good pens, new journals and wool socks.


Faima Ramirez

I’m a junior, journalism major writing for the Carrboro Commons this semester. This is my first time working for print publications but I had the chance to intern with a radio broadcast in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was born in Germany, but grew up on a small Spanish island, Gran Canaria off the coast of Morocco. When I grow up, I want to write a book based on people I meet on my journeys around the world.

Dorthy Irwin

Dorthy Irwin

I’m a senior from Charlotte, N.C. majoring in Journalism and Religious Studies. This semester I’m writing for the Carrboro Commons. I’m particularly interested in poverty and social justice issues, and I hope to incorporate that passion into my future career. I also love the mountains, hiking and Carolina basketball!

Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown

I’m a sophomore majoring in journalism and Engligh and am co-editor for the Carrboro Commons. I’m currently a State & National desk staff writer for The Daily Tar Heel and the Equestrian Correspondent for The Pilot (Southern Pines, N.C.). I rode horses for 13 years before I came to UNC, and since then I’ve been bitten by the distance running bug — I tend to put words like “fun” and “half marathon” in the same sentence. I’m also an avid lover of politics and college/professional sports. And, of course, community newspapers.

Zach Freshwater

Zach Freshwater

My name is Zach Freshwater, and I’m a junior at UNC from Mooresville, N.C. I’m studying journalism and political science and I’m also a staff writer for The Daily Tar Heel. I love to read, write, nap, run, and watch TV (I watch a lot of TV). My interest in journalism stems from a love for writing and learning. I love that I can start a story knowing next to nothing about a topic, and by the time I finish writing, I have learned about an entire community.

By: Allie Barnes, photos by Jock Lauterer