A look at our favorite stories of 2021

As 2021 attracts to a detailed, WUNC employees take a look again at the stories that stood out throughout one other outstanding pandemic yr.

WUNC journalists produced sound-rich treks by way of nature, poignant memorials, and taboo-breaking conversations — they usually discovered new methods to attach with sources and listeners as they navigated one other COVID-19 yr. We hope you get pleasure from a range of our favorite stories from 2021.

Secretive Birds Are ‘Canaries In Coal Mines’ For Marshes In Outer Banks

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“My favorite story this yr was one which took me out to Pine Island and Corolla all the best way out in Currituck Sound. I used to be in a position to comply with some of us with the North Carolina Audubon Society as they surveyed secretive marsh birds. … It’s a very essential story, of course, however it was my favorite as a result of there was a lot wealthy sound concerned in that story.”

Jason deBruyn

Yoshi Soto Morales, First NC Child To Die From COVID-19, Lived Life To The Fullest

Cole del Charco, Morning Reporter

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“The household was very type to talk with me and share their reminiscences of their sister of their daughter. And I believe it is a very highly effective testomony to their love for Yoshi that they wished as many individuals as potential to know her story. Yoshi was an unbelievable woman and I hope you’re taking the time to recollect her and the opposite youngsters we have misplaced throughout this pandemic.”

Cole del Charco

No More Vigils: The Call For Sex Worker Protection In The Wake Of Atlanta Shootings

“We talked with Dia Dynasty who’s an Asian American skilled intercourse employee in New York City. And the interview along with her actually sticks with me as a result of she talked about type of what’s lacking from the dialog and the way the deal with policing intercourse work actually drives the business additional underground and actually would not put the human rights and bodily autonomy of intercourse staff at the forefront of the dialog.”

Anita Rao

Anita Rao, Host of Embodied

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Remembering Chris Goeke, A Young U.S. Army Officer Killed In Afghanistan In 2009

Jay Price, Military Reporter

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“My favorite story this yr that I did was about First Lieutenant Chris Goeke, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. And to say that it was my favorite story doesn’t suggest that it was a heat, fuzzy factor. It was simply unspeakably unhappy. … But doing a narrative about him allowed me to determine what it was about Chris that had caught my consideration and gave me an opportunity to speak along with his actually extraordinary circle of family and friends about what it was that made him particular and why they go they work so laborious to attempt to preserve his reminiscence alive.”

Jay Price

Behind The Lines

Jeff Tiberii, Capitol Bureau Chief & Host WUNC Politics Podcast

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“Behind the Lines is a complete look at redistricting in your state and why it issues and the way redistricting has contributed to extremism and American politics. It was lots of enjoyable to do. It was a heavy raise. It was difficult to do. I used to be in the end actually proud of the work that Charlie [Shelton-Ormond] and I did.”

Jeff Tiberii

Yes, Chapel Hill’s Brooklyn Harker is a football player. Get used to it.

Mitchell Northam, Digital News Producer

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“Most stories about ladies taking part in soccer are about them breaking obstacles, however this one was extra about acceptance. Brooklyn’s teammates and coaches in Chapel Hill welcomed her with open arms and put her in the very best place to assist them. … The story can be a few rising pattern. Brooklyn shouldn’t be an anomaly. More younger ladies are taking part in soccer and the haters are simply going to need to get used to it.”

Mitchell Northam

Black Widow

Lindsay Foster Thomas, Content Director

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“There was one episode of one present, particularly, a second the place after I first skilled listening, it actually made me simply sit in my automobile and, and cry like a deep guttural stunning cry. You could have guessed it was all due to the podcast, Great Grief. And the second that I’m considering of is in episode three, Black Widow. When Nnenna [Freelon] first expresses what she felt after her husband, Phil died. … It was the whole lot in her voice, simply the timbre and the tone that actually simply moved me to tears.”

Lindsay Foster Thomas

Hurricane Florence Devastated New Bern Three Years Ago. The City Is Prepping For the Next ‘Big One’

Celeste Gracia, Environment Reporter

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“I’m selecting this as my favorite story of this yr as a result of I used to be in a position to journey and do lots of on the bottom reporting, which is one thing I hadn’t been in a position to do for a very very long time. And earlier than going to New Bern, I did lots of analysis into town’s resiliency plan, simply trying by way of public paperwork and watching public conferences. So there was lots of legwork concerned, however I really feel prefer it actually paid off.”

Celeste Gracia

Fewer Cells, More Solutions

Charlie Shelton-Ormond, Podcast Producer

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“Too typically on this group, individuals are funneled into detainment and incarceration once they want extra sustainable well being care choices for each psychological and bodily well being. The story confirmed it is not a black and white situation of activists versus regulation enforcement. Instead, it seems like many individuals in the neighborhood need to find yourself, you understand, in the identical physique of water, however is perhaps swimming down completely different streams to get there.”

Charlie Shelton-Ormond

Have You Seen This Worm?

Elizabeth Friend, Producer

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“One of my favorite issues I labored on this yr was most likely that first episode of CREEP about these bizarre flatworms. I’ve been obsessive about these Hammerhead flatworms since they first confirmed up in my yard in 2012. I used to be so excited to share this obsession with the world. It was like scratching an itch.”

Elizabeth Friend

Pleasure By Design: The Art And Tech Of Sex Toys

Kaia Findlay, Producer Embodied

“My favorite story from the yr was our one known as Pleasure By Design concerning the artwork and science of intercourse toys. And it was my favorite story as a result of it actually stayed true to our motto of taking over the taboo. I believe I’ve by no means actually seen any content material about intercourse toys earlier than and it was stuff that I had lots of questions on. And our visitors had been actually cool, and it was superior to study expertise and design, but in addition accessibility.”

Kaia Findlay

Community members in Southeast Raleigh find creative solutions to combat food deserts

Kamaya Truitt, Director of Youth Reporting, New Talent and Community Partnerships

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“I loved this piece lots as a result of it was my first actual expertise at solution-based reporting. I imply, I actually felt like I grinded laborious to get all the mandatory voices on the difficulty and the efforts in the neighborhood to fight the meals injustices that they had been coping with — from the youth at southeast Raleigh who had been sustaining a group backyard, to Jessica Peacock and her household group market, all the best way to the council in cost of the zoning Jonathan Melton and his efforts to have interaction the group.”

Kamaya Truitt

Remote Students Across North Carolina Return To School To Take A High Stakes Test

Liz Schlemmer, Education Reporter

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“My favorite story from final yr is definitely a collection of stories that I did between the 2020 and 2021 college yr. … And these stories had been about Lakewood Elementary, in Durham, and the way they had been coping with the pandemic. What I actually beloved about that is that it wasn’t only a collection of stories concerning the issues they had been dealing with, but in addition how they had been actually dealing with them head-on, and taking care of their children, and treating them like entire individuals.”

Liz Schlemmer

Persevering Through The Pandemic: How A Refugee Family Built Community In Greensboro

Naomi Prioleau, Greensboro Reporter

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“One of my favorite stories from this yr was a narrative that I did on a refugee household coping with the pandemic and the refugee cap at the identical time. … I used to be actually completely satisfied to share that story as a result of it simply goes to point out that these items that you just suppose are occurring so distant, ‘Oh refugees, that is occurring some place else,’ — it is occurring in your yard. It’s occurring to somebody that you just perhaps know and you have not actually heard their story.”

Naomi Prioleau

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