Jason deBruyn

Data Reporter

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC data reporter, a position he took in September, 2016.

In the role, Jason investigates story lines hidden in data to uncover untold issues that matter to North Carolinians. He is passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless and using data to shine a light on disenfranchised groups who have been taken advantage of.

Prior to joining WUNC, Jason covered the business of health care and pharmaceuticals for Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, an affiliate of the American City Business Journals network. His reporting roots trace to the Enquirer-Journal, a community newspaper in Monroe, North Carolina.

File photo of rising flood waters brought on by Hurricane Florence that threatened a building off highway 70 in Goldsboro, N.C., Sunday, Sep. 16, 2018.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Inside FEMA's statewide headquarters, workers in khakis, collared shirts and ID badges type away at computers, and work phones.

A thin film of coal ash coats trees and vegetation in an inactive ash basin at the HF Lee plant. As expected, the area was flooded by Hurricane Florence.
c/o Duke Energy

Regulators with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality say their tests on the Neuse River show no elevated levels of dangerous metals in the water.

The results came as a relief to Duke Energy, but were in direct conflict with tests taken by the Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmental advocacy group.

The banks of the Cape Fear River on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.
Courtesy of Waterkeepers Alliance

There's ongoing disagreement about the levels of coal ash in the Cape Fear River near Wilmington. Environmental advocates say they have visibly seen ash, but Duke Energy says its water tests show otherwise.

Rising water from the Cape Fear River engulfs a road in Fayetteville, N.C., Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2018. The Cape Fear River was expected to crest at record levels by Wednesday, several days after the storm departed the area.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Brunswick County health officials confirmed one case of norovirus at a hurricane shelter, and they suspect more.

The confirmed case was reported at the shelter at West Brunswick High. Health officials asked that evacuees find other shelters, including one at South Brunswick High.

John Nemeth stands in front of a flooded road in the River Landing neighborhood of Wallace
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The closest John Nemeth could get to his house was about 200 yards. He had to stand in a neighbor's yard and look across the fourth fairway of his community golf course just to see his house. But the fairway wasn't its normal lush green. Instead, all he could see was the glassy reflection of standing water.

Crews with the NYC Emergency Management perform water rescues in River Bend, N.C., after Hurricane Florence on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.
Courtesy of NYC Emergency Management

Updated at 4:45 p.m.

Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but surges and flooding are expected to continue as it lashes South Carolina, according to the National Weather Service.

Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.
Chuck Burton / AP

Updated 5 p.m. | Sept. 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 105 mph (165 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

A Duke Energy worker restores power after a storm.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy predicted as many as 3 million customers across North and South Carolina could lose power as a results of Hurricane Florence. In response it will deploy 20,000 workers – a service area record – to restore power.

Tuesday morning projections showed Hurricane Florence hitting the North Carolina coast and causing a severe storm surge in several areas.
Coastal Emergency Risk Assessment / ADCIRC storm surge and wave guidance

As Hurricane Florence barrels toward the Carolina coast, experts are warning of its potentially disastrous effects.

The Small family, Jennifer, Braeden, and Warren, in front of their house.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

These days, Warren and Jennifer Small host family get-togethers at their house in south Raleigh.

They look forward to trick-or-treaters. Warren can fish in the pond just beyond their backyard. And they've learned a few bird calls with their young son, Braeden. He already recognizes some of his favorites.

Colavito Tyson is a teacher assistant at Nash-Rocky Mount Schools. She came to the May #Red4Ed march in Raleigh carrying this sign that she says she's had for years, from another educators' march calling for more school funding years ago.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

North Carolina educators have marched in Raleigh repeatedly over the years - and most recently in May - to call for better funding for public schools. While the spotlight is often on teacher pay, the full picture is a lot more complicated.

More Parents Not Vaccinating Their Kids

Aug 30, 2018
Dr. Sam Kohn in his office with staff
Helen Chickering / Blue Ridge Public Radio

On a busy Thursday morning at Asheville Children's Medical Center, Dr. Sam Kohn made the rounds. It was toward the end of summer break, so there were lots of back-to-school check-ups and vaccines on the schedule that day.

Veteran school finance officer Jennifer Bennett of Vance County Schools says she struggles to find ways to pay for technology, after-school programs and field trips to expose her small-town students to experiences that will prepare them for future jobs.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Educators across the state often complain of tight public school budgets that leave something to be desired. Two school finance officers explain what they want most: more flexibility and more funding.

Publix is one company with an employee stock ownership plan.
Mike Kalasnik / Flickr Creative Commons

Publix Supermarkets will add 1,000 jobs at a new distribution facility in Greensboro. The ramp up will take four years and Publix plans to invest $300 million in the project.

This map shows the disparity of premium rate changes for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Affordable Care Act customers
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

In late July, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced it would reduce – on average – the health insurance premiums on Affordable Care Act plans by 4 percent.

This week, many customers learned that doesn't necessarily mean it applies to them.

The Women of the Confederacy monument was a gift to the state by Confederate veteran Col. Ashley Horne, and was unveiled in June 1914. It was the wish of Colonel Horne to recognize the suffering and hardship faced by women during this tragic period.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Updated 12:05 p.m. | August 22, 2018

The North Carolina historical commission has agreed to keep three Confederate monuments on Capitol grounds.

youth football players
Stuart Seeger / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/pPWtH

Chapel Hill High School announced Monday it would not play varsity football this year. Earlier this summer, Ceder Ridge – also in Orange County – announced it would scrap this year's varsity football season as well.

Jason deBruyn / UNC System

Graduations rates are slowly rising in North Carolina's public universities, but disparities remain among each school and their racial demographics. 

About 72 percent of freshmen who started at a UNC System school in 2011 got their degrees within six years, but graduation rates are still significantly lower at institutions with more low-income students and people of color.

Students in the Medical Education Development (MED) Program (left to right) Jazmine Walker, Miguel Vasquez, Gloribel Vanegas, and Joshua Walker prepare to dissect a cadaver at UNC Chapel Hill on July 5, 2018.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Jazmine Walker unzips a blue body bag. A gaggle of students in scrubs and surgical masks surround her. Teams of five crowd around cadavers around the room, about to begin their first dissection of a human body. But these are not medical students − not yet anyway.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

Premiums for the majority Affordable Care Act plans in North Carolina will decrease for the first time in history, but the chief executive of the state's largest health insurer says they would be 15 percent lower if not for actions taken by the Trump Administration.

Raleigh Union Station in downtown Raleigh. The new station opened July 10, 2018. It serves Amtrak customers.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Growth in downtown Raleigh is setting records, and it shows no indication of slowing down.

Through the first half of 2018, $274 million worth of construction projects have been completed. That's the most since 2013, and there are still six months left in the year.

Estimate of how many properties in a five state region have lost value.
First Street Foundation

Due to seal level rise flooding, owners in the Carolinas have lost nearly $1.7 billion in property values since 2005.

Fayetteville Police Department Captain Lars Paul shows a naloxone injectable kit and a naloxone nose spray Fayetteville police use to reverse opioid overdose.
Raul Rubiera / For WUNC

Last year, public attention turned to the opioid crisis for months. Policymakers implemented plans to curb overdoses and providers across the health care spectrum vowed to do their part to stem the crisis.

A cigarette in an ashtray.
Tomasz Sienicki / Wikipedia

The State Health Plan will change vendors for its smoking cessation program.

The plan, which provides health insurance coverage to 727,000 North Carolina public sector teachers, current and former lawmakers, and retirees and their dependents, will switch from QuitlineNC to CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic.

Income trends in North Carolina
Economic Policy Institute

In North Carolina, the average top 1 percent earner takes home more than 20 times what the average earner in the bottom 99 percent earns, according to new research published by the Economic Policy Institute.

Raleigh Union Station in downtown Raleigh. The new station opened July 10, 2018. It serves Amtrak customers.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Jessica Holmes delivered the state of the city and county address at a Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday.

UNC Hospital Surgical Tower
UNC Hospitals / UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care is in the final stages before breaking ground on its new surgical tower on the Chapel Hill campus.

Kristin D. stands in the Bright Spaces room at the Healing Transitions women's campus in Raleigh. Women in the program live on campus for 12 - 18 months and are slowly given greater responsibility, freedom, and trust as they progress through the program.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Kristin walked confidently through the halls of Healing Transitions as she gave a tour on a recent morning.

Carla Hollis, center in black and white dress, CEO of Triangle Springs cuts the ribbon.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Veteran Duke basketball fans will remember the name Marty Clark. He played for the Blue Devils in the early 1990s, including on the back-to-back championship teams of 1991 and 1992.

But after college, things turned for Clark.

Public transit systems, including GoTriangle, will see a funding cut from the state.
Courtesy of GoTriangle

Public transportation systems around the state will see funding cuts largely due to lower motor fuels tax revenue.

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