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The Stories That Captured Your Attention In 2020

Graphic Natalie Dudas-Thomas

2020 was a year like no other, with the headlines and news stories to match. Between a global pandemic, the U.S. election, and protests following the killing of George Floyd, there was an abundance of critical coverage to follow. To mark the end of this tumultuous time, we’re revisiting the stories that captured your attention in 2020. Many of you were struck by a frank conversation between a Black anti-racist educator and her young son, you learned about how evictions continued in some North Carolina counties in the midst of the pandemic, and you caught up with everything you needed to know about voting in North Carolina ahead of Election Day. 

Top coronavirus stories

American With Coronavirus Dies At Hospital Near Center Of Epidemic

Medical staffs sterilize the main building of Jinyintan Hospital on Jan. 22 in Wuhan, China. A 60-year-old who died at the hospital on Thursday is the first American known to have died after being infected by the coronavirus.

Published: 2/8/2020

"It's the first known American death from the outbreak, which has been declared an emergency by the World Health Organization."

Former Lottery Host At WRAL Claims She Was Unjustly Fired

Credit Leoneda Inge / WUNC
Emelia Cowans-Taylor standing in front of her home in Raleigh. She was fired from WRAL as a lottery host last month.

By: Leoneda Inge, WUNC
Published: 9/21/2020

"A COVID-19-related workplace dispute is brewing between a former lottery host and Raleigh-based television station WRAL."

Evictions Continue In Some NC Counties Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Credit Creative Commons
Creative Commons
A legal quandary has left North Carolina sheriffs to decide for themselves whether to force people from their homes amid a public health crisis.

By: Rusty Jacobs, WUNC
Published: 3/26/2020

"Even as the number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina climbs – and local governments begin issuing stay-at-home orders to contain further spread of the pathogen – evictions continue in some counties." 

Top stories on race, protests, police

A Mother And Son Reflect On Being An Anti-Racist Family

Ronda Taylor Bullock and her nine-year-old son Zion talk about issues of racism and their involvement in the movement calling for change in the U.S. in the wake of recent killings of black people.
Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC
Ronda Taylor Bullock and her nine-year-old son Zion talk about issues of racism and their involvement in the movement calling for change in the U.S. in the wake of recent killings of black people.

By: Liz Schlemmer, WUNC
Published: 7/20/2020

"It's a little rough being a kid right now, especially during this time, because I always feel like something's watching me. And it's about to shoot me... I just feel scared." 

New Raleigh Police Unit Will Send Social Workers To Certain Calls

Credit Credit PDpolicecars, via Flickr /

By: Will Michaels, WUNC
Published: 8/20/2020

"The unit includes a detective, three officers and three social workers who could field requests for assistance in mental health crises or issues involving homelessness."

Activists See Shades Of 1870 Lynching In Alamance Today

Protesters in downtown Graham on July 12, 2020. Among other demands, they wanted the Confederate monument in front of the courthouse removed.
Credit Jason deBruyn / WUNC
Protesters in downtown Graham on July 12, 2020. Among other demands, they wanted the Confederate monument in front of the courthouse removed.

By: Naomi Prioleau and Jason deBruyn, WUNC
Published: 9/3/2020

"Protesters are drenched with sweat as they make the mile-and-a-half walk from Burlington to Graham on a hot July day.

These Black Lives Matter protesters are heading to the town square where they’re greeted with insults and Confederate flags from a group of mainly white counter protesters." 

<b><b><b><b>Top election stories </b></b></b></b>

#NC11: Cawthorn Takes A Hard-Right Turn


By: Tom Fiedler and AVL Watchdog, BPR
Published: 8/10/2020

"Charismatic, telegenic, social media-savvy and deeply rooted in the region, the Hendersonville native reveled in the national news reports that, if elected, he would become one of the youngest people ever sent to Congress and a bridge to his party's future."

NC Voter Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Early Voting, Mail-In Ballots

Credit Natalie Dudas-Thomas / WUNC

By: Rusty Jacobs and Mitchell Northam, WUNC
Published: 9/9/2020

"The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted legislation to ease absentee-by-mail voting this year and to make polls safer for in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic."

<b><b><b><b>More top stories </b></b></b></b>

PHOTOS: What A Partial Reopening Looked Like Across The Triangle 

Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC
Dan Meyer, left, of Raleigh, NC, waits one hour to pick up a Mother's Day brunch on Sunday at Flying Biscuit in Raleigh's Cameron Village.

By: Kate Medley for WUNC
Published: 5/11/2020

"Around the Triangle, people enjoyed state parks and open spaces this weekend, as the state transitioned from a stay-at-home order to Phase 1 of easing of certain COVID-19 restrictions. Officials say they are monitoring data as residents continue to embrace a phased-in reopening of businesses."

The Great Power And Great Responsibility Of Using Psychedelic Medicine

Abundant psilocybin mushrooms growing in a tupperware inside a tidy home
Credit Dana Saxon
These psilocybin mushrooms, which contain the hallucinogenic psilocybin, were grown by Dana Saxon in the Netherlands. She used the mind-altering properties of the mushrooms to help treat her depression.

By: Kaia Findlay and Anita Rao, WUNC
Published: 9/10/2020

"Dana Saxon was diagnosed with depression in 2002. She tried Prozac. She tried therapy. For 15 years, nothing seemed to work.

Finally, after living in the Netherlands for a few years, she decided to try an alternative therapy: magic mushrooms." 

Meet North Carolina National Guard’s First African American, Female Black Hawk Pilot

Jeffries stands in uniform next to a sign that reads 'Lindsey Jefferies NC's First Female African AMerican Black Helicopter Pilot for the NC Army National Guard.'
Credit Courtesy of Lindsey Jefferies
Courtesy of Lindsey Jefferies

By: Dana Terry and Frank Stasio, WUNC
Published: 7/14/2020

"In 2013, Jefferies became the first African American female Black Hawk pilot in the North Carolina Army National Guard. She graduated from UNC and went on to get a master’s degree in counseling from UNC Greensboro. Today, she serves as the medevac detachment commander of North Carolina’s only unit where she helps rescue people from emergencies or disasters."

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