The stories that captured your attention in 2021
This past year was an eventful one. Between developments around the pandemic, racial justice, redistricting, education, sports, and more, WUNC journalists tracked the stories that mattered to our audience.
Across the country, monuments to the Confederacy kept falling, and a spotlight on racial injustices and police violence remained. The nation turned its attention to North Carolina a few times – from the killing of Andrew Brown Jr., to coverage about gerrymandering and redistricting in the state, to the retirement of longtime Tar Heels’ head coach Roy Williams.
Some of you were struck by our podcast episodes, on topics ranging from why some faculty of color were leaving UNC-Chapel Hill, similarities between Nikole Hannah-Jones and Pauli Murray’s battle with the school, and Embodied’s installment on couples who stay together despite being separated by prison walls.
With the year coming to a close, we’re looking back on WUNC-produced stories that captured your attention, according to our data. Here is a selection of the stories that were our most-read in 2021.
“The Leandro case dates back to 1994 when families and school boards in five low-wealth counties sued the state of North Carolina arguing that their children's educational opportunities were not the same as children in wealthier districts.”
“The state budget Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Thursday spends hundreds of millions of dollars to increase educator pay and compensation over the next two years.”
“She signed a contract to start work as a professor in the journalism school this week but has said subsequently she will not accept the position without tenure.”
“Chaos is about the only thing I can say. I know that's a horrible word to use for hospital. But right now there's a high level of stress. There's a lot of anxiety from the staff. People are tired.”
“But for many vaccinated people, images of crowded emergency rooms have invoked anger. Some would like to see people who have been vaccinated and wearing masks get priority medical treatment at hospitals. They say just as hospitals routinely triage patients, why not include vaccination status as one of the factors in that triage?”
“Baird was the subject of criticism because it was revealed in the Athletic story that players contacted the commissioner directly earlier this year with their concerns about Riley.”
“Coach K’s retirement announcement comes just two months after his longtime local rival – UNC’s Roy Williams – announced his retirement after 33 seasons on the job. Krzyzewski, 74, has been the head coach of men’s basketball at Duke since 1980.”
“In Sampson County, frequent hog sightings and significant crop damage have prompted federal and local government groups to launch a new pilot project to tackle the problem in the area.”
“It’s dark, slimy, and one of the world’s worst invasive species. And it might be in your leaf litter.”
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“I like to be remembered as someone who helped somebody along the way. I like pioneer, trailblazer, you know? For me, I like those terms."
“The proposed spending plan is $25.9 billion, which represents a little more than a 4% increase compared to current spending levels. It includes raises and bonuses for nearly all state employees.”
“Wright’s mother couldn’t know that it would take 77 years for his remains to come home – and after stops in a French river, two graves in Luxembourg, and years in a Nebraska military identification lab. It took help from a gifted amateur historian. And a big measure of luck.”