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.

Sample voting machines. North Carolina elections officials are deciding which voting machines are cleared to use the state.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Updated at 4:25 p.m. | Aug. 23, 2019

The North Carolina Board of Elections will not require county boards to use paper ballots in upcoming elections.

Marena Groll, co-president of the ERA-NC Alliance, at the lectern, speaking in favor of passing the Equal Rights Amendment.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Advocacy groups seeking to have the Equal Rights Amendment passed in North Carolina launched a publicity campaign Thursday.

The ERA would enshrine equal rights for women and men in the United States Constitution. The movement toward a Constitutional Amendment launched nearly 100 years ago, but only 37 of the required 38 states have ratified the measure. The ERA-NC Alliance wants North Carolina to be the state to push it over the top.

PNC Arena is in line for enhancement projects if the Raleigh City Council and Wake County Board of Commissioners can come to an agreement.
Centennial Authority / hok/ratio

Those in support of millions of dollars worth of enhancement projects to PNC Arena and other facilities will have to keep the champagne on ice. At least for now.

A rendering of the proposed enhancements for PNC Arena.
Centennial Authority / hok/ratio

Wake County commissioners approved a plan that re-allocates close to $50 million to tourism-related projects in the county per year.

Most of the money subsidizes the Raleigh Convention Center, but there are other tourism related projects as well, notably PNC Arena, which is in line to receive $9 million per year for the next 25 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a campaign to educate parents about vaccinations.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Fresh-faced Kindergartners entering school this year will almost certainly be surrounded by a higher percentage of peers whose parents have actively avoided obtaining their vaccinations.

Across the state, numbers of unvaccinated children have been creeping up. While numbers for the 2019-20 school year won't be available for months, looking at data for the past eight years suggests the trend is not likely to reverse.

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell relented in his fight with the state's major hospitals to lower costs and increase transparency.

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Monday night at midnight is the new deadline for doctors and hospitals to sign on to the refined State Health Plan. Those that don't would go out of network, leaving the more than 700,000 North Carolinians on the plan to stare at potentially significantly larger hospital bills in 2020.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services headquarters at Dorothea Dix in Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Hundreds of families with children with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities will soon receive robust help from the state.

Lawmakers have approved an expansion to the Innovations Waiver program, which pays for services that help families and individuals with IDD.

Dr. Joanne Fruth of Avance Primary Care at the Oberlin Road office.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Dr. Joanne Fruth knocked on the exam room door and walked in with a warm smile on her face.

"Hi Jamie, it's Doctor Fruth, it's so good to see you," she said. "So you're here for a wellness visit?"

Soy farmers have been hit particularly hard by the trade war.
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Twitter

The tariff war between The White House and Beijing has hurt North Carolina farmers. Even farmers who support President Donald Trump's tactic on trade will say as much.

Now, the federal government is trying to make impacted farmers whole.

The highest paid presidents of private universities in the nation in 2016.
Chronicle of Higher Education

High Point University President Nido Qubein was once again the highest paid leader of a college or university in North Carolina.

Companies like IBM use skilled international workers through the H-1B program. But under the Trump Administration, employers have had to jump through more hoops to make hires.

Under the Trump Administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has thrown sand in the gears of a program designed to provide high tech companies with the skilled labor they need. The intention from USCIS is to implement President Donald Trump's Buy American and Hire American executive order, but the effect for employers has been to make it more difficult to find qualified skilled labor.

N.C. State Wolfpack fans at Carter-Finley Stadium

It's common to see North Carolina State fans head for the parking lot during halftime of Wolfpack games at Carter Finley stadium. They're leaving for their tailgate parties to refill their drinks of choice, because alcohol sales were forbidden by state law at college athletic event.

A beach public access entrance at Wrightsville Beach
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

A new study from an environmental advocacy group estimates North Carolina will face $35 billion in costs by 2040 to protect its coastal communities from rising seas.

Durham Regional Hospital
Duke Medecine

North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell is playing a massive game of chicken with every hospital in the state and more than a few doctors and provider practices.

Tayloe estimates that about thirty or forty percent of patients at the Coastal Children's Clinic in New Bern are on Medicaid. And research from the Brookings Institute shows that 48 percent of kids from low-income families are ready for kindergarten, comp
Lisa Philip / WUNC

A new study found that expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would not only provide health insurance to 634,000 people, it would also create some 37,000 new jobs and increase business activity by close to $12 billion.

The figures come from researchers at The George Washington University with funding from Cone Health Foundation and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

The gerrymandered North Carolina Congressional district map
North Carolina General Assembly

In a 5-4 decision along traditional conservative-liberal ideological lines, the Supreme Court ruled that partisan redistricting is a political question, not reviewable by federal courts, and can't judge if extreme gerrymandering violates the constitution.

Rendering of the proposed Downtown South development in south Raleigh.
Downtown South / Gensler

Professional soccer club owner Steve Malik and Raleigh mega-developer John Kane publicly unveiled their plans for a nearly $2 billion project that would bring a 20,000-seat soccer stadium, 1.6 million square feet of office space, 750 residential apartments and 1,200 hotel rooms to a 55-acre plot in south Raleigh.

Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Wake County officials are urging private well owners in the eastern half of the county to test their water.

Photo of prescription bottle and pils
Eric Norriss / Flickr Creative Commons

In addition to its harmful impacts on families, the opioid epidemic has hurt the labor force. But a bright spot finds the negative effects on businesses can be reversed in areas with the political appetite for action.

Satellite view of the contiguous United States
National Centers for Environmental Information / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Orange County is set to levy a quarter-cent tax on property owners specifically to fight the effects of climate change.

Terry Helvie outside of her rental in Hamlet. She stayed there with her children while her house was being repaired.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC


Goose Creek Island is no more than 9 square miles. It's reachable only by a small bridge over a narrow offshoot of the Pamlico River. The island is dotted with only a few homes. But that's a good thing for Terry Helvie who lives on the island with her two adult children. Both her son and daughter have developmental disabilities. Her son Logan can make a racket at times, but that's OK on the sparsely populated island.

Image taken after a gas explosion in downtown Durham.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The deadly explosion in downtown Durham earlier this month happened after a digging crew hit a natural gas line, leaving the combustible gas to fill at least one building.

The rubble after an explosion destroyed the downtown Durham building.
City of Durham

Exactly 58 minutes before a deadly explosion in downtown Durham, a driver called emergency personnel with the alert of a "very strong gas smell."

Kong Lee and his children, Diana and Raymond, in a photo posted to the Kaffeinate Instagram.

The children of Kong Lee remembered their father as having "the biggest, purest heart out of anyone we know."

The rubble after an explosion destroyed the downtown Durham building.
City of Durham

The coffee shop owner killed in a North Carolina gas line explosion was last seen in the doorway of his business after firefighters evacuated his customers and told him to leave, as well, the fire chief said Thursday.

A picture of the fire posted to the Campbell University Twitter feed.
Campbell University

A fire broke out at a construction site on Campbell University's campus in Buies Creek Thursday.

Firefighters contained the flames and there were no injuries reported.

Marie, the Coquerel's sifaka born at Duke Lemur Center.
Duke Lemur Center

The Duke Lemur Center welcomed its first birth of 2019.

Firefighters surveyed the collapsed building in downtown Durham on Wednesday.
City of Durham

The injury count from Wednesday's explosion in downtown Durham that killed coffee shop owner Kong Lee increased to 16 civilians and nine firefighters, officials said Thursday morning. In addition, 15 buildings were determined to have sustained some damage.

Nick Knittel

Durham police and fire officials confirmed one fatality from a gas explosion in downtown Durham that destroyed one building and severely damaged four others.