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.

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.

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.

An undated file photo provided by Robert Brown Public Relations of Greg Lindberg.
Robert Brown Public Relations/Greg Lindberg / via AP

Businessman Greg Lindberg arrived on the North Carolina political scene in 2017 with a big fat check book. Previously unknown in political circles, he started making six-figure contributions and landed squarely on the radar of campaigns across the state.

UNC's Coby White stretches before a game.
J.D. Lyon Jr. / GoHeels

The Atlantic Coast Conference saw five member institutions advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2019 NCAA men's basketball tournament. That's good for fans of those teams, of course, but it's also good financially for ACC universities that didn't advance, or didn't even make the tournament at all.

Stormy skies over Duke University's west campus.
Duke Photography

Duke University will pay $112.5 million to settle allegations that university officials knew about fraudulent research in one of its labs and actively concealed the fraud in order to win federal research grants.

Questions Of Consent Can Make NC Sexual Assault Cases Tough To Prosecute

Mar 21, 2019
Donyetta Gilmer, a sexual assault and domestic violence advocate with Shelter Home, consoles a sexual assault survivor during counseling. Shelter Home is based in Lenoir, in Caldwell County.
Robert C. Reed / Hickory Daily Record

Even if a rape case makes it to trial, it can still be tough to convince juries — especially if the perpetrator says it wasn't a crime at all, but a consensual act.

In fact, Cumberland District Attorney Billy West said he believes that "getting a conviction in a sex offense case from a jury of 12 may be the most difficult one to get in our system."

Sexual Assault Cases Hinge On Evidence Gathered By Police, Nurses

Mar 20, 2019
Sherry Shepard and Karen Palm are sexual assault nurse examiners at Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory. Here Shepard and Palm display all of the components in a N.C. State Crime Lab sexual assault evidence collection kit.
Robert C. Reed / Hickory Daily Record

Sometimes the right evidence can make or break a sexual assault case.

Even when that evidence exists forensically or through witness testimony, the right circumstances make a difference, as do solid work by police, rape crisis advocates, medical professionals and prosecutors.

2019 Health Outcomes Ranking.
Robert Wood Johnsong Foundation / University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute

A lack of affordable housing drives down health and keeps North Carolinians in poverty, according to the latest annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Sexual Assault Suspects Face Little Prospect Of Conviction In Some Counties

Mar 19, 2019
Leisa Young, animal assisted therapy consultant and service dog trainer for the Waynesville-based 30th Judicial District Domestic Violence-Sexual Assault Alliance, plays with Raya. The dogs help sexual assault survivors in southwestern North Carolina impr
Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

In 38 counties across North Carolina, zero defendants who were charged with sexual assault between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2018, were convicted of that charge or a reduced charge during that time window, according to analysis of statewide court data by Carolina Public Press.

Analysis: NC Convicts Fewer Than 1 In 4 Sexual Assault Defendants

Mar 18, 2019
Samantha White, of Cumberland County, survived a sexual assault as a teenager in Johnston County. She later testified against her attacker, her church pastor, resulting in his conviction and imprisonment.
Melissa Sue Gerrits / The Fayetteville Observer

Fewer than one in four defendants charged with sexual assault in North Carolina can expect to be convicted of that charge or a related reduced charge, and some parts of the state generate few if any sexual assault convictions, according to Carolina Public Press' analysis of state court data.

The picture is not universal. A few counties have conviction levels well above the state average.

The leaky pipeline report
Carolina Demography / John M. Belk Endowment

North Carolina's public education institutions must improve the pipeline from ninth grade through postsecondary graduation to meet future workforce needs. That's according to a new report from Carolina Demography and the John M. Belk Endowment.

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

The consortium of hospitals that was denied a contract to manage Medicaid beneficiaries has appealed its rejection. The appeal will be considered by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.

Fuqua School of Business Daytime MBA program certificate ceremony
Duke Photography

The total cost to attend Duke University will increase 3.7 percent to more than $73,500.