Column: In conversation with the city of Durham

Our work is assisted by our sources and by public resources. The Durham Voice is not simply a newspaper; it is a conversation with the city and residents. 


By Corinna Collins

What is community journalism? 

This was the first question Carl Kenney asked when myself and about 20 other students joined the Durham Voice this January. 

I joined the Durham Voice because Carl Kenney told me I could, that my writing and my instincts were strong enough to succeed. I joined the Voice because I had an interest in women’s issues, maternal health and politics. The Voice is a newsroom made up of students relying on personal interest and existing headlines to help generate leads and stories. Most of us are outsiders to the city.

Yet, the Voice has placed a spotlight on water quality in people’s homes. The Voice has walked into public housing and told the stories of its residents. The Voice is telling the stories and feelings of LGBTQ+ youth living in fear as so much of the world turns against them. The Voice has followed elections decided by razor thin margins. The Voice has taken strides to translate stories to reach new readers. The Voice even communicates the roles and views of some of the city’s oldest religious institutions. 

In short, the Voice tells stories. It is not only our job but also our mission. We follow the truth. and we tell stories that matter. Prior to my time in this newsroom, I would not have thought it was possible for a group of relatively inexperienced students to produce such depth of work in such a short time. These writers, my classmates and coworkers, have blown me away. 

However, the Voice doesn’t do this work alone. Our work is assisted by our sources and by public resources. The Durham Voice is not simply a newspaper; it is a conversation with the city and residents. 

Our writers have remained in touch with the sources and subjects of each story, building lasting relationships within the city. Real honest connections are the foundation of our writing. 

This is why I am writing this column: the Voice needs you. This isn’t a help wanted sign; it is not an advertisement. I want to engage in a deeper conversation with this city and its residents. Our newsroom wants you. Send us your thoughts, your feelings, your reactions. Send us comments. Send a letter to the editor. Reader involvement enriches the work we do. No matter how niche, the Durham Voice seeks to tell every story, big and small, that interests this city. 

Durham is a vibrant and diverse city, and it deserves a proper forum. If I have learned one thing, community journalism is a way for the community to connect. 

Edited by Dylan Gentner

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