Reflection on the Durham Voice: Expanding My Horizons to Durham

Over the course of nearly two years, I have written extensively for the UNC-Chapel Hill student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, covering anything and everything about Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County. This semester, my journalistic purview expanded to encompass Durham, N.C., which has since become of profound significance to me. The four months I have spent at the Durham Voice, I have been immersed in extensive research and comprehension of the social and political dynamics within the city of Durham, and I will never forget it.

In the pursuit of a political figure to profile throughout their campaign, I decided to follow Sylvester Williams—a distinguished Black pastor seeking the mayoral office in Durham for the fourth consecutive time. Professor Kenney had alluded to potential controversy surrounding Williams’ stance on LGBTQ rights, which sparked my interest and eventually prompted an exploration beyond the conventional confines of a campaign feature.

What started as an ordinary feature of a political campaign, my coverage evolved into a meticulously constructed portfolio focused on the landscape of LGBTQ rights in Durham. My investigative efforts extended to interviewing other pastors and churches in Durham on LGBTQ rights, engaging with influential members of the LGBTQ community occupying positions of power in the state, and highlighting the story of an openly gay man, Elijah King, on his journey to political prominence in Durham.

While my initial expectations were oriented towards coverage of mayoral and city council campaigns for the Durham Voice, I embraced the redirection towards a broader exploration of the Durham community. My first interview with Williams spurred a continuous curiosity about the authentic composition of the people of Durham—their perspectives, feelings, and lived experiences. I am proud that I assumed the role of a communicator, amplifying the voices of those who wield influence and significance in Durham. The value of one’s voice is incredibly important, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have used mine throughout the course of this semester.