Northeast Central Durham community news project marks first anniversary with growing support

NECD Community VOICEA newspaper and website for residents of Northeast Central Durham is beginning its second year of operation, thanks to a growing coalition of sponsors and community partners.

The Northeast Central Durham Community Voice newspaper and website provide neighborhood news, information and features for area residents.  The latest monthly print version of the Voice will be distributed to schools, offices, convenience stores, churches and businesses throughout Durham on Feb. 11. The website is durhamvoice.org.

Last year Capitol Broadcasting Co. (CBC) of Raleigh made a three-year, $15,000 grant to the Voice, and N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Durham gave $1,500. Other donors, including the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Scientific Properties, Wolf Camera, Time Warner Cable and The Daily Tar Heel, made gifts to support office space, printing, outreach events and stipends for the Voice’s teen reporters.

The Voice was launched in 2009 through a partnership between the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, N.C. Central University’s journalism program, the city of Durham and local civic, educational and church leaders. Its mission is to mentor community youth, encourage civic engagement and build leadership, writing, photography, technology skills. The program serves as a living classroom in which journalism students from UNC and NCCU contribute content and coach the youth staff to expand their education and career options.

The original staff of reporters, editors and photographers for the Voice was recruited through partnerships with the Salvation Army Boys’ and Girls’ Club, SeeSaw Studio and Seeds in Durham.

The Voice now collaborates with Union Independent School, a charter school in Northeast Central Durham, offering photo lessons and mentoring to students as young as 8 years old. Voice staffers are also mentoring 54 11th grade African-American males at the school’s Saturday Academy in a program that develops academic and social skills for college bound students.

The Voice is led by UNC journalism faculty member Jock Lauterer and N.C. Central faculty Bruce DePyssler and Lisa Paulin. They envision the Voice as a non-commercial media outlet supported by business, private and public donations, similar to the business model of National Public Radio.

For more information on the Voice, including opportunities to support or volunteer in the program, contact Jock Lauterer at jock@email.unc.edu or 919.962.6421.