Sunday sampler, newsroom diversity edition

The papers in Wilmington, Fayetteville, New Bern, Jacksonville and Kinston, feature a strong column on their front pages by Pam Sander, regional editor of the Gatehouse newspapers in the southeast, about the papers’ efforts to improve their coverage of the communities they serve.

“At all 260 Gannett publications that make up the USA TODAY Network, we have been shifting priorities to better reflect the communities we serve. Our goal: to be at parity with our communities by 2025. This is not an initiative. It’s not a program. It’s another chance to get it right, by being inclusive, better reflecting and involving the communities we serve, listening to their voices, bringing injustices to light and producing change.”

In Burlington, the Times-News is part of the effort and is reporting on the diversity in its newsroom. “For The Times-News to succeed, we must have an inclusive and diverse workplace where employees are valued and feel empowered. We must build and sustain a newsroom that is reflective of the diversity in the communities we report about. Our effort in Burlington hasn’t been good enough.”

Related: “The newsrooms in New Bern, Jacksonville and Kinston are partnering with local groups for an educational and informational session that focus on the needs of diversity communities.”

Wilmington: When David Zucchino was in Chapel Hill to talk about his book “Wilmington’s Lie,” I asked him what the response was when he was in Wilmington on the book tour. He told me that there weren’t enough seats for everyone who wanted to hear him talk about the 1898 coup. The Star-News takes a look at how it is being taught in Wilmington’s schools. “But the classroom remains one place where the troubling but important story of 1898 has struggled to find a dedicated place. There has been success in recent years in carving out instructional time for it at the public education and higher education levels. But hurdles like funding, time, resources and no consistent directive on how to teach it continue to pose persistent challenges to getting it in front of students like Fuller.”

Greensboro: The News & Record reminds us of how far the pandemic’s tentacles reach, in this case to addicts struggling to stay clean and sober. “A month-by-month tally of naloxone doses, the overdose reversal medication, given by Guilford County Emergency Services reveals a startling spike in overdoses between March and April, the same time the pandemic hit — the same time jobs were lost, social isolation began and nearly every facet of everyday life was interrupted.”

Raleigh: In a story close to my heart, the N&O reports on the millions that the pandemic has cost the university system. (I know that adjunct positions are among the first cuts.) “While the coronavirus pandemic is expected to cost the UNC System at least $220 million in lost revenue this semester, universities also spent millions more to get their campuses ready for students on Aug. 10.”

Winston-Salem: I end this dispatch with a good news story from my former student Matthew Audilet in the Journal. It’s the tale of a man given six months to a year to live…and how his love for a woman helps him survive. “Just weeks after the (marriage) proposal, when Nick’s condition was seemingly bleak, things began to turn around. He’s now in stable condition and is expected to survive well past the short time frame his doctors originally set for him.”