A project of Democracy Fund

North Carolina Local News Lab Fund Portfolio


The North Carolina Local News Lab Fund works to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to the local news and information they need to make their communities thrive.

Learn about the Fund and how to get involved.

Read more about the grantees and work supported by the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund:

2018

2019: Disaster Relief Information and Engagement Grants

Read more about these grantees

Funded by the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund

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North Carolina Farmworkers Project: Farmworker Disaster Preparedness

The Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) is a statewide coalition of member organizations that addresses barriers faced by farmworkers and their families; the NC Farmworkers’ Project is a member organization and also coordinates the coalition. This project seeks to update and distribute a disaster relief toolkit for farmworker serving organizations; write a report of learnings from farmworkers and advocates including recommendations for change; coordinate emergency information to farmworkers through a bilingual app and online database of migrant labor camps in the state; and design a poster with app information and emergency phone numbers to post at migrant labor camp housing units. Key partners include Code the Dream, RAD, and the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry. 

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center: “Florence: Wake-Up Call for Down East Carteret County”

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center is a museum and cultural center located on Harkers Island in Carteret County, North Carolina. This project seeks to conduct a communications assessment regarding the information needs of 13 unincorporated villages (“Down East”) through a series of interviews, surveys, and community conversations in the wake of hurricane Florence and in preparation of storms to come. Key partners include NC Sea Grant, Duke Lab, local emergency management agencies, community fire & rescue teams, local schools and churches along with other community leaders.

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Lenoir Community College Foundation: Jones County Chat, “Engaging, Informing, Advancing”

As a recommendation of Lenoir Community College (LCC) Jones County Center’s Advisory Committee, Jones County Chat was created in January 2019 as one means of engaging, informing and advancing communication about events and happenings in Jones County. The need for more dialogue and disaster information became extremely evident in conjunction with Hurricane Florence. Through sponsorship from Jones County government leadership and Lenoir Community College, a series of informal talk shows with community leaders via Facebook Live programming was established.  The original programming was in cooperation with a professional local news group. The new project aims to continue to improve and expand the chats with the purchase of new equipment for programming as well as for training videographers and editors for the show.  In addition, the project will work toward Spanish translations/translators for the chat live presentations.

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ISeeChange: Cocreating Community Flood Records and Alert Networks

ISeeChange provides software and mobile apps for communities to collect and share their climate stories, photos, and weather measurements. Their platform combines this real-time quantitative and qualitative data with sensor networks and natural language processing to illustrate local climate trends, support real-time monitoring, and create actionable recommendations for stormwater planning and design. This project aims to engage communities in Eastern North Carolina to aggregate and visualize their flood experiences. That data will inform the locations of five new flood monitoring sensors. Key partners on this project include NC Coastal Review Online, the NC Coastal Federation, and Green Stream.

ISeeChange provides software and mobile apps for communities to collect and share their climate stories, photos, and weather measurements. Their platform combines this real-time quantitative and qualitative data with sensor networks and natural language processing to illustrate local climate trends, support real-time monitoring, and create actionable recommendations for stormwater planning and design. This project aims to engage communities in Eastern North Carolina to aggregate and visualize their flood experiences. That data will inform the locations of five new flood monitoring sensors. Key partners on this project include NC Coastal Review Online, the NC Coastal Federation, and Green Stream.

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Duke University: “The Coming Storm: Storm preparation and recovery in a time of climate change”

Duke University will conduct a day-long workshop on August 14 for journalists, meteorologists, public information officers, policymakers and opinion leaders from North Carolina communities in the paths of past and future storms. The multi-disciplinary convening aims to bridge information gaps between university researchers and vulnerable communities. Partners include Rett Newton, mayor of Beaufort, N.C., community leader Donna Chavis of Lumberton, N.C. and various schools and departments at Duke University, including the Nicholas School of the Environment, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Duke Law.

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Enlace Latino NC

Enlace Latino NC is the only non-partisan, independent, non-profit Spanish-language media outlet in North Carolina. With this project, Enlace will fill a gap in Spanish-language information about safety, health, housing, and economic aid related to recovery from disasters. To fill these gaps, the organizations will carry out three listening sessions with impacted Latino members and families in Sampson county, create a digital resource guide in Spanish that responds to the needs and challenges presented in these sessions, and write articles documenting this process.

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Working Narratives: Flood Zone

Working Narratives’ “Flood Zone” story-gathering podcast will hold roughly a dozen story events spanning four counties: New Hanover County, Columbus County, Pender County, and Brunswick County – which lie in a region with little to no local news coverage – and strategically connect and network isolated rural African-American communities by working directly with them to share their stories. By helping create connections and relationships between these socially and geographically isolated communities, Working Narratives will provide a space for people to gather, build resilience, implement community problem solving and share their stories with the wider network of NC media outlets. Working Narratives fellows will create a podcast series that will air on NC community radio stations and be distributed through various podcasting media channels.

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The News & Observer: “Washed Away: The impact of floods and politics on North Carolina’s most fragile communities”

The News and Observer (N&O) is a Raleigh-based statewide, news organization. The project aims to produce reporting on hurricane recovery accountability in areas where prior reporting has shown preventable water contamination from hog farms. The project will include working with local researchers to test drinking water from private wells, requesting public records, and reporting on efforts to rebuild and revitalize communities. Part of this grant will supplement the Report for America’s reporter salary at the N&O. Report for America will serve as the N&O fiscal sponsor. The reporter hired, Adam Wagner, is from a local Eastern NC paper.

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Funded by the North Carolina Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, in partnership with the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund:

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Black River Health Services: Farmworker Disaster Resilience Plan

Black River Health Services, Inc. is a federally qualified health center look-alike, which provides affordable care for a range of diverse communities in Pender County, North Carolina. Manos Unidas, operating within Black River Health Services, Inc., is a grant-funded farmworker health program, which serves migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the area through health outreach services. In partnership with Manos Unidas, the Farmworker Disaster Resilience Plan has two key components: the first seeks to form and strengthen collaborations with key stakeholders in order to advocate for farmworker’s safety, by providing this target population culturally appropriate resources and information pre and post disaster. Key partners include community and federal entities, such as local nonprofits, clinics, migrant education programs, NC Cooperative Extension members and county emergency management representatives. The second component of the disaster resilience plan is to create and train a group of leaders from within the target population of Spanish-speaking farmworkers. These leaders will become equipped with the skills and knowledge needed in order to disseminate critical information within their own communities during times of disaster.

UNC Center for Public Television: “Before the Storm/Beyond the Storm: Public Media NC Connects Communities During Times of Disaster”

UNC-TV broadcasts across the state and partners with traditionally underserved organizations like HBCU radio stations that provide essential programming for their communities. This project seeks to develop a series of short-form, multiplatform videos on storm preparedness, to provide emergency briefings across multiple channels in times of disaster and to produce short-form field reports after storms to chronicle impact and elevate stories of community resilience. Key partners include state and local government agencies, local and national disaster relief organizations and the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters.

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Support the Port: Health and Wellness Program

Support the Port’s mission is to enhance, cultivate and provide a renewed sense of community ownership and excellence for residents of Wilmington, North Carolina, by working with communities across the city to connect underserved individuals to resources including job training, educational opportunities, arts, and other essential community programs. This project seeks to create a series of health and wellness events over 2019-2020 to teach community members holistic health practices, mental health self-care, emergency preparedness and to provide group counseling sessions. The goal is to help people recover from Florence and build resilience, continue building a database for disseminating critical information during future disasters and provide local media with storytelling opportunities. Key partners include nearby universities, hospitals, city and county health departments, mental healthcare professionals and health, fitness and nutrition providers.

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RAFI – USA (Rural Advancement Foundation International)

The North Carolina arm of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) is an organization based in Pittsboro which supports family farms, farmers, and farming communities. RAFI aims to partner with local organizations serving Lumbee, African-American, and military veteran farmers in seven counties to increase farmer access to information on disaster recovery resources and assistance with input from farmers on how to build such a network. It will also seek to advance media recognition of the major climate-change related challenges facing family farms. Key partners include the a UNC farmer entrepreneurship hub, RAFI’s Farmers of Color Network and Veterans Farm of North Carolina.

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North Carolina Health News: NC Health News/ Coastal Youth Media Proposal

North Carolina Health News (NCHN) is a nonprofit news organization that covers news about health and healthcare statewide. This project aims to find, research, and report 12-15 stories in the wake of disaster recovery in the context of health. NCHN will partner with Coastal Youth Media and Working Narratives to engage local young people and train them on audio equipment to help tell these stories. Other key partners include the Coastal Review Online and possibly other local for-profit media organizations.

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EducationNC: A Force Amplifier for Communities in Need

EducationNC is a collection of nonprofits and initiatives working to expand educational opportunities for all children in North Carolina. They provide citizens and policymakers with nonpartisan reporting on education through a daily online newspaper, EdNC. This project aims to produce a series of multimedia stories about Florence-impacted communities one year after the storm, while also working with communities to assess their information needs and build partnerships to help disseminate information in future times of disaster. Key partners include educators, local school leaders, libraries and community colleges, and larger media outlets to whom the stories will be pitched for co-publication.