By Chris Cameron
Chrystall and I were driving across North Carolina a few days ago, hunting down contacts for our story, when we realized, “Hey! UNC is one of the News21 schools too!”
Fast forward to today, and we are having lunch and sitting in on meetings with fellow members of the News21 program. Chrystall and I met up with Sara Peach, Ashley Zammitt, Chris Carmichael, Zach Ferriola-Bruckenstein, Jenn Hueting, and Monica Ulmanu at Pepper’s Pizza in downtown Chapel Hill on the campus of UNC. We chatted about our stories over pizza slices, salads and calzones, and then walked across the campus to their newsroom.
We met the rest of the team, and sat in on a story meeting with Eileen Mignoni, Courtney Woo, Professor Laura Ruel, and others. The UNC team’s focus is energy use and consumption, and this particular meeting was about a story temporarily titled “The Grid,” which deals with America’s energy grid and it’s possible weaknesses when it comes to new types of energy.
As it turns out, sitting in on the meeting was beneficial to both parties. Eileen recently wrote a thesis on some Latino issues, and offered to help us find contacts, and I remembered that the New Media Innovation Lab at ASU had recently produced a “Green Game” on energy saving issues that could come in handy for Eileen’s story. We also put in our two cents when the group was discussing innovative ways to display the story including an idea for an introduction to the package.
The visit was brief, but I believe it was quite valuable. It was certainly interesting to see how the North Carolinians organized their newsroom (with such things as nametags on their respective computers, and a very very detailed daily schedule).
From their closely spaced desks in the subterranean floor of the building, they mentioned their jealously for our wide-open, windowed newsroom:
The ASU Newsroom
But they have one thing we don’t: a dog that quietly roams around and keeps them company while they work.