'Next generation of journalists': Durham High School journalism class joins Ida B. Wells Society

Akilah Davis Image
Friday, February 4, 2022
Students at Durham Highschool seek to be next generation of journalist
Students at Durham Highschool seek to be next generation of journalist

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- It is possible that students in Bryan Christopher's Journalism class at Riverside High School are the next generation of journalists. They are learning the art of connecting with readers.

"They're teaching us personal stories so our readers can relate to them and how to get data. It's really cool. Teaching us how to get public records," said student Eden Mae Richman.

The class is the first of its kind in the nation.

It is part of the Ida B. Wells Society investigative journalism junket, which is spearheaded by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones. The mission is to recruit, retain and develop journalists of color. The program has opened the eyes of students like Victoria Alcindor, who is learning how critical meeting deadlines can be.

" I'm working on an investigative story on cultural appropriation," said Alcindor. "To meet a deadline, it is really hard, especially with an investigative story."

Students have bylines in the Pirate's Hook, the school newspaper, and some of their work is published on the website.

They've even taken an interest in Ida B. Wells, the program's namesake, who was born enslaved and became an investigative journalist who led a crusade against lynching through her work.

"She's a huge inspiration and incredible person. Hopefully, they're doing her justice teaching investigative journalism," said Richman.

Students in the program have visited UNC-Chapel Hill's Journalism school where the Ida B. Wells Society is based and holding monthly workshops with local journalists.

"As a member of a diverse community, teaching students in that same community, we need diverse perspectives to cover our diverse communities," said Christopher.

Young journalists are emerging from Christopher's class with a foundation of how to uncover the facts.