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Best of 2020: Storytelling

In addition to covering news, 9th Street Journal reporters delivered memorable tales in 2020.

They discovered and developed these pieces while reporting on the pandemic, a dramatic campaign season and always interesting Durham.

In our final Best of 2020 feature, here’s some of our finest storytelling this year:

Flyers as relics

After coronavirus risks cancelled gatherings we still miss in Durham, flyers promoting live events lingered outside a closed shop on Ninth Street. Curious about what organizers and performers did instead, Carmela Guaglianone tracked some down.

Mascot mutual aid

The Durham Bulls were benched this summer, but not mascot Wool E. Bull. Daniela Schneider gave us a glimpse of how busy the local favorite was, from helping get food to needy families to spreading safety advice to people stuck indoors.

McDonald’s forced goodbye

Few have done more good in Durham than TROSA founder Kevin McDonald. The addiction treatment center he founded has offered thousands a shot at recovery. But health issues forced him to let go, Chris Kuo explained.

Sustaining Mass

Unable to worship inside, the Duke Catholic Center relocated services to a parking garage. Everything about Mass was changed and exactly the same, Dryden Quigley and Henry Haggart found.

Protecting the polls

What got the Durham County elections director out the door by 5 am this pandemic? Booming drums, violin swells and electric guitar helped Derek Bowens get moving to keep voting accessible to all, Rebecca Torrence discovered.

Curbside everything

When forced to quarantine after possible coronavirus exposures, Durham residents could still cast ballots this fall. Michaela Towfighi successfully voted curbside, with help from an affidavit and a helper named Kate.

An error’s toll

Residents knew for months that Durham police mistakenly pointed guns at young playmates at an apartment complex. Body camera footage released this fall brought home the terror the boys and their parents endured that day, Charlie Zong and Cameron Oglesby found.

A chosen home

Duke University students come and go, with just a few tagging Durham their new hometown. Ninth Street, and the creative people it attracts, won Rose Wong’s heart.

More than a hashtag

Who is Durham defense lawyer and Twitter sensation T. Greg Toucette? A rascal, a reformer, a crusader for justice and — sometimes — a pain, Chris Kuo shared.

At top: A Polaroid view of a stretch Ninth Street by Rose Wong