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Highlights of 2023

Throughout 2023, our student reporters covered stories that others missed, chronicling everything from the rise in seven-figure home sales to the obscure commissions that shape our civic life. Here are a few of our favorites.

–The Editors 

Walk-and-talk videos

When a host of candidates filed to run for City Council, we wondered where they stood on SCAD, crime and other issues. Our student reporters took the candidates on a stroll through downtown and we recorded the exchanges. The resulting “walk-and-talk” videos, produced with our partners at IndyWeek, made for a fun, fresh way to meet the candidates. 

‘Under the Radar’ series

Our student journalists ventured into some unusual places last year – the committees and boards that never get regular news coverage. Our special “Under the Radar” series gave readers an inside peek inside commissions and committees that decide the fate of the city’s dangerous dogs, historic buildings, local parks and more.

Seniors at risk

Last Christmas was a nightmare for residents at J.J. Henderson Senior Apartments — and the memories linger a year later. When the building’s power failed for 35 hours, residents were left in dark apartments. Heart monitors failed. The building’s locks stopped working, leaving residents feeling frightened and insecure. Our reporters had that story and have continued to follow the results, such as the continuing saga of resident Pearlie Williams.

The rise in million-dollar home sales 

Million-dollar home sales were once a rarity in Durham. To find out how much that has changed, our student reporter Lauren Pehlivanian analyzed the numbers and interviewed local realtors. Her interactive graphics show just how much things have changed. 


When she ran for office, former Mayor Elaine O’Neal pledged to battle crime, improve transit and tackle many other issues. How well did she fare in keeping those promises? Reporter Sevana Wenn tracked the results on 23 of the mayor’s campaign promises. 

The herons’ flight 

A group of prehistoric-looking birds scored a victory this year when the City Council voted to permanently protect the heron rookery north of downtown, a rare nesting site for great blue herons and great egrets.

In other news of the wild, let’s not forget the beaver who decided to take a vacation day in downtown Durham, with a dip in the stream at the American Tobacco Campus. 

A final gift of song

Some beautiful moments happen quietly, almost out of sight. That’s the case for the Threshold Singers, who sing at the bedsides of the dying. Gabrielle Lazor profiled the group, who visit people in their final days, bringing the gift of song.