Even in the world’s most powerful economy, families are not immune from day to day financial struggle. Since the Census began tracking poverty rates in 1970, the national rate has never dropped below 11.1 percent. Today, 37 million Americans, or 12.6 percent, live under the poverty line. Many more fight to stay just above it. For some, financial woe is temporary — for others it is a lifelong battle. It begs the question: is poverty an inevitable condition in our modern global economy or can we do better?
In spring 2007, 14 journalism students from the University of North Carolina set out to shed light on the topic of economic hardship in our state. For 16 weeks, students immersed themselves in their stories. The result is a revealing and varied cross-section of stories about an immensely important and broad subject that is too often simplified.
Like many states, North Carolina’s economy is transitioning from its agricultural and manufacturing roots to a knowledge-based economy. Unfortunately, the switch from tobacco and textiles to finance and biotechnology has not been seamless. While these stories may only scratch the surface of the subject, we believe that beyond being a superb learning experience for our students, these narrative projects have the power to prompt earnest dialogue about poverty and economic hardship.
Carolina Photojournalism’s documentary project On the Line has been awarded honorable mention honors for Best Multimedia Package in the 2008 Best of Photojournalism contest held by the National Press Photographer’s Association.
The Best of Photojournalism competition, now in its seventh year, is one of the most prestigious and competitive contests in the industry.
Click here to read the judges comments and view other winners.
Congratulations to all the students involved in this wonderful piece of multimedia storytelling: Julia Barker, Kate Lord, Joanne McVerry, Susannah Ray, Maggie Sartin, Traci White, Melissa Williamson, Chris Carmichael, Galen Clarke, Beth Ely, Miranda Harple, Ricky Leung, Kelly Marks, Jonathan Stotts and Crystal Street.