Stories that caught your attention in 2021


This past year has been rich in events. Between developments around the pandemic, racial justice, redistribution, education, sports and more, WUNC reporters followed the stories that mattered to our audience.

Vaccines began to roll out around the world, but the challenges of the pandemic continued as we grappled with deaths and the long-term impact of COVID-19.

Across the country, monuments of Confederation kept falling and the spotlight on racial injustice and police violence remained. The nation has turned its attention to North Carolina a few times – from the murder of Andrew Brown Jr., to the coverage of gerrymandering and redistribution in the state, to the retirement of the longtime head coach. of the Tar Heels, Roy Williams.

Some of you were struck by our podcast episodes, on topics ranging from why certain color schools were leaving UNC-Chapel Hill, the similarities between Nikole Hannah-Jones and Pauli Murray’s battle with the school, and the Emboied episode about couples staying together despite being separated by prison walls.

As the year draws to a close, we look back at the stories produced by WUNC that have caught your attention, according to our data. Here is a selection of the stories that were our most read in 2021.


Judge Orders NC To Spend $ 1.7 Billion More On Public Schools In Leandro Case

“The Leandro case dates back to 1994, when families and school boards in five low-income counties sued the state of North Carolina arguing that their children’s educational opportunities were not the same as those of children from wealthier neighborhoods.

Monday marks the return of in-person teaching to public schools in Wake County.  Students arrive at Davis Drive Elementary for temperature checks and health checks in the carpool lane.

What is in the state budget for the remuneration of teachers and school employees?

“The state budget that Governor Roy Cooper signed into law on Thursday spends hundreds of millions of dollars to increase compensation and compensation for educators over the next two years.”


Alice Vergueiro / Abraji



UNC board to meet on Wednesday amid calls for vote for Nikole Hannah-Jones term

“She signed a contract to start working as a professor at the journalism school this week, but later said she would not take the job without a tenure.”


Joann anderson

UNC Santé Sud-Est


UNC Santé Sud-Est

Joann Anderson is CEO of UNC Health Southeastern in Robeson County

“We are in a dire situation:”

“Chaos is about the only thing I can say. I know that’s a horrible word to use for the hospital. But right now the stress level is high. There is a lot of anxiety on the part of the staff. People are tired.

Wes Martin in the hospital

Jeri martin



Wes Martin at the hospital. Martin has been vaccinated and wears masks regularly, but when he had to go to hospital for an illness unrelated to Covid-19 he had to face long wait times due to Covid-patients. 19 unvaccinated in hospital.

Unvaccinated Covid patients occupy hospital beds. Now vaccinated patients are frustrated

“But for many vaccinated people, the images of crowded emergency rooms aroused anger. Some would like people vaccinated and wearing masks to receive priority medical treatment in hospitals. They say, just as hospitals routinely screen patients, why not include immunization status as one of the factors in that triage? “


The 2020 NWSL Draft

The new 2020 NWSL game ball sits on the League College Draft stage in Baltimore on January 16, 2020.

Commissioner resigns, NWSL postpones games after accusations against former NC Courage coach Paul Riley

“Baird has come under criticism as it was revealed in Athletic’s story that players contacted the commissioner directly earlier this year to express their concerns about Riley.”

Army Duke Basketball

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski waits for the start of an NCAA college basketball game against the Army in Durham, North Carolina on Friday, November 12, 2021.

Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski to retire after next basketball season

Coach K’s retirement announcement comes just two months after longtime local rival – Roy Williams of UNC – announced his retirement after 33 seasons on the job. Krzyzewski, 74, has been the head coach of men’s basketball at Duke since 1980. ”



Laurir Paulik



In Sampson County, frequent sightings of pigs and extensive crop damage prompted federal and local government groups to launch a new pilot project to tackle the problem in the region.

Sampson County new proving ground for feral hog eradication plan

“In Sampson County, frequent sightings of pigs and extensive crop damage prompted federal and local government groups to launch a new pilot project to tackle the problem in the area.


Pierre Gros


The invasive New Guinea flatworm, native to Papua New Guinea, has a dark colored body and a pale stripe on its back.

The predatory New Guinea flatworm is in North Carolina: here’s what you need to know

“It’s dark, slimy, and one of the worst invasive species in the world. And it could be in your leaf litter.

More featured stories

    Sarah Keys Army Soldier

The American army


Public domain, Wikimedia

In 1952, Sarah Keys, a 22-year-old army soldier, was jailed after refusing to cede her seat to a White Marine.

Neglected pioneer: before Rosa Parks, Sarah Keys refused to back down

“I like to be remembered someone who helped someone along the way. I like pioneers, pioneers, you know? For me, I like these terms. “



CN General Assembly

Here’s a breakdown of North Carolina Republicans’ $ 25.9 billion state budget plan.

“The proposed spending plan is $ 25.9 billion, which is an increase of just over 4% from current spending levels. It includes raises and bonuses for almost all state employees. “

    1st Lieutenant James

1st Lt. James “Dick” Wright shown in uniform during WWII.

77 years later, WWII soldier brought home to Robeson County

“Wright’s mother couldn’t have known that it would take 77 years for his remains to return home – and after stops in a French river, two graves in Luxembourg and years in a military identification lab in Nebraska. It took the help of a gifted amateur historian. And a good dose of luck.


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