Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Living history in North Carolina

If you missed this link on Romenesko today, E&P reported on an ambitious joint effort over the past week by The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer of Raleigh.

We teamed up to produce a 16-page tab section, published Friday in both papers and the Wilmington Star-News, and additional reporting on what's known as the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot, a long-buried chapter on the successful white supremacy movement in North Carolina whose champions included both our newspapers. Josephus Daniels, who bought The N&O in 1894, was one of the leading architects of the Democratic Party's campaign to seize back control from a coalition of Republicans and Populists. The 1898 story has become a current event in North Carolina because of the publication of a 500-page report by a state commission, released this year. Among the commission's recommendations: that newspapers in the state acknowledge their role. We had considered a special section before the final report came out, but the recommendation cemented the notion.

Because of the newspapers' role in this history, we hired an outside writer to do the main piece (author and historian Tim Tyson), The Observer's Eric Frazier tracked down descendants of black and white participants in the 1898 events and both papers did supplemental stories. The E&P piece focuses on the editorial page apologies that coincided with the news stories. Both The N&O and Observer, which offered the section and a one-page summary to newspapers across North Carolina, are getting numerous requests for additional copies and generally positive comments from readers. A common refrain, even from native North Carolinians: I never knew this.

To see the work on our sites, click the home page links above or go here for The N&O's "Ghosts of 1898" page.

1 comment:

  1. I'm incredibly proud of both these newspapers for the way they approached and executed this project. It's all been done in the very best spirit of public service journalism. Do take a look.