Congrats to local teens in northeast-central Durham, who have launched an online publication,, with help from UNC and N.C. Central University. The first edition was posted this week with stories about the Durham Police Department’s Operation Bulls-Ey, Samuels and Sons Barbershop and the new Union Independent School, run by Union Baptist Church on North Roxboro and Corporation streets.

Expect a monthly print edition beginning in February 2010.

Here’s the text of the press release:

The journalism programs at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. Central University have partnered with Durham civic and church leaders, volunteers and residents to launch the Northeast Central Durham Community VOICE, a community news publication serving Northeast Central Durham.

The first edition went online Sept. 24 at with neighborhood news, information, photos, videos and features provided by NCCU and UNC journalism students and local teens mentored by students and faculty.

Jock Lauterer, director of the Carolina Community Media Project at the

UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is leading the effort

that began more than year ago as an idea from UNC Department of City and

Regional Planning students looking for ways to revitalize the 300-block

area known as “the bull’s eye” to Durham police and community

development officials for its high incidence of crime.

Lauterer believes that strong community media help strengthen

communities by encouraging a vital civic life and a developing a

positive sense of place. VOICE will be published bi-weekly online

through November and will add a monthly 24-page tabloid print edition in

February 2010. The Daily Tar Heel, UNC’s student newspaper, is covering

the costs of printing 2,000 copies monthly for the first year of

publication. VOICE will be distributed at neighborhood schools, churches

and businesses.

“We want to empower youth to create a single source for local news for

the Northeast Central Durham community,” Lauterer said. “And we hope the

young people putting out the paper will develop the skills to use their

voices effectively in civic discussions while expanding their education

and career options.”

VOICE recruited its youth staff primarily through a series of free,

on-site photography lessons taught at NECD’s Salvation Army Boys’ and

Girls’ Club, Seesaw Studio and the Durham Inner-City Garden.

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation provided early support with a $25,000

grant for computers, cameras and other equipment for the project.

Lauterer is negotiating space for a newsroom in the new Golden Belt

complex, and he is exploring partnership opportunities with the new

Union Independent School in the NECD neighborhood.