Since 2004, a group of multimedia students from the University of North Carolina travel to these unique locations with a group of professional coaches to produce a documentary website in a week. Students immerse themselves in the lives of the area’s people, and work 24/7 on a video production that gets publicly screened on the final night. The stories are also published online to continue to provide an intimate cultural record for the public.

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The Great State of Wilkes


In the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, “the Great State of Wilkes” earned its nickname from the massive size of Wilkes County. From the hills and hollows to the towns and cities, the stories of today are as endless as the legends of yesteryear—stories of triumph, tragedy, and the strength of the human spirit.

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Catawba Calling


The town of Hickory, North Carolina winds along the Catawba River nestled at the base of the Appalachian Mountains and is full of rich history, art and culture. Starting off as only a small tavern, the town of Hickory and its surrounding areas have grown to a bustling market, while still preserving their history.

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River Reflections


The Pasquotank River has provided life and leisure to the people of Elizabeth City for hundreds of years. From the heart of downtown to the winding country roads lined by waving crops, Elizabeth City has seen stories that plumb the depths of triumph, tragedy and the human spirit.

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Mountain Lore


The mountains and hollers around Jackson County, North Carolina, have sheltered people for centuries. From Sylva, the county seat, to out-of-the-way backroads, the folks who occupy these mountains have roots as deep as the oldest oaks and stories as big as the tallest peaks.

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Rooted in the Rapids


The Roanoke River Valley runs along the northern border of North Carolina and embodies a history and culture as varied as its landscape. The area holds countless stories—of struggle and triumph, enduing and caring

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Edge of the Sound


From farmland to swamps, the lowlands along the southwestern edge of North Carolina’s Albemarle Sound share a rich history and a fascinating human landscape. One of North Carolina’s most beautiful areas, this region boasts a multitude of stories—of hope and caring, survival and family.

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Heart of the High Country


Boasting tall mountains and taller tales, the High Country region in North Carolina has inspired a rare breed of characters, from rugged individualists to society queens. In between lies a rich vein of history—how this beautiful, rugged landscape shaped communities, and how people worked the land to make it their own.

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Port City Stories


Rising from the banks of the Cape Fear River, Wilmington, North Carolina holds a rich past with a dynamic present. Since British colonists raised the town in the 1700s, its prominence as a major port shaped the lives of its varied residents and our nation. Today Wilmington boasts a vibrant culture full of fascinating characters—from ghosts to skaters, dancers to fishermen.

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For five days in April, fifteen photojournalism students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill explored the varied culture of Highlands, NC, through their own lenses. Students worked daily with seasoned editors brought in from various newspapers in the Southeast.

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