The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday September 20th

Looking back at the DTH's coverage of this historic year, over 2,700 stories later

2,760. 

That’s how many articles The Daily Tar Heel published between Mar. 1, 2020, and Mar. 6, 2021. 

Student reporters have watched, investigated and preserved this historic year in the pages of the DTH —from the cancellation of study abroad programs in Italy to quarantine memes to the summer’s protests for racial justice and the University’s fall reopening. 

Using the headlines and summaries of each article the DTH published since last March, we’ve been able to capture what events and topics have caught the attention of the University.

By the first week of March 2020, signs were appearing that COVID-19 was going to be a bigger story than anyone could have imagined. 

Coverage of the Democratic primaries and basketball dropped over the course of March, while the number of articles mentioning COVID-19 increased and kept growing — dominating coverage through the end of the spring 2020 semester. 

As the University transitioned to remote classes and the nation shut down, mentions of online life increased as reporters covered how students were grappling with working from home.

In May 2020, the first COVID-19 semester came to a close, and the DTH began ramping up its summer coverage. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans sparked summer-long protests for racial justice and police reform, including many in Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh.

As the summer wound down and the University prepared to reopen for the fall semester, COVID-19 once again became the top headline. The DTH photographed students and activists holding protests in front of South Building and published the Orange County Health Department’s warnings against an in-person semester

And when COVID-19 clusters exploded across campus, the DTH covered the University’s response and second shutdown.

September and October brought the final sprint of the 2020 election, which reporters on the DTH’s city and state desk covered with voting guides and local candidate interviews. And when Joe Biden was announced as the new president-elect, the DTH was there to capture the Chapel Hill community celebrating in the streets.

By late November, it was clear that even a pandemic could not quash UNC’s enthusiasm for its beloved basketball team, as sports writers tracked the progress of the Tar Heels through a tumultuous season, launching basketball coverage into the headlines week after week.

Guillermo Molero, a sophomore on the city and state desk, said the DTH can serve as a valuable connection to campus life for students — especially first-year students, who may have never set foot in Chapel Hill.

“I think that it’s a really good thing that the DTH is still putting out stories,” Molero said. “Just because we’re in a pandemic doesn’t mean the news (has) stopped. And the DTH hasn't stopped either.”

Methodology

The terms are defined as:

  • COVID-related: COVID-19, coronavirus, virus
  • Pandemic-related: pandemic, outbreak, cases, spread
  • Living Online: virtual, online, remote
  • Cluster: cluster, clusters
  • Vaccine: vaccine, vaccines
  • Reopening & Relief: reopening, return, relief
  • Protests: protest, police, protestors, protestor, race, racism, racial
  • Elections: candidate, candidates, election, elections, votes, ballot
  • Sports
  • Football
  • Basketball

university@dailytarheel.com

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