“Coal a Love Story” by Delphine Andrews

What happens when you take 11 highly talented students from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication and tell them to produce a multimedia news site on energy use in the United States? This year, you get a story about coal. Despite the fact that we rely on electricity for nearly everything we do, few of us are aware of how our electricity is generated. Right now, almost half of the nation’s electricity comes from the burning of coal. It’s not just a rock. It’s power. It’s people. It’s a relationship.

The 2011 team officially launched their Special Report “Coal: A Love Story”  on Friday, July 22.

“Coal: A Love Story” is an interactive film that explores our nation’s dependence on coal.

Using an immersive online experience, the website will challenge the viewer to engage with energy issues in a highly personalized way.

Relationships are complicated. Coal is complicated. Storytelling is complicated. Major issues, such as energy use in this country, do not exist in terms of right or wrong, black or white. The Powering a Nation team hopes to show the grey. They hope to allow viewers to see the issue of coal through the perspective of a person who is different from them and realize they aren’t so different after all. At the end of the day, we are all humans fighting for the same things – love, family, our past, our future.

Powering a Nation is a multimedia news project at UNC-Chapel Hill that is part of News21, a national initiative sponsored by the Carnegie and Knight foundations to innovate the news business. The team is made up of 11 students who are attending or have just graduated from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC.

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