Jason deBruyn

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC data reporter, a position he took in September, 2016.

In the role, Jason investigates story lines hidden in data to uncover untold issues that matter to North Carolinians. He passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless and using data to shine a light on disenfranchised groups have been taken advantage of.

Prior to joining WUNC, Jason covered the business of health care and pharmaceuticals for Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, an affiliate of the American City Business Journals network. His reporting roots trace to the Enquirer-Journal, a community newspaper in Monroe, North Carolina.

UNC-Chapel Hill researchers have embarked on what could become the world's largest eating disorders genetic study.

In contrast to the chaotic presidential debate earlier in the week, the third and final face-off between the top contenders in North Carolina's senate race last night was relatively mellow.


Updated at 10:32 a.m. Aug. 29, 2020

Hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Raleigh Friday night to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans. Protesters marched peacefully for about three hours carrying signs with slogans including "Abolish the Police" and "Black Lives Matter."

Across the state, police traffic stops have dropped, but for white drivers they've declined twice as fast as for Black drivers.

Activists in Alamance County are calling for policy overhauls to prevent police brutality, especially against Black people. And another group of protesters want a Confederate monument removed from downtown Graham, the county seat.

Protesters in Raleigh pulled down parts of a Confederate monument Friday night after marching in celebration of Juneteenth.

As North Carolina sees more and more people hospitalized due to COVID-19, doctors at Triangle hospitals express concern, but also confidence that the state's health care systems are better positioned to handle an influx of patients than they were three months ago.

For the last three nights, people in communities around North Carolina raised their voices and demonstrated against police brutality against black people. The death of George Floyd sparked these protests in the Tar Heel state and around the country.

Updated at 8:34 a.m.

More than 1,000 protesters walked through downtown Raleigh Saturday evening to denounce the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some carried signs that said "I can't breathe" and "Racism is not patriotism." Others chanted "No justice, No peace."

North Carolina is no stranger to emergencies. When severe weather moves in — be it an ice storm or hurricane — there's a predictable path, an event that's relatively short, and a recovery that's pre-planned based on years of experience.

This is different. A stealth raider moves across the state in invisible waves. And for the first time, all of North Carolina is under a federal state of emergency as a global pandemic takes root. The state has recorded more than 19,400 cases (as of Tuesday May 19) and the virus has spread across all 100 of the state's counties. There have been 682 deaths from COVID-19, according to DHHS figures.

A small group, mostly armed, walked the streets of downtown Raleigh Saturday in support of their Second Amendment rights. 

In order to make it to her first shift at Waffle House, Sara Fearrington gets up at 5 a.m. to be out the door on time to catch the first bus into the downtown Durham terminal. She then transfers to the No. 12 line out to the restaurant on Highway 55, which usually gets her there at about 6:45 a.m. – enough time to get ready and clock in by 7 a.m.

The coronavirus pandemic has driven up gun sales across the nation, including in North Carolina. While there's no way to track the types of guns sold, gun store owners in Wake County are saying most of the increased demand is from first-time gun owners, and those buying firearms for self defense.

State leaders have not given estimates about how many people across North Carolina they suspect have contracted COVID-19, and instead have focused on the number of positive cases due to the illness.

Grocery clerks and delivery drivers are on the frontlines alongside healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus. But, unlike nurses, coming in contact with highly contagious diseases was not included in their job description. Low wages, limited benefits, and now the pervasive threat of illness?

Hospitals across North Carolina don't have a large amount of excess capacity to handle what they expect will be an onslaught of COVID-19 patients in the coming few weeks.

Even as they postpone elective surgeries, set up outdoor triage tents, and ramp up staffing levels, there's a concern that coronavirus patients will overwhelm the health care system.

Affordable housing is in limited supply in many communities in North Carolina. The problem is particularly acute in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, where the population growth has outpaced that in more rural parts of the state. WUNC data reporter Jason deBruyn explored what is happening to housing in the Triangle region for his new in-depth series “Where We Live.”

200 families living in the McDougald Terrace public housing complex in Durham have been temporarily moved into hotels because of ongoing problems with carbon monoxide. The Durham Housing Authority put in place a voluntary evacuation order Friday as it conducts testing at the units. 

The meteoric rise of Tito's Handmade Vodka continues in North Carolina as the clear alcohol held the top two spots of highest sales across the state in 2019, up from two of the top three in 2018.

In a nondescript office park in south Durham, volunteers dug through a giant box of donated electronics. This particular box held hundreds of power cords for Apple iMacs, Lenovo ThinkPads and more. Surrounding that box were others with keyboards, monitors and other accessories.

It's not glamorous work, said Michael Abensour, executive director of the Kramden Institute, but it's necessary. Kramden is a nonprofit that fights to bridge the digital divide. It collects donated computer equipment, refurbishes it, and then gives it away – mostly to students who don't have access to a computer at home.

Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg worshiped at Greenleaf Christian Church, a majority black church in Goldsboro, on Sunday.

North Carolina is failing to make progress in its recycling efforts. That's one finding from a new study released by Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center, a nonprofit.

The governing board that oversees the 17-campus University of North Carolina System appointed two new top officers on Tuesday.

The UNC Board of Governors promoted Randy Ramsey from vice chairman to chairman, and Wendy Murphy to take Ramsey's vacated role. The chairman seat came empty when Harry Smith said last week that he would step down, though he remains on the board.

In a 5-4 decision along traditional conservative-liberal ideological lines, the Supreme Court ruled that partisan redistricting is a political question, not reviewable by federal courts, and can't judge if extreme gerrymandering violates the constitution.

In addition to its harmful impacts on families, the opioid epidemic has hurt the labor force. But a bright spot finds the negative effects on businesses can be reversed in areas with the political appetite for action.

Nick Knittel

Durham police and fire officials confirmed one fatality from a gas explosion in downtown Durham that destroyed one building and severely damaged four others.   A firefighter was severely injured. He underwent surgery for non-life-threatening injuries on Wednesday afternoon and was recovering  by evening. The owner of Kaffeinate coffee shop, 61-year-old Kong Lee, died as a result of the explosion, according to a Durham Police Department statement.

 

Businessman Greg Lindberg arrived on the North Carolina political scene in 2017 with a big fat check book. Previously unknown in political circles, he started making six-figure contributions and landed squarely on the radar of campaigns across the state.

North Carolina's public education institutions must improve the pipeline from ninth grade through postsecondary graduation to meet future workforce needs. That's according to a new report from Carolina Demography and the John M. Belk Endowment.

Roan Fields-Moffitt likes to explore wooded areas. On a damp and cloudy early afternoon in January, he rustled through leaves, climbed over fallen trees and threw sticks in a stream. His dad, Jacob Fields, and mom, Desiree Moffitt, walked with him and took turns pushing Roan's 16-month-old twin sisters in a stroller.

North Carolina emergency departments saw 5,343 opioid overdose related visits in 2018. That's down eight percent from the high of 2017, but still well above any other year in recent history.

The data show that although programs to tackle the opioid crisis show early signs of paying off, the state still has a long way to go before the epidemic is in the rearview mirror.

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