I’m not from around here. I’m not an out-of-state student or anything, but I don’t originally hail from North Carolina, and I’ve only lived in Chapel Hill since I came to UNC nearly four years ago.
That being said, I feel more at home here than anywhere else. Maybe it’s something about growing up, being independent and finding myself in this town. Whatever it is, I feel like a part of this community, I empathize with this community and I want to see the stories of this community told in the best, most true way possible, as frequently as possible.
I am of the opinion that place matters quite a lot in the path of your life. Place opens and closes doors, place mirrors your agency and place can shape your life from the smallest to most colossal ways.
That’s what this magazine looks at — place. How does place affect living conditions for every community member? How do places differ in economic development? What is the true pith of all the places we love?
Southern Neighbor Magazine has set its sights on the places it loves, it cares about and is curious about and looks every day at how they affect the communities they house.
That’s why I applied to be the editor-in-chief of this magazine. I saw the investigative pieces on youth sports, reviews of local restaurants and profiles on home-grown businesses and I knew I wanted to be part of the team that made sure those stories continued to be written.
Last month I helped publish stories on local farmers and festivals, camp opportunities for local childen and an extremley important piece on the Rogers Road community’s long fight for clean water. This month I hope the coverage of this magazine has become even more robust, interesting and engaging. And I can promise you that I will continue to work towards that every month until I pass the torch of editorship onto someone else.
I have a lot of goals for my tenure in this position — most importantly getting to know this community and its people to the fullest extent. To a certain degree, I’ve been limited in my exploration of places outside biking distance from my Chapel Hill apartment until recently. But to everyone reading this, I promise I will be popping from town to town trying to absorb as much history and character as I can.
But I truly can’t do it on my own — I can’t pretend to learn everything about the history of Hillsborough or the local businesses of Pittsboro: that’s where I need you.
More than anything I want to hear from all of you. I want my email — see page two — to be bursting at the seams with stories that are important to you all and comments on the work that this magazine has done. I want to wake up to Facebook messages on the Southern Neighbor page about events you think are important in your city or town.
I want to know when we’re not covering stories in the best way, or if we’re missing perspectives and angles. I want to know if there’s a problem in your community you think we could cover in our magazine. I want criticism and engagement. Calls and emails. Do you want to meet to talk about what news in your community should be covered? Let’s get coffee! I truly mean it when I say I want to meet all of you and learn something about the place you call home.
And I must say, just because I’ve spent three years at UNC- Chapel Hill, I’m not necessarily bias toward the Tar Heel town, and I certainly don’t know everything about it, either. I really can’t wait to learn more about the place I’ve been calling home and the places all around me I’ve yet to learn much about.
Ultimately, I’m here to tell your stories, just as every editor-in-chief of Southern Neighbor Magazine has done before. I hope to hear from you all soon. So, neighbors, let’s talk, let’s learn and let’s tell stories.