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Speaking Truth To Power

“...we are repelled by injustice. We are curious...”

“...we are repelled by injustice. We are curious...”

“We don’t do this for clicks or for Twitter followers or retweets, but because we are repelled by injustice. We are curious. We want to help people understand their world, and we want to hold power accountable.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones ’03 (M.A.) has always been curious. She admitted as much during her 2017 commencement address for the UNC School of Media and JournalismOpens in new window. She was curious about important things. Why did she have to ride the bus for two hours to go to a good school? She didn’t have the answer, but she wanted to find out.

That natural curiosity led her to journalism — first writing for her high school newspaper, later to the Chapel Hill News after earning a master’s degree from Carolina, and then to The New York Times Magazine. That curiosity continues to propel her to ask difficult questions of the powerful and of the marginalized so that the most vulnerable Americans have a voice in our society.

Because of her work to chronicle the persistence of racial segregation in America, particularly in education, Hannah-Jones was named a 2017 MacArthur FellowOpens in new window.

Nikole Hannah-Jones graduated in 2003 with a master’s degree in mass communication from the UNC School of Media and Journalism. She was a Roy H. Park Fellow — a fellowship program that provides full tuition and a stipend to master’s and doctoral students at the UNC MJ-school.

This is story number 160 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

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