New WRAL Documentary Looks At Struggling Rural Side of State

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Focal Point: “The Other North Carolina”
New WRAL Documentary Looks At Struggling Rural Side of State

Airs Thursday, February 28, 2008, 7pm

 “It’s hard to keep your sanity about you when you get booted out the door from three different plants. It’s really tough on any family.” 
— J.D. Biggs, former furniture plant worker in Spruce Pine, NC

Focal Point Our state has grown by nearly 800,000 people since 2000.  Most of that growth has been in metropolitan areas like Charlotte, the Triad and Triangle.  Those areas of our state have been prospering, but the other North Carolina is made up of rural communities across our state that are struggling with stagnant economies, high unemployment rates, and high poverty rates. WRAL’s new documentary Focal Point documentary “The Other North Carolina” looks at rural eras and their plight.   The documentary hosted by WRAL news anchor David Crabtree airs on Thursday, February 28, 2008, at 7pm on WRAL-TV.

Since 2000, while the rest of the state has seen phenomenal growth, people have actually been leaving these communities. Many of these communities have suffered from the loss of textile and furniture manufacturing operations that have moved to other countries. 

Inland coastal counties have seen a decline in the state’s commercial seafood industry which has been battered by hurricanes, pollution and foreign imports.  As young people leave these rural counties looking for economic opportunities in urban areas they leave behind communities that are struggling economically.

Focal Point: “The Other North Carolina“takes viewers to four rural counties in our state from the mountains to the coast that have lost population since 2000.  It profiles people in those communities who have lost jobs or have had to abandon their way of life as they try to find new ways to make a living. 

The documentary looks at programs to help re-educate and re-train laid-off workers for new jobs.  It explores the challenges of training older workers who are functionally illiterate. It examines efforts by local economic development officials to create new opportunities and new economies in communities that have lost manufacturing plants. 

Focal Point
“The Other North Carolina” is the latest episode in the WRAL documentary series called Focal Point.  These in-depth news documentaries focus on a single topic, bringing depth and clarity to complicated issues facing North Carolina.  From North Carolina’s economy and environment, to health care and race relations – Focal Point takes viewers inside the lives of the people most affected.  Focal Point tackles the tough questions with leaders and policymakers who have the power to effect change.  WRAL News anchors, including David Crabtree, Pam Saulsby, Bill Leslie, Gerald Owens and Debra Morgan, host the series.  Six to eight new episodes of Focal Point will be produced each year. 

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clay Johnson for this capcom story.

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