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The Chatham News + Record and Our Chatham are entering the podcast game.
The pair of news organizations are collaborating on “The Chatcast,” a new podcast series which will explore newsworthy topics over a season’s worth of episodes. The first season, “The Age of Anxiety,” will focus on teen mental health and will be available for free on December 13 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and more.
“The Age of Anxiety” will explore the various pressures faced by teenagers in Chatham County today — particularly in academics, social media, peer relationships and an increasingly divided America — as well as highlighting the resources and people seeking the make a difference in their lives. One episode will focus on marginalized populations, such as Latinx and LGBTQ youth, who are at higher risk for suicidal ideation and depression.
According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 1 in 3 Chatham high schoolers have reported symptoms of depression, while 1 in 5 said they’ve seriously considered suicide and 1 in 9 report to have attempted suicide. Those numbers are reflective and even slightly higher than national statistics. For example, 7.4 percent of teens in America said in 2017 that they had attempted suicide, compared to 11.3 percent in Chatham County.
News + Record Reporter Zachary Horner and Our Chatham Reporter Adrianne Cleven have interviewed more than 30 people in and around Chatham County — including educators, mental health professionals, teenagers and parents — to provide insight on the topic. Horner and Cleven will write, edit and narrate the 10-episode first season.
Our Chatham is a project at the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Reese News Lab in the School of Media and Journalism. It’s funded by the school’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media, which was created with a grant from the Knight Foundation. The News + Record has chosen Our Chatham as one of its strategic community partners in working to expand the newspaper’s reach in the community. Bill Horner III, publisher/editor of the Chatham News + Record, and Eric Ferkenhoff, who oversees Our Chatham, serve as executive producers on “The Chatcast.”
“We’re incredibly excited about this project,” Bill Horner III said. “This podcast is a natural offshoot of the work we’ve done with our ‘One Chatham’ events to spotlight community-wide issues and create public dialogue. Our coverage of teen mental health issues certainly made it clear that more attention was needed on this subject. Zach and Adrianne have worked extremely hard to put this project together, and we think it will go a long way toward creating awareness and bringing about ideas for solutions to the problems of teen mental illness.”
The podcast will be previewed the day before release date, Thursday, December 12, with the next One Chatham event which will explore the topic of the series. Panelists are still being confirmed, but the event is slated to take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at Northwood High School in Pittsboro.
Stay tuned to the News + Record at chathamnewsrecord.com and Our Chatham at ourchatham.com and on the organizations’ respective social media platforms for more updates on featured subjects of the podcasts, announcement of panelists for the One Chatham event and more information about where you can download the project.