It’s finally finished.

Five months, 7,000 words and multiple edits later, my cover story for this week is finally being etched in ink.

It started in January with a single message and a follow-up phone call — it’s how most stories are born these days. And then, after hours of interviews with more than half a dozen people, the story of how a charter school in Greensboro is letting down parents and students is about to be in the public eye.

It’s my longest story to date.

It’s what we in the industry call “investigative journalism,” though I don’t really put a label on it. Maybe because of imposter syndrome (I still sometimes don’t believe that I’m a real journalist), or maybe because we’re not the New York Times.

But then I’m reminded time and time again that little papers like ours often move the needle when it comes to our immediate communities.

Just this week, ProPublica published a story that is part of a series about how conflicts at school board meetings have led to arrests in recent years. The story focused on one Eric Jensen, who made headlines last year when he tried to approach the dais at a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools board meeting. Sound familiar? That’s because TCB’s James Douglas reported that story out when it happened and ProPublica noticed. Our story is linked in their piece.

And it has an impact. Not only so larger outlets can build on that work but also to hold local entities accountable in the short term.

So my hope is that this piece, which will be in print this week and on our website today or tomorrow, moves the needle. My hope is that parents are heard at that school and students are treated with respect and kindness. And my hope is that the story allows for our little corner of the world to become a little bit more just in the process.

Because whenever we do stories, that’s always our goal.

Read the cover story here.

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