Top journalism students examine pandemic’s effects in ‘Unmasking America’

Dr. George Thomas works at his office, the Family Health Center in Hayneville, Alabama. Thomas is the sole physician in Lowndes County, a rural region of about 10,000 people. (Amanda Paule/News21)Dr. George Thomas works at his office, the Family Health Center in Hayneville, Alabama. Thomas is the sole physician in Lowndes County, a rural region of about 10,000 people. (Amanda Paule/News21)

Investigate the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through “Unmasking America,” a major investigation conducted by 35 top journalism students from 17 universities. The students are part of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a multimedia reporting initiative headquartered at Arizona State University.

For “Unmasking America,” the team of student journalists investigated disparities in policies and practices that intensified under COVID-19 and may persist. They traveled to dozens of cities and communities in rural and urban America to report on people who are used to struggling and those who are new to loss. They explored who has unequal access to health care, to education, to housing and to food.

“Unmasking America” includes more than a dozen digital stories, video reports and a four-episode podcast.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provides core support for the News21 program. News21 fellows are supported by their universities as well as a variety of generous foundations, news organizations and individual donors, including The Arizona Republic/azcentral.com, Inasmuch Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Knight Foundation and Myrta J. Pulliam.

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