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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

One Small Step: 'We don't have to agree on everything, but they're not horrible people'

Cape Fear region residents can sometimes clash with one another over controversial topics. That’s partly why WHQR has partnered with StoryCorps’ One Small Step program.

The program brings strangers together across political divides — not to argue, but to learn about each other's lives.

Keri and Scott are two such people; this is an excerpt from their One Small Step conversation.

WHQR and StoryCorps are still recording 'One Small Step' conversations through the end of the year and we're still accepting participants, particularly those who lean conservative.

Interested? Find more info here.

Keri: My name is Keri. I am 58. We are located in Wilmington, North Carolina. And my partner today is Scott, and we've never met before.

Scott: My name is Scott, I'm 69 years old. We are in the WHQR studios. And this is – we haven't met before. And this is part of that one small step conversation. Do you have any thoughts on labels? You know, feminists, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican? What are your thoughts on those types of labels?

K: I think I think labels are very divisive and hurtful. I think that automatically shuts a door when you label somebody that's, that's my view. And I try, I'm, I'm guilty, I'm human. But I try really hard to not do that. There are a lot of other labels that I won't even get into.

S: Yes, there are.

K: But I think I think if we got rid of labels, and I think the media, the mainstream media, really feeds in feeds into that. Just when I was getting ready this morning, before work, I was listening to think it was The Today Show is just kind of on in the background. And some of the things this reporter was saying, I just thought, you know, she's put her slant on this. And in my eyes, journalism should be, you know, completely unjudgmental, just report facts, not opinions.

S: I've heard several people that I respect, have made that comment lately about journalism. I remember years ago, somebody had mentioned about the changes in news reporting. And they had mentioned that it was the onset of the 24-hour news cycle that thought they had a big influence on that. And the more I thought about it over the years, the more it makes sense. And now it's not reporting facts and providing information, its opinion pieces, speculation, that I think to some degree may be good, but I think just the amount of it has been harmful to society. To me, I've become more interested in local politics than I have in the past. Because I feel like me as an individual or small group can maybe have a larger impact on those types of changes.

K: Absolutely.

S: I remember – and I kind of hate to get stuck on politics – but when I was in college in Virginia, I went to the Democratic state convention and James Carville spoke. And when I left there, I just felt that every Republican in the world was Satan. And when I listened to political ads now, you know, it's just the mud that’s being slung, and, you know, in my opinion to some degree slander. It's just, it's just gotten out of hand.

K: And it's on both sides.

S: Yes it.

K: I think especially this year with the local elections —

S: — it was horrible.

K: — it was, you know, if you just moved in here, and you didn't know any of these people, you think they were all straight from the devil. I mean, they were just all painted to be such horrid, horrible people. And some of these people I know in real life and they're not. They're not horrible. We don't have to agree on everything, but they're not horrible people.

StoryCorps’ One Small Step Radio Station Hub is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.