Journalists and engaged community members gathered virtually on Thursday, Jan. 26 for an hourlong review of the incisive and community-focused reporting that Carolina Public Press undertook during 2022.

The recording of the event is now available.

YouTube video

What is ARPA?

The American Rescue Plan Act, ARPA, funds which the federal government designed to recover the nation from the COVID-19 pandemic, can be used in many ways. The process for allocating and spending these funds can make it difficult for journalists to follow the spending of nearly $2 trillion funding stream.

Following the money

During the event, Carolina Public Press reporter Shelby Harris shared what she learned about ARPA, who to ask questions of and where to gather data. Attendees included journalists interested in government accountability, community investment, actions of local and statewide government, pandemic relief and more, and concerned citizens.

Harris discovered that in numerous Western North Carolina jurisdictions, elected officials are using ARPA funding in many ways, such as supplementing a local farmers market, repairing outdated sewer systems or providing employee pay. Carolina Public Press’ consistent ARPA reporting explored local community funding, how elected officials are and aren’t involving the community in spending decisions and whether it’s making a difference at the local and statewide level.

Events like these provide us with the opportunity to share the stories that engage readers, community leaders, partner organizations and the media. Enabling all our audiences to understand, follow and act on the deeds of the elected officials in their communities is part of our mission to strengthen and support democracy across North Carolina.

Read more tips for journalists covering ARPA and download a tip sheet.

Read about how communities can follow ARPA funding and download a tip sheet.

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