Charlotte Journalism Collaborative Brings Artist and Journalists Together to Tell the Stories of COVID-19

By qnotes Staff
December 11, 2020

In October, the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative (CJC) and BOOM Charlotte launched a graphic novel telling the stories of people in the Charlotte region who have been impacted by the coronavirus. In addition to qnotes, the CJC is a partnership with The Charlotte Observer, La Noticia, QCity Metro, WCNC-TV, WFAE-FM, the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Free Press.

“COVID-19 is affecting the lives of everyone,” says Chris Rudisill, director of the CJC. “This creates an opportunity to translate local news reporting and scientific information in a new and dynamic way that will reach audiences who are typically not regular news readers or viewers.”

The multimedia reporting project pairs local reporters and local artists to translate stories from the Collaborative into a graphic novel, or comic book. Each chapter is based on a different real-life story from the local community. Chapters are released every two weeks through February and appear online at and on the group’s Instagram page, @CLTJournalism.

Rudisill, who is also a contributor to qnotes, said “This project is something new. It transforms storytelling and is creating collaborations that are unique to the city of Charlotte.” Like all forms of media, comic book artists have started addressing the pandemic through their work. Just last week, Marvel Comics announced a new comic book that will celebrate real-life healthcare heroes from Allegheny Health Network in Western Pennsylvania.

In the most recent Chapter of “The Pandemic,” presented here, artist Gil Croy took our story by David Aaron Moore about a gay couple in North Carolina who both tested positive in June. The two were less than 100 feet away in separate rooms of the hospital. “Even knowing that Brian was in the same hospital as I was, I didn’t know where he was or that it was possible for us to see each other,” Tom Costales told Moore, speaking of his husband. The couple know first-hand how devastating the impact of COVID-19 can be.

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This story was produced by the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of six media companies working together in an effort started by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.