Ben Sessoms covers housing, gentrification and related issues for The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a journalist from eastern North Carolina. Before joining RFA, Sessoms worked as a reporting fellow at News21 at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University where he and several other student journalists from across the country covered natural disaster response in the United States. Sessoms’ coverage focused on how impoverished communities in eastern North Carolina were impacted by two 500-year floods from hurricanes Matthew and Florence in 2016 and 2018. As a whole, the News21 project State of Emergency won the 2019 Investigative Reporters and Editors Student–Large award. Sessoms’ previous work can also be found in several North Carolina papers including the Statesville Record & Landmark, the Watauga Democrat, and The Appalachian, the student paper at his alma mater, Appalachian State University, where he was a top 15 debater in the U.S.
The News & Observer’s roots go back to 1865, when its predecessor The Sentinel was launched to expose corruption in the Reconstruction era. Among the News & Observer’s many awards are three Pulitzer Prizes, including the 1996 gold medal for public service. The News & Observer is the paper of record in the capital city of North Carolina, covering the statehouse, the legislature and its impact on the lives of all North Carolinians. The newspaper’s mission is to produce fearless and independent public service journalism that gives a voice to underrepresented, unheard groups and communities.
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