Simpson Shows Regional Poverty for BBC News
By Vickie Luttrell
East Carolina University’s Mack Simpson, associate director for Community Development, traveled with three representatives from BBC World News Jan. 26.
The group visited the poverty-stricken areas of Bertie and Washington counties in northeastern North Carolina.
The intention of the crew from BBC World News was to acquire information on the poverty epidemic in areas of North Carolina. The information was gathered to be part of a series called “North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty.” The crew had been in North Carolina for a week traveling to different impoverished areas. The broadcast aired via radio on Jan. 27 on stations 90.9 FM, 91.5 FM and 88.9 FM and is available on the web at www.wunc.org, under the title “North Carolina Voices.”
The crew from BBC World News included world-renowned anchor Robin Lustig, from the London studio, and producer Jon Donnison, who heads the Washington D.C. bureau.
Ron Nowaczyk, ECU’s associate vice chancellor of Economic and Community Development, gave the BBC crew an orientation to the area and Simpson traveled with the crew all day.
BBC reporters interviewed civilians on the street and visited businesses and restaurants to discuss the poverty epidemic that affects this and other areas of North Carolina. Bob Spivey, mayor of Windsor, was interviewed by the group in a local restaurant. According to Simpson, “Mayor Spivey had a lot of insight into the poverty crisis that has taken over the area.”
“In Plymouth, you have nature’s grandeur and you have old antebellum houses and then you have abject poverty,” Simpson said.
The poverty rate is 37.5 percent in Plymouth, compared to 12.7 percent across the country, yet residents are still devoted to living in this area.
“Most people said yes it was a poor area, but they liked living there anyway,” he said.