Columbia Chronicles

Columbia Chronicles provides in-depth coverage of news and issues important to the greater Columbia community. If you're interested in learning more about our community and how it works, you've come to the right place. It's your chance to better understand how the news may affect you and your life, and all it takes is about five minutes of your time. Supervised by Dr. Laura K. Smith, this program is produced through a partnership between Garnet Media Group, the University of South Carolina's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and UofSC's Honors College.

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Season 4 (2021) Food for Thought

Season 4 was produced and edited by Flynn Snyder, who is the respective reporter for each episode. 

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Alexander Shepard

While volunteering is a great way to serve your community, some volunteers can receive as much as they give. Alexander Shepard has more on how giving back can be equally beneficial to the volunteers as those they serve.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Kathryn Capps 

Unemployment is a leading cause of food insecurity. And unfortunately, the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the job market. In the middle of a pandemic, what would you do if your job evaporated and you could no longer provide food for you and your family? Reporter Haley Kathryn Capps looks at how Harvest Hope is fighting to solve this problem right here in Columbia, South Carolina.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Emma Dooling

What if education isn’t the only crucial service in-person learning provides? Some students in the Richland One School District regularly rely on the meals they receive at school. According to Feeding America’s 2020 National Report on Childhood Hunger, the national child food insecurity rate is projected to increase by anywhere from 1.6 to 9.3% due to the effects of COVID-19 on employment. Reporter Emma Dooling talks with a local teacher about fighting childhood hunger during a global pandemic and how her school has adapted to help young learners. 

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Sarah Hudock-Jeffrey 

When the pandemic struck, more people turned to gardening than ever before. Some picked it up as a hobby, others wanted to relieve stress, and many needed a way to put food on the table. However, many of these people were new gardeners in need of guidance. In Columbia, Community Garden Coordinator Jacqueline Williams used to teach in-person gardening classes, but these programs were put on hold. Reporter Sarah Hudock-Jeffrey shows us how Williams found a way to create a virtual community of gardeners from all backgrounds that take advice from Williams and help each other out.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Katie Marino

With rising medical bills for families whose children are battling various medical conditions, many families have little money left to spend on food. In 2019, 137 million Americans struggled with medical debt. and it’s getting worse in times of COVID. Reporter Katie Marino takes us to the Ronald McDonald House where families can find some relief.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Taylor Brown 

College is a time for exploration and taking exciting steps into an unknown future. But what happens when college turns out to be more than you bargained for and more than you budgeted for, too?  Taylor Brown tells us about her experience with food insecurity at UofSC and how she’s worked to combat it.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Antonia Adams

When most people think of college, they think of fun, learning, and friends. But it can be hard to do that when you have bigger issues to tackle. Today, Antonia Adams shows us how one UofSC student is addressing the tricky task of food insecurity on campus.   

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Sabah Bhamani 

As unemployment rises, and many schools have transitioned to virtual learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, research shows more and more families and children are suffering from food insecurity. Reporter Sabah Bhamani introduces us to an education advocate who works with students in an afterschool program called Ezekiel Ministries to help them fight against poverty and hunger.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Nathanael Lemmens

Many people agree that volunteering is a good thing to do from time to time. But for some, serving their community is more than an occasional activity. Reporter Nathanael Lemmens sat down with one University of South Carolina student who has made fighting hunger part of her life purpose. 

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Jacob Brock 

Since COVID-19 became a reality in 2020, the number of people in financial distress has risen significantly. According to Feeding America, almost 15 million more people are suffering from food insecurity this year than last year. Many have seen the long lines at Harvest Hope Food Bank here in the Midlands, but as reporter Jacob Brock explains, there’s another non-profit in our community that’s helping from behind the scenes.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Calista Yost

Going to school has always been a given for kids. But since the pandemic hit, school as we know it has turned upside-down. New schedules and new online classrooms are a big change for everyone, but for kids with food insecurity, this change could mean that they may go hungry. Reporter Calista Yost talks to one woman working to adapt in order to continue giving kids and families of the midlands the support, and the food, they need.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Nick Sullivan 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many to face new challenges in their daily lives. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly one in four American households haven’t had access to enough food at some point during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet many hide their struggle and try to face it alone. Reporter Nick Sullivan talks with one local business owner about the isolation she felt while food insecure, and how that inspires her to give back today.

Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Reid Taylor

These days, inspiration can be hard to come by. But at one local homeless ministry, one employee is giving back to those facing the same hardships he once did. Reporter Reid Taylor introduces us to the man who is using his story of hardships to serve up some inspiration and advice to those in need. 


Columbia Chronicles: Food for Thought – Christal Harvin 

The coronavirus pandemic has put new financial strains on families across the region, with many wondering how to put food on the table. New initiatives are aiming to help families in need, but for many communities, food insecurity is not a new problem. Reporter Christal Harvin sits down with a local leader who has been tackling food insecurity for years in a town just south of Columbia.

Season 3 (2020)

Season 3 was produced and edited by Spencer Buckler and the respective reporter for each episode. 

Young people often think that they’re invincible. Sure, life has its stressful moments, college isn’t easy, and life loves to throw curveballs at you, but 22-year-old Ali Bruning never expected life to take the turn it did about a year and a half ago when a persistent pain led her to the doctor's office. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 1.

It’s 4 o’clock in the morning. You’ve set multiple alarms because you are not great at waking up that early and you don’t want to be late for practice. Then there’s school, work, and practice again. This is the life of an athlete. On this episode, reporter Dan Stein introduces us to an athlete with more than your typical story to tell. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 2.

You probably remember the impeachment trial and have heard talk about relations between Ukraine and Russia, but what you may not have heard about is the conflict that started it all. On this episode, reporter Brielle Oakley sits down with foreign exchange student Yehor Shtanko to share a story on the war in Ukraine and coming to America. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 3.

Over the past 20 years, the LGBTQIA+ rights movement has come to the forefront of many social and political campaigns. In fact, for the first time in history, an openly gay man ran for president of the United States. That’s had a lot of people talking about sexual orientation and politics. Spencer Buckler will introduce you to a junior at USC trying to figure out what all of that means for him. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 4.

Would you be comfortable being vocal in your religious beliefs…even in the workplace? This is an idea that many Americans are struggling with today. Reporter Ansley Robertson introduces us to one local business owner who brings her Christian values to work every day… behind home plate. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 5.

More often than not, college students across America are stressed. They’re putting their social lives aside and many are losing sleep as they prepare for exams. On this episode, Monique Holland introduces us to one of those students who has a little extra struggle on her plate. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 6.

The next time you’re registering for classes at UofSC, you might want to check out an elective that’s recently been getting some attention. The class takes what most people consider music to a new level. Reporter Ward Jolles has more on this crazy class that any student with an interest in funky sounds can take. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 7.

You may have been to a craft beer brewery, but this newer craze has opened up to an even more specific field: home-brewing. From brew barrels in the barn to grain mashing in the garage, hobbyists have gravitated towards this rewarding craft. Columbia, South Carolina, is home to many brew shops and boasts an active home-brew club. Reporter Joseph King goes inside the trend with a man that has taken his love of beer to a new level. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 9.

After-school programs have been proven to help kids in many ways. Getting children involved and active can make an impact… but not all kids have the same opportunities. Reporter Steven Prebish tells us about a local organization that helps children across the community become more active. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 10.

Depending on who you talk to, people can have very different ideas about Five Points. For some, it is the retail shops where they will be getting last-minute gifts. For others, it’s the growing bar scene, or maybe even parking. Though, as reporter Sarah Supan explains, for some Columbia natives, it is a walk down memory lane. Read a transcript of season 3, episode 11.

Season 2 (2020): Corona Chronicles

Season 2 of Columbia Chronicles is focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local Columbia and university community. All six episodes were produced and edited by Flynn Snyder. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people have fallen on hard times and had to rely on food pantries and government support to be able to keep their homes and stay safe. As the US faces record unemployment, TIME Magazine reports that food banks across the country are facing even more financial challenges, or even shutting down. In today’s edition of Columbia Chronicles, reporter Michael Gallagher introduces us to the executive director of a food bank in the upstate that has had to adapt to this pandemic. Read a transcript of season, 2 episode 1

The novel coronavirus pandemic has illuminated a new way to meet community needs – mutual aid. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, these projects are a “model of community resilience and collective empowerment” that is working. Columbia, S.C., has its own mutual aid project – Mutual Aid Midlands. In March, a group of Carolina residents noticed problems caused by the pandemic and they took action. On May 26, 2020, reporter Aidan Thomason sat down with Dr. Deborah Billings, a professor at the University of South Carolina who has worked around the world on women’s health and who is a proud member and organizer of Mutual Aid Midlands. Read a transcript of season, 2 episode 2.

Although millions of Americans are impacted by COVID-19, the virus has proven to strike senior citizens harder than most demographic groups. Not only are the elderly more at risk of dying from the disease, they are sometimes food-insecure and often isolated. In today’s edition of Corona Chronicles, reporter Abby Druckenmiller takes us to the Meals on Wheels program in Greenville, South Carolina to find out how they’re trying to provide food and togetherness, during a time we’re being told to stay apart. Read a transcript of season, 2 episode 3. 

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across America closed their doors to face-to-face learning. Teachers and students were asked to continue their education through online platforms for the rest of the school year. Many students, especially high-school seniors, were distraught over the loss of major milestones, like prom and graduation. Chances are you heard – or saw – several stories about that. But many teachers suffered, too. In this edition of Corona Chronicles, reporter Shannon Henry sits down with a high school teacher in Richland County to talk about the very real impact that virtual learning had on her and her students. Read a transcript of season, 2 episode 4.

During the coronavirus pandemic, many organizations here at UofSC have been forced to stop what they’re doing. The goal is to keep students, faculty and staff safe. But one organization has found some creative solutions so they can keep helping kids across the Palmetto State. We’re talking about Cocky’s Reading Express – a program that usually involves UofSC students visiting elementary classrooms – to read. In today’s edition of Corona Chronicles, reporter Anna Morales speaks via Zoom with the program’s coordinator Valerie Byrd-Fort. Read a transcript of season, 2 episode 5.

During the summer of 2020, the coronavirus has been the biggest topic of discussion. There's been a lot of information thrown around, some of it true and some of it false. Dr. Kelly Kenison created a Facebook group that serves as a hub of scientific information during this time. In today’s edition of Corona Chronicles, reporter Reid Van Cott introduces us to Dr. Kenison to discuss the Facebook group over Zoom. Read a transcript of season, 2 episode 6.

Season 1 (2019):

In this edition of Columbia Chronicles, reporter Drew Hall takes us to Segra Field to find out how the Columbia Fireflies are attracting fans by offering affordable tickets … with an extra dose of fun. 

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 1.

In this edition of Columbia Chronicles, reporter Mary Kate Mackie sits down with Jeff Griffith, an attorney who specializes in corporate moves and incentives, to get his take on the decision to give the Carolina Panthers $115 million in tax breaks and its potential benefits to the Palmetto State.

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 2.

In this edition of Columbia Chronicles, Megan Roe takes to the streets to talk with Rachel Hodges about the new Columbia City of Women Map highlighting significant women in the area.

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 3.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 6 percent of teachers in America are male, and even fewer are African American men.

In this edition of Columbia Chronicles, reporter Leland Williams sits down with Derrick Hearn, an elementary school teacher here in Columbia who wants to add his voice to the mix and talk about how it feels to be a part of the minority of the minority.

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 4.

In today’s edition of Columbia Chronicles, reporter Reynolds Robinson takes us inside the Five Points Association office to meet the new Association executive, Kelsey Desender, and talk with two-year Executive Assistant Hope Roberts about the often-overlooked positive and healthy atmosphere found in Five Points.

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 5.

In the summer of 2019, several states passed reproductive rights legislation that places significant restrictions on abortion providers. And this past spring, South Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban women from having abortions as early as six weeks. 

In this edition of Columbia Chronicles, reporter Briana Tharp sits down with a representative from Planned Parenthood here in Columbia to discuss the future of the nonprofit during these tumultuous times.

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 6.

In this episode of Columbia Chronicles, reporter Lexi Waites sits down with the exchange student advisor at the University of South Carolina. Amidst the rumblings of construction nearby, Taylor Armstrong talks about what USC is doing to build its study abroad programs.

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 7.

In this episode of Columbia Chronicles, Reporter Drew Hill sits down with Dr. Jason Cummings, a USC professor and researcher of diverse populations, to learn more about the adversity scores — a new addition to the SAT that takes into account extenuating circumstances in a student's life — and why they’re needed.

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 8.

Columbia celebrates National Bike Month every May with fun events to encourage cycling in the city, but some cyclists feel that city government and its leaders are not putting in enough effort to make Columbia totally bike-friendly. In this edition of Columbia Chronicles, reporter Hayden Blakeney sits down with a major figure in the Columbia cycling community to discuss the situation.

Download a transcript of season 1, episode 9.