2019 PRNDI Award Entry, Series: The Balance
On a slow news day, early in 2018, a statistic came to our attention in the NHPR newsroom: New Hampshire’s population had seen significant growth in the previous year for the first time since the Great Recession. At the same time, New Hampshire policymakers and businesses have been grasping for ways to keep young people from leaving the state for years.
We started talking. What was underlying these two seemingly opposing trends - growing population, but a fear of youth flight?
The result was The Balance, a series of stories that looked at the cost of living in New Hampshire, and the benefits and tradeoffs of settling down in the Granite State. We challenged ourselves to think big in this series, and to seek out stories that didn't fit neatly into our traditional beat structure but actually crossed those boundaries. The stories in the series took listeners on board one of the state’s last commercial fishing boats, into small businesses in a thriving North Country village, and onto the work site of a massive new housing development in the state’s suburban Southern Tier. We talked to demographers, tattoo artists and real estate developers. We asked why housing is so expensive in some regions and what it means for the local job market; looked at the unique challenges facing people of color trying to make a life in New Hampshire; and explored how artists are carving out a career in rural parts of the state.
Throughout the series, we turned to our listeners for ideas. We asked them to let us know what cost of living challenges - and opportunities - they face in their corner of New Hampshire. They sent us their thoughts about why things cost what they do here, whether it's worth it to pay the price, and what could make things better, and they opened up new questions for us.
We’re proud of the stories that came out of The Balance, and we’re pleased to submit them for consideration for the 2019 PRNDI Award for Best Series.