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More Highlights for WRAL Documentaries

  • America’s Favorite Journey: The Blue Ridge Parkway

    America’s Favorite Journey: The Blue Ridge Parkway

    The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most popular destination in our national park system, hosting about 17 million visitors a year.

    Nearly half the 469-mile route runs through North Carolina, including its highest elevations. Some of the parkway’s iconic features are in our state, including its highest peak and the Linn Cove Viaduct at Grandfather Mountain.

    Visitors to the parkway generate more than $2 billion dollars a year for mountain communities. Its biological diversity, rich history and its parks and trails make the parkway a valuable educational and recreational resource.

    Host: WRAL News anchor Bill Leslie
    Producer/writer: Clay Johnson
    Photographer/editor: Jay Jennings

    America’s Favorite Journey’ aired June 29, 2010 on WRAL-TV.

  • Into These Hills documentary about the hunt for Eric Rudolph

    At age 29, Eric Rudolph was the perpetrator of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, which occurred on July 27, 1996, during the 1996 Summer Olympics. He called the police, warning about the bomb before it detonated. The blast killed spectator Alice Hawthorne and wounded 111 others.

    Law enforcement officials implement one of the largest manhunts in US history in their search for bomber Eric Rudolph. Host WRAL News anchor Jim Payne and the WRAL Documentary unit travel to western NC for a look inside the investigation, the impact of the search on the local community and the various fringe groups that might sympathize with the fugitive. “Into These Hills” originally aired April 24, 1999

    Rudolph was arrested in Murphy, North Carolina, on May 31, 2003, by rookie police officer Jeffrey Scott Postell of the Murphy Police Department behind a Save-A-Lot store. Rudolph was unarmed and did not resist arrest. Federal authorities charged him on October 14, 2003.

    On April 8, 2005, the Department of Justice announced that Rudolph had agreed to a plea bargain under which he would plead guilty to all charges he was accused of in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. The deal was confirmed after the FBI found 250 pounds (110 kg) of dynamite he hid in the forests of North Carolina.

    Rudolph released a statement in which he explained his actions and rationalized them as serving the cause of anti-abortion and anti-gay activism. The terms of the plea agreement were that Rudolph would be sentenced to four consecutive life terms. He was officially sentenced July 18, 2005, to two consecutive life terms without parole for the 1998 murder of a police officer. He was sentenced for his various bombings in Atlanta on August 22, 2005, receiving two consecutive life terms.

    Producer/Writer: Scott Mason
    Photographer/Editor: Jay Jennings
    Aired: April 24, 1999

  • “Tar Heel Titans” profiles top global companies based in Raleigh and Cary

    “Tar Heel Titans” looks at three companies based in Raleigh and Cary, North Carolina known for leading edge technology and business culture. Cree’s innovations is in LED lighting, Red Hat’s role in the world of open source software, and SAS’s leadership in the development of analytical software for businesses and government applications. The documentary also looks at what the success of these three companies means for our state’s economic future.

    The documentary aired March 3, 2011.

    Host: WRAL news anchor Gerald Owens
    Producer: Clay Johnson
    Photographer/Editor: Jay Jennings.

  • Grape Expectations documentary about NC wine industry

    “Grape Expectations” examines the economic success story that is the North Carolina wine industry. Meet the pioneers of the industry, learn how the industry is generating revenue, examine the sustainability of the industry’s growth and explore the wide variety of wineries and vineyards that span our state from the mountains to the coast.

    Hosted by WRAL reporter Monica Laliberte.
    Produced by Clay Johnson.
    Photographer/editor Jay Jennings
    Aired 2012.

  • Hurricane Hazel documentary with Charlie Gaddy

    On October 15, 1954, Hurricane Hazel delivered a devastating blow to North Carolina. It was the only category 4 hurricane to hit the state in the 20th century, and by most measures, was the worst.

    WRAL News anchor Charlie Gaddy takes us through the days and hours leading up to landfall of Hazel. Aired 2004.

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