CHATTANOOGA, Tenn – A tattoo artist working in the age of COVID-19. A tree hugger who set a new world record for actually hugging a tree. A grocery store that brings healthy food to a neighborhood that doesn’t always eat so healthily.

Those are a few of the stories put together by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students that will air Thursday on the Scenic Roots show on WUTC-FM/88.1.

The audio stories were put together in the Rising Rock course in which students create journalism pieces that combine writing, audio and visual components.

The fact that they are students does not affect the professionalism of their pieces, says Ray Bassett, host and producer of Scenic Roots.

“They know how to tell stories. Stories with heart; stories about life here in Chattanooga and stories off the beaten path,” he said. “These are examples of storytelling of this generation, by this generation but not only for this generation but for everybody.”

Billy Weeks ,who created and teaches the Rising Rock course, said the pieces that will run on Scenic Roots took several months to put together and get on the air.

“We actually went over there last February and talked to them about doing a show on WUTC with us, but then the pandemic happened and we couldn’t do it. so fast forward to now, we started doing some,” said Weeks, who spent years as a photographer and editor in the department at the Times Free Press newspaper.

“Ray reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, if you want to do some shows or want to do some stories with us we can,’” Weeks said.

Vanessa Parrish, a senior in communications, reported the story on the tattoo artist.

“I actually do have tattoos myself, one by this artist,” she said. “We previously met last year while my friend was actually at the shop and we just got to talking and he was a very interesting character to talk to.”

In September, Adrienne Long of Chattanooga hugged a tree—literally—for 10 hours and five minutes, breaking the world record. Sierra Wolfenbarger, a senior in communications, saw that as a perfect story for Rising Rock.

A senior in communications not only did she do her own piece on Longs, she also was a member of two group-made audio stories. In addition, she edited the pieces by other students. Rising Rock was a revelation for her.

“I’ve learned a lot on how to sort of market myself, for sure. And on top of that, I, I learned a lot about audio editing and audio engineering because of it,” she said. “I think that’s been really exciting and interesting to get an idea of what that will look like.”

“I love it so much.”