Michael Moccio '16 and Shannon O'Connor '16, vice president and president, respectively, of Emertainment Monthly, an online entertainment news website run by students that now gets more than 100,000 views per month. (Photo by Nick Eaton '17)
The number of people reading Emertainment Monthly, the three-year-old, online-only, student-run entertainment news website, is skyrocketing.
In recent months Google News began running Emtertainment’s content, which drastically increased readership—to about 130,000 page views per month this semester, according to editor-in-chief Shannon O'Connor '16.
“It feels unreal,” said O’Connor, who launched the site as a first-year student, which began with about 5,000 monthly page views. “I remember when it was just me in my room, working until the wee hours posting articles.”
O’Connor says she was eager to join an entertainment journalism organization when she first arrived at Emerson, but had a hard time finding one that fit her interests. Thus, she began her Emertainment Monthly, which she said embodies the style of one of her favorite magazines, Entertainment Weekly.
O’Connor used Facebook and simple word-of-mouth to find students to report on entertainment news. To her delight, numerous people wanted to join.
“I was determined to get it off the ground,” O’Connor said. “I held meetings with all the students who were interested, reached out to stage companies and musicians for press coverage opportunities, applied for every TV and movie press site I could find, and started cultivating a long list of contacts.”
Over time, O’Connor was able to recruit editors to help manage her growing team of writers. Michael Moccio ’16 became vice president of Emertainment when he helped the online publication obtain Student Government Association (SGA) recognition.
“I want this to be a reason people choose to come to Emerson,” Moccio said.
The magazine was intended to be a monthly printed publication, but that idea was scrapped after its success online.
“Now that we’re on Google News… we’re bringing the progressive things we’re talking about at school to the general public,” Moccio said. “In the comments section, I saw a conversation about LGBTQ [and] minority characters, and how we need more of those in literature. That’s really inspiring to see.”
Since it obtained SGA recognition, Emertainment writers have scored access to major events, including the Boston Calling music festival, multiple red carpet premieres, and interviews with celebrities, including Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development).
“Now we have countless amazing opportunities,” O’Connor said. “I am so thankful for everyone who helped make this online magazine as big as it is. It was definitely not a one-person job.”
O’Connor says the student writers and editors continue to always look for new stories, and are hoping to expand coverage in the coming years.
[Editor’s note: Tessa Roy ’16 is Assistant Music Editor for Emertainment Monthly.]