Writing, Literature & Publishing and Journalism students were part of a Boston Globe Magazine award-winning special section covering the onset and impact of COVID.
The special section, “Dispatches From The Edge,” originally ran online and in print March 29, 2020. It won first place in the 2021 Society for Features Journalism Excellence-in-Features Awards for Best Special Section in Division 3 (circulation 200,000 and more).
Seven undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom have since graduated, contributed to the section as part of the Writing for The Boston Globe Magazine class taught by WLP Associate Professor Susanne Althoff. Other students in the class contributed to the Boston Globe Magazine April issue “College & COVID”
The students drew upon what they, their families, and friends were experiencing to come up with pitches. Emerson announced that the campus was closing the day after Globe Magazine Editor-in-Chief Francis Storrs asked for article ideas, said Althoff, herself a former editor-in-chief of the magazine.
“Students were reporting and writing their stories while undergoing tremendous upheaval in their own lives: Did they have to move out of their dorm or apartment? What would happen to the rest of the semester? Would they be losing their jobs? Despite the stress and uncertainty, they carried themselves with such professionalism and determination,” said Althoff.
The judge’s comments reflected how impressed they were with the section:
“If the date of publication wasn’t on this section, you might guess that it was produced several months into the pandemic. Nope. The staff at the Boston Globe quickly identified some of the major themes from these strange times – that would end up lasting for months – and produced a smart, well-reported special section in a week, all while dealing with the personal effects of the virus and lockdown.”
Storrs said the award-winning special section wouldn’t have been possible without Althoff and her Emerson students “…who contributed at a pro-level blistering pace and at such high quality.”
The award-winning articles touched upon numerous parts of society impacted by the pandemic, including small business owners, college students, weddings, religious leaders, and more.
Melissa Karen Sances, MFA ’22: “12 Small Business Owners on How Coronavirus Has Affected Them“
Monica Petrucci ’20: “How Religious Leaders Are Keeping Faith During Coronavirus, Even From a Social Distance” and “For Those With Nowhere to Go“
Molly Grab, MA ’21: “In Urgent Care, Watching“
Jakob Menendez ’20: 8 Songs to Wash Your Hands To
Lily Hartman ’20: “I Don’t Know If I Can Get Married There Now“