William & Mary students completed the 10th Sharp Writer-in-Residence Program, working with Pulitzer Center-supported journalist Stephanie Hanes during the 2020-21 academic year to develop their writing and reporting skills. Due to the pandemic, the entire program was undertaken with virtual workshops, smaller online group sessions, and one-on-one conversations.
The program is a joint Campus Consortium initiative with the Pulitzer Center and the College of William & Mary's Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence, supported by William & Mary alumni Anne and Barry Sharp.
For the 2020-21 seminar, Hanes led students through the process of developing their reporting projects.
This year, she worked with Pulitzer Center staff members Ann Peters, Holly Piepenburg, and Libby Moeller, and Pulitzer Center-supported journalists Brittany Gibson, Arionne Nettles, Maud Beelman, Molly Bohannon, Jack Kelly, and Julia Boccagno, the latter two former Campus Consortium Reporting Fellows from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and American University, respectively.
Together, they created a series of seminar workshops to focus on storytelling through visual means, overcoming reporting roadblocks, and developing each student’s project. In overview sessions, students delved into basic reporting techniques, interviewing skills, journalism ethics, and issues in today's media landscape.
The college launched its Campus Consortium partnership in fall 2011 with the first Sharp Writer-in-Residence Program, with support from the Sharps. Following the Sharps' vision, the college and the Pulitzer Center continue to offer a unique experience for students, developing integrated programming segments during the academic year tied together through a three-credit seminar. The idea behind the seminar is for students to develop areas of academic or personal interest into journalistic pieces and communicate to a broader audience—in short, writing for their fellow citizens.
Each student undertook a reporting project of his or her own topic choice and worked with the journalists to craft the final written product. Several students added a photographic component to their reporting, bringing to life those affected by the change in society, policy, or environment. Others investigated academic and government reports, and spoke to experts with additional knowledge to share, as they searched for the root of the issues on which they reported.
These final products are the culmination of the students' independent reporting and the mentoring support during the 2020-21 Sharp seminar.