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Project March 5, 2015

William & Mary 2014-2015 Sharp Reporting Projects

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A slip of paper with information on a November 2014 batch of oysters lays on the ground, surrounded by abandoned oyster shells. Image by Rachel Merriman-Goldring. United States, 2014.

Nine William & Mary students completed the fourth Sharp Writer-in-Residence Program, working with Pulitzer Center-supported journalist Stephanie Hanes during the 2014-2015 academic year to develop their writing and reporting skills. 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.

The College launched its Campus Consortium partnership in fall 2011 with the first Sharp Writer-in-Residence Program. 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.

For the 2014-2015 seminar, Hanes led the students through the process of developing and finalizing their reporting projects. This year she also worked with Pulitzer Center-supported photographer Allison Shelley and Pulitzer Center staff members Ann Peters and Steve Sapienza to create a series of round-robin seminar workshops to focus on storytelling through visual means, overcoming reporting roadblocks and developing each students' project. In overview sessions, students delved into basic reporting techniques, interviewing skills, journalism ethics and issues in today's media landscape.

Each student undertook a reporting project of his or her own topic choice and worked with the journalists to craft the final written product, published on the Pulitzer Center platform and on the William & Mary Charles Center site. Many students rounded out their reporting with separate travel grants provided by the College. 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, searching 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 2014-2015 Sharp seminar.