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Project March 13, 2018

William & Mary Sharp 2017-2018 Reporting Projects

Applause for the blue shirts. Image by Ayyam Sureau. France, 2017.
Applause for the blue shirts. Image by Ayyam Sureau. France, 2017.

William & Mary students completed the seventh Sharp Writer-in-Residence Program, working with Pulitzer Center-supported journalist Stephanie Hanes during the 2017-2018 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.

For the 2017-2018 seminar, Hanes led students through the process of developing their reporting projects. This year, she worked with Pulitzer Center staff members Ann Peters, Steve Sapienza, and Jordan Roth and Pulitzer Center grantees Michael Kavanagh, Malia Politzer and Mark Johnson, 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.

During each workshop, journalists highlighted techniques they learned on their own reporting trips, covering a range of issues: Kavanagh on the struggle for democratic elections in the Congo; Politzer on the effects economic impact of the global refugee crisis; and Johnson on outbreaks, climate change, and human-animal interactions.

The College launched its Campus Consortium partnership in fall 2011 with the first Sharp Writer-in-Residence Program, with support from William & Mary alumni, Anne and Barry Sharp. 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. Many students rounded out their reporting with separate travel grants provided through 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 2017-2018 Sharp seminar.