The College of William & Mary’s Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence joins the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium team each year to organize the Sharp Writer-in-Resident Program, an effort to provide students with the opportunity to apply personal interests and academic research to journalism. Working with the students are Pulitzer Center-supported journalist Stephanie Hanes in collaboration with on-campus staff, Pulitzer Center staff, and Pulitzer Center grantees.
Students selected for the 12th Sharp Writer-in-Residence Program are then able to showcase their growth as writers and reporters in articles published on the Pulitzer Center website.
Seminar topics featured sourcing, ledes, and flexibility when stories change. Overview sessions laid groundwork for strong ethics, pre-reporting, and execution. Hanes, as well as William and Mary Program Coordinator Maxwell Cloe and Charles Center Director Elizabeth Harbron, counseled students through obstacles like runarounds, writers’ blocks, and dead ends.
For the on-campus programs, Pulitzer Center Director of University and Community Outreach Ann Peters and Campus Consortium Outreach Manager Holly Rosewood joined in those conversations along with invited grantees Melba Newsome, James Whitlow Delano, and Sophie Neiman. Newsome, Delano, and Neiman shared their reporting and experiences with seminar students and others through class visits and public programs while on campus.
The College launched the Sharp Seminar in 2011. At the beginning of each academic year, faculty invite students to apply. According to William & Mary’s website, the program teaches participating students “to communicate to a broad audience about topics they have studied and care deeply about. The course is designed to improve their ability to write as citizens for other citizens.” During the fall semester, students study what makes good journalism and research a topic of interest. They begin interviewing over winter break and write and refine during the spring semester.
For the 2022-2023 academic year, students culled public documents, captured documentary photos, and conducted difficult interviews. A few projects include: national park status affecting the lives and education of Black students in Florida, the status and ecological importance of the spotted lanternfly, and the ideological arm of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Read these stories and more at the links below.