When a class of UNH newswriting students was asked, “What sustains you?”, their answers came quickly: food, shelter, money. Love, music, friends. Communication, connection. Education, health. Peace. Coffee!
Challenged to explore their answers, they then ventured out to find stories that reflect the many faces of sustainability. The result: A reporting project published recently that can make you feel good about the future of high-quality journalism in America.
SustainableStories, by students in the UNH Journalism Program, is an online project developed by Tom Haines, assistant professor of English, with the help of Sara Cleaves and the UNH Sustainability Academy.
“Students quickly realized that these answers were strikingly similar to how news organizations structure beats: healthcare, environment, and business, for example; or entertainment, food, and art,” says Haines, who introduced the project in English 622: Advanced Newswriting.
The stories range from how one local community is preparing for climate change to the recertification of the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant to the challenges facing combat veterans returning to UNH as students. In the process of creating their stories, the students also tested their research, interviewing, writing, and editing skills.
“On a couple of levels, it pushed them into the real world of journalism, and it was also an academic learning experience,” says Haines, a nationally acclaimed travel writer and journalist.