One of my proudest achievements as a journalist was playing a small part in The Boston Globe’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
The award acknowledged the newsroom’s teamwork on that horrible day and in the days that followed. It also acknowledged the Globe’s relentlessness in its coverage of the fallout in real time, which required the newsroom to marshal its resources to keep the world informed during a moment of tragedy. I’ll never forget that, nor will I forget why I was in the Globe newsroom in the first place.
The Chips Quinn Scholars program has successfully placed young journalists of color in newsrooms for more than two decades. I was thankful for that very opportunity in the summer of 2006, when I was placed in an internship at the Oakland Tribune. My acceptance into the program has forever tied me to an alumni base of “Chipsters,” now some 1,400 strong, who have been invaluable to me as a resource. That’s how I met Martin G. Reynolds (CQS 1995) and Sean Jensen (CQS 1996), among others. And the program is partly why I connected with Gregory Lee Jr. (CQS 1995), whom I would continue to seek out through the National Association of Black Journalists as an adviser.
Lee, who encouraged me to apply for the Sports Journalism Institute, was the assistant sports editor at the Globe when I met him. He pushed for me to apply to the Globe and its website, Boston.com, when a position became available. He was the reason I was working on marathon coverage when the bombs went off.
The beauty of these relationships, and my relationships with other Chipsters, is that they extend beyond our time at any one news organization. I’ve consulted with Lee, Reynolds and other Chipsters over time about my career. And because of the Chips Quinn Scholars program’s reach, I’ve always had the opportunity to connect with Chipsters in unfamiliar newsrooms who can give me their frank opinions.
From these relationships I’ve built countless others, and I can turn to all these people for advice and counsel. I understand the gravity of sharing in a prize as glamorous as the Pulitzer, the pinnacle of journalistic achievement. But it’s my view that because of my connection to the Chips Quinn Scholars program, I’ve been winning at this journalism thing since 2006, and I’m pretty happy about that.
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