WLP course to publish in Globe Magazine

by Celia Carbone / Beacon Correspondent • November 17, 2016

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Susanne Althoff said students will contribute to a special issue of the magazine.
From the Beacon Archives
Susanne Althoff said students will contribute to a special issue of the magazine.
From the Beacon Archives

Twelve students’ bylines could appear in The Boston Globe Magazine through a new writing, literature, and publishing course offered next semester.

Assistant writing, literature, and publishing professor Susanne Althoff pitched the idea to pursue a partnership with The Boston Globe Magazine last spring, she said. Althoff worked at the Globe for 12 years—6 of those as the editor for the magazine—before she accepted her full-time teaching position at Emerson.

“I know Emerson really values experiential learning and having students doing work in the classroom that has professional applications,” Althoff said.

She said this course is designed to combine the best aspects of an internship and a traditional classroom experience. Like an internship, students will write for a professional publisher and their work will be seen by the public. Althoff said her students will discuss pitches and reflect on how their work fits into the magazine in an intensive classroom experience.

Althoff said she accepted five undergraduate students and seven graduate students into her roster by application only. Prospective students were required to submit a writing sample and a statement of interest, she said.

Graduate assistant Melissa Kennedy said this course will be a great opportunity to receive critiques on her writing from a news source that has a large number of subscribers.

“I feel like the standards [for this course] are going to have to be more demanding in a really good way in terms of the quality of the writing,” Kennedy said. “It is interesting that there is no guarantee that your writing will be published so you have to be in a place where you can meet those standards that are going to be much higher.”

Althoff said Veronica Chao, current editor of The Boston Globe Magazine, requested that students focus on new forms of storytelling by combining the use of photography, videography, and interactive elements to enhance their publication.

“I know what [Chao’s] expectations are for the Sunday magazine and I know what kind of work she would want from students,” Althoff said. “I felt completely confident, knowing Emerson students, that they could produce this work.”

Students will contribute to one special issue of the magazine to be published in the spring. Althoff and Chao have not finalized the concept, Althoff said, but their top pitches include a millennials or college experience edition.

In addition to writing for the magazine, students will be assigned smaller projects throughout the semester, such as assisting a Globe staff writer with research or composing short profiles. Althoff said her students will visit the Globe newsroom and meet with Chao to discuss their progress.

This is not the first time the writing, literature, and publishing department partnered with publishers to have students engaged in real-life work. Althoff also teaches a class based on a partnership with The Culture-ist, a travel magazine, and there is an opportunity in the spring for students enrolled in a Topics of Publishing course to design and write copy for The New England Book Show.

“From my perspective,” Althoff said of her class, “the course won’t feel successful if students don’t leave with clips from The Globe.”