Creating Journalists at Emmanuel College

A guide for ENGL 2501 and ENGL 3801

There are 36,000 stories running the Boston Marathon in 2014

Runners are enthusiastic at the start of the 2012 Boston Marathon. Photo by John Swinconeck

Runners are enthusiastic at the start of the 2012 Boston Marathon. Photo by John Swinconeck

Every runner in the Boston Marathon has a story to tell.

Students in Introduction to Journalism and Writing for Electronic Media at Emmanuel College will be telling several of them for their midterm this semester as they prepare to cover the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

The shadow of the 2013 bombings remains over this year’s Marathon (I capitalize on second reference because that’s MetroWest Daily News style, not AP style, and I wrote most of my Marathon-related stories there). Demand for numbers, from runners who were stopped from finishing and runners who were impacted by the bombing, was at an all-time high, leading to an increase in the field by 9,000 runners.

Students will be asked to seek out runners for a profile prior to the race and re-connect with the runners a few days after to weave the story of their run into an overall narrative of Marathon Day. They will be live-Tweeting, shooting photo and video and, I hope, coming back with complete packages of a restored Boston Marathon.

How will the students find someone who is running the Marathon?

  • The runner may be someone they know;
  • They can ask friends and family;
  • They can crowdsource, using Twitter and Facebook;
  • They can look through Facebook for running groups;
  • They can Google for message board devoted to runners who are training;
  • They can visit local gyms, many of which have programs for people who want to run marathons;
  • They can contact the charities who are partnered with the Marathon, whose runners are required to raise money in exchange for their numbers;
  • They can randomly chase runners along the Charles River, calling out “Are you running in the Boston Marathon?” I kind of cherish the visual here, but fear someone will get pepper-sprayed.

A few sample runner  profiles from my former hyperlocal sites:


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This entry was posted on February 9, 2014 by in Boston Marathon and tagged .

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