A Year-long Exploration of the Effects of Coronavirus on Students in Massachusetts

BOSTON (September 22, 2020) – Today, GBH News launches COVID and the Classroom, a year-long multiplatform journalism initiative exploring the impact of the global pandemic on high school seniors attending public school in different Massachusetts communities.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our children and their education is one of the most complex and emotionally charged stories we will face this year,” said Pam Johnston, general manager for news at GBH. “This story demands a focused effort from local journalists, to capture the stories of the students and the effects on their lives. We’re embarking on an ambitious newsroom-wide effort to bring our audiences on what I hope will be a personal and nuanced reporting journey.”

Throughout the year, GBH News will follow a handful of high school seniors from across the state, who have diverse backgrounds and experiences, to capture their journey from the first day of school through graduation day. Reporters will examine the impact of the pandemic on the students, their families, and their communities through interviews with their teachers, parents, and others influential in their lives, and students will file their own digital diaries throughout the year. These stories will be told across multiple platforms, including digital, radio and television.

“Senior year is a pivotal transition from high school to adulthood. Challenging in the best of times, this year students need to adapt to a new way of learning and changed expectations even as they face a heightened risk of illness and economic insecurity,” COVID and the Classroom Executive Producer Stephanie Leydon said. “The only thing we are certain of is the uncertainty. Through our reporting, we will strive to bring our audience closer to understanding the local impact of the pandemic on Massachusetts students.”

COVID and the Classroom is the first major editorial undertaking led by Pam Johnston, who became the new GM for News in July. Leydon leads a core reporting team including Senior Digital Video Producer Greg Shea, Senior Digital Producer Emily Judem and Director of Photography Meredith Nierman. The team will collaborate with reporters and producers across GBH’s local newsroom to bring COVID and the Classroom reporting to all GBH News digital, radio and television programs.

About GBH News
GBH News is among the fastest-growing local news providers in Greater Boston and draws on the talent of a multiplatform newsroom that includes GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR, television and digital reporting. The GBH newsroom continues to invest in substantive local coverage and has established dedicated desks for higher education, politics, innovation and investigations as well as unique partnerships to expand on that commitment, including with WNYC’s The Takeaway, The World from PRX and The GroundTruth Project. GBH News partners with CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station, and New England Public Media in western Massachusetts to connect the Commonwealth with trusted journalism. GBH News maintains bureaus at the Massachusetts State House; Dorchester, Boston’s largest neighborhood; and Worcester.

About GBH
GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH produces digital and broadcast programming that engages, illuminates and inspires, through drama and science, history, arts, culture and journalism. GBH is the creator of such signature programs as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and Arthur and Molly of Denali, as well as GBH WORLD, a catalog of streaming series, podcasts and on-demand video. With studios and a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR®; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® station. Dedicated to making media accessible to and representative of our diverse culture, GBH is a pioneer in delivering media to audience members who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. With PBS LearningMedia, GBH creates curriculum-based digital content for educators nationwide. GBH’s local programming includes Boston Public Radio, Greater Boston, Stories from the Stage, Open Studio with Jared Bowen, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. GBH has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards.