Whether you’re heading off on vacation or hanging at home over the holiday week, here are the GBH News stories you should pack with you — from award-winning documentaries to profiles of local heroes.

Some Lighter Fare

If you're looking for something to dig into at the beach, try these stories for some thought-provoking joy and inspiration.

Watch: ‘Papa Swan’ Photographer On The ‘Melancholy’ Of His Viral Photo
After Boston’s mother swan died, “Papa Swan” became an Internet sensation when Matthew Raifman captured heartwarming photos of the dad attending to his babies. Raifman joined Jim Braude on Greater Boston to talk about lessons for fathers—and all parents—generated by the images.

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The viral 'Papa Swan' photos.

Read: A Fowl Shortage: Welcome To The Chicken Wing Economy
By James Bennett II
Arts and Culture reporter James Bennett II gets to the bottom of the national chicken wing shortage, and talks to chef Andy Husbands of The Smoke Shop BBQ about what it means for business.

Read: We All Forgot How To Hang Out: Here's How To Rebuild A Social Life
By Tori Bedford
If your social skills feel rusty, you’re not alone. Reporter Tori Bedford talks to sociologists and other experts on how to re-enter your social world after the pandemic.

Listen: The Pandemic Has Transformed The English Language
By Edgar B. Herwick III
Are you sick of hearing about “quarantine” and “lockdown”? In this Curiosity Desk story, Edgar B. Herwick III talks to the editor at large for Meriam-Webster about how the pandemic has altered the slow-moving world of dictionaries, and our language, forever.

Listen: How Boston Set The Stage For A 'Legacy Of Love' Between Martin Luther King Jr. And Coretta Scott King
In this segment from Under the Radar, Callie Crossey talks to Roberto Mighty, writer, producer, and director of "Legacy of Love,” which captures the love story of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott, who met as Boston College students.

Crowd Favorites

Here are the stories that made a splash online over the past few months — videos, audio stories and written pieces that strongly resonated with our digital audience.

Watch and Read: We Mailed 100 Letters to Test The Postal Service. We Did Not Get Speedy Delivery
By Paul Singer
To test the United States Postal Service’s promise of “1-3 business days” domestic delivery, we asked everyone in the GBH newsroom to mail letters from Boston to locations all over the country, as far as Hawaii and as close as the next neighborhood in Boston. In many cases, we didn’t get a speedy delivery.

Dianne Wilkerson, a former Democratic member of the Massachusetts Senate, poses for a portrait in Boston's South End on May 23, 2021.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Listen and Read: The Rehabilitation Of Dianne Wilkerson
By Phillip Martin
Senior investigative reporter Phillip Martin examines the new legacy of Dianne Wilkerson, who emerged again as one of the city's prominent Black leaders, as Boston battled a pandemic and reverberated with calls for racial justice.

Read: Jahaira DeAlto Balenciaga, Local Ballroom Legend And Transgender Advocate, Murdered At 42
By Tori Bedford
As friends and family mourned Jahaira DeAlto Balenciaga, a community advocate, anti-domestic violence activist, mother figure and local ballroom drag scene icon, reporter Tori Bedford illustrates Balenicaga’s deep impact in the trans community.

Listen: Massachusetts Public Colleges Are Withholding Transcripts And Degrees From Thousands Over Unpaid Bills
By Kirk Carapezza and Jon Marcus
Higher ed reporters Kirk Carapezza and Jon Marcus investigate local colleges’ practice of withholding diplomas and transcripts from students who have unpaid bills, which can be as little as $25 to sometimes thousands of dollars.

Listen: 'This Is A Robbery' Director Has His Own Theory On Who Robbed The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
By Joe Mathieu and Meghan Smith
The Boston-bred director of the binge-worthy docuseries from Netflix shared his own theory on who pulled off the greatest art heist in history on GBH’s Morning Edition.


GBH News was honored with a number of awards this year recognizing its deep commitment to local journalism.

Read: The Color Of Public Money
In 2021, GBH News became the first recipient of a Regional Murrow Award in the excellence in diversity, equity and inclusion category with its investigative series The Color Of Public Money, which revealed how minority-owned businesses receive a disproportionately small fraction of government contracts in Massachusetts.

Read and Listen: Parole In Massachusetts: Free To Go, But Not To Leave
By Jenifer B. McKim
Senior Investigative Reporter Jenifer B. McKim took a deep dive into the state’s parole process and found that it traps people, especially those who are mentally ill, in a “revolving door” of incarceration. McKim won a Regional Murrow Award for investigative reporting.

Watch: Boston’s Apollo
In this episode of Open Studio, host Jared Bowen looks at the mystery surrounding Thomas McKeller, the African American artist’s model for artist John Singer Sargent. The episode won a Regional Murrow Award for TV reporting.

Megan Macduff. a respiratory therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital, poses for a portrait outside of the hospital where she is working with COVID-19 patients.
Meredith Nierman WGBH News

Listen: Respiratory Therapist Gives COVID-19 Patients Their Breath Back
By Craig LeMoult
Reporter Craig LeMoult’s story about an MGH respiratory therapist’s experience during COVID-19 won a Regional Murrow Award for excellence in sound.

Watch: As Winter Sports Resume, Parents And Schools Face A Painful Choice
By Adam Reilly
Adam Reilly’s personal story about local parents wrestling with whether to allow their kids to resume school sports won a Regional Murrow Award for sports reporting.

Read and Listen: Lives Remembered — A Look Back At Some Of The Lives We’ve Lost To COVID
With assistance from students at Berklee College of Music, the GBH News multimedia project that revisited stories of people lost during the pandemic won first place in the Collaborative Effort category at the Public Media Journalists Association 2021 Annual Awards.

Watch, Listen and Read: COVID and the Classroom
GBH News’ year-long multimedia project following three high school seniors during the pandemic was a 2021 New England Emmy nominee in the Education/Schools category.

Watch: The Great Ash Tree
By Greg Shea
Director Greg Shea’s portrait of an 80-foot tall American White Ash Tree in North Andover, Massachusetts won a 2021 New England Emmy - Video Essay. View the essay below.