Boston U. Student Paper Editor: ‘Reporting on Bombings & Manhunt We All Grew Up a Little’

In a goodbye letter published in today’s paper, outgoing Daily Free Press editor-in-chief Emily Overholt writes that adrenaline mixed with guilt while covering the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent citywide shutdown.

Yesterday, during her last night in the Free Press newsroom, she wrote a “Final Word” about her time at the helm of the respected Boston University pub.  As you might have guessed, a majority of the letter dealt with events of the last three weeks.

In Overholt’s words, “In the week we were reporting on the bombings and the manhunt we all grew up a little.  And every night I went home exhausted and rattled but so incredibly proud of the friends I work with four nights a week.  [In] many ways, I feel guilty.  The FreeP got some national attention thanks to our marathon coverage. For one week, no press officer scoffed at us when we called for credentials. We were taking the college media world by storm, but it was at the expense of three deaths and hundreds of injuries. . . . And when I start to feel guilty, I remember I’m not trained to help injured people, to help people deal with tragedy. I’m trained to tell their stories. And I hope we did that this semester.”


In a separate interview with ABC News posted yesterday, Overholt spoke about the unusually large number of tragedies– large and small– befalling BU students.  Most recently, this past weekend, a senior died in a house fire.


As ABC News reports, “In all, an ‘unprecedented’ 11 BU undergraduate and graduate students have died in the past 13 months, said BU spokesman Colin Riley.  ‘We get them in these little clusters,” said [Overholt].  ‘It’s hard, because it’s really catching up to people. It’s one thing after another.’  Overholt, 21, said she never expected to write so many obituaries working for the paper. . . . She called it a ‘nonstop barrage of bad news for BU.'”


Students Reflect on Larger Lessons, Questions from Boston Bombings

Boston Bombing Suspect: Former Classmates Tell Harvard Crimson He Was ‘Pretty Much a Friend to Everyone’

Boston Marathon Blasts: Student Newspaper Front Pages

Boston Marathon Blasts: BU Student Photographer’s Pic Picked Up by New York Times, AP, Reuters

Boston Marathon Blasts: Harvard Crimson Posts Running List of ‘Harvard Affiliates’ Confirmed OK

Letter in Boston College Student Paper: BC Professor Who Hates Running Vows to Enter 2014 Boston Marathon


One Response to “Boston U. Student Paper Editor: ‘Reporting on Bombings & Manhunt We All Grew Up a Little’”
  1. spencerbuell says:

    It really is a difficult line to tread – and for all journalists, really. Think about the Globe dropping the paywall and dispatching every reporter in their roster to cover the news. It really was a banner week for them, but I can imagine it’s hard to celebrate knowing how terrible and horrifying everything was for so many. Same for the “FreeP” – a chance like no other to flex some journalistic muscles, but in the midst of an earth-shattering tragedy. Well played by Emily Overholt here for addressing that conundrum in print.