Two COM reporters awarded Nachman Writing prize

Nachman award winners pose with their certificates.

Journalism Department Chair Brian McGrory poses with Matthew Eadie and Brooke Williams, associate professor of the practice of computational journalism, poses with Jesús Marrero Suárez at the COM Awards ceremony, May 16, 2024.

May 16, 2024
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Two COM reporters awarded Nachman Writing prize

Seniors Matthew Eadie and Jesús Marrero Suárez were awarded Thursday with the Jerome A. Nachman Writing Award, presented for the quality of their writing as COM journalism students by the College of Communication.

Each award comes with a $5000 prize to help recipients “follow their passion and strive to become better writers,” as described at its founding in 2005. It was named in honor of Jerome Nachman, a former editor in chief of the New York Post and recipient of the George Foster Peabody and Edward R. Murrow awards.

Mitch Zuckoff, Sumner M. Redstone Professor in Narrative Studies at COM, nominated Eadie, moved by his student’s narrative, “Against The Waves,” about the life and work of veteran a lobsterman that “captures the gallows humor, the stoic resolve, and the economic anxiety of Steve Holler and of a struggling industry.”

“With patience and empathy, Matthew is there for the predawn launches and the all-day outings, during which Steve battles his rickety knees, his patched-together boat, and the vicissitudes of nature and government regulations,” Zuckoff said. “By the story’s end, we’ve learned not only the ups and downs of the per pound price of lobster, but the ups and downs of a life at sea.”

Brooke Williams, associate professor of the practice of computational journalism, nominated Suárez, who devoted nearly a year investigating how redlining had created conditions that lowered tree cover, raised temperatures and made homes harder to cool down in minority communities in Boston, especially Dorchester.

The findings, published by The Emancipator in partnership with the Justice Media Computational Journalism co-Lab, “were important, nuanced and complex — in other words, potentially dry,” Williams said. “But with an extraordinary talent in writing, an enviable sense of humor, and a healthy dose of patience, Jesús made them sing. The story’s characters and narrative wrapped the numbers and data in life, and they showed how racism and climate change impact the day-to-day lives of people in Boston.”