How a COM grad student got his final project published on the front page of the Boston Globe

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

I had the pleasure of interviewing BU’s College of Communication Business Journalism graduate student, John Hilliard, whose semester-long project for Professor Maggie Mulvihill’s Data Storytelling course was published on the front page of the Boston Globe (to learn more about the course check out this blog post). Hilliard’s publication is a rare feat many experienced journalists work their entire lives to achieve, and he did it as a COM graduate student.

The issue driving Prof. Mulvihill and Hilliard’s story is an ongoing matter concerning federal funds used to repair juvenile youth programs and other court facilities operating in bad conditions and under terrible systems. Prof. Mulvihill first started working on the story in 2013. Then, at the start of the Fall 2014 semester, Mulvihill recruited Hilliard to further work on and research the topic for his semester-long project.

Hilliard has spent the past three months investigating and researching public records from the Justice Department and the state’s executive office for public safety, not to mention conducting countless interviews with those knowledgeable about the issue. While John wrote the rough draft, Mulvihill was right there next to him tirelessly going through edits, fighting tooth and nail to ensure that the story would be accurate and ultimately published. This is their story.



About COMGrad

Boston University College of Communication offers graduate degrees in Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations; Emerging Media Studies; Film & Television; and Journalism. The mission of the College of Communication (COM) is to provide an educational center of excellence focused on teaching, research and service in the study and professional practice of communication.

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