Chicago-based multiformat journalist Martha Irvine produced in text and video a compelling look at members of America’s high school Class of 2020, focusing on eventful lives shaped by a series of crises.
Irvine, collaborating with Stephanie Mullen, deputy director of storytelling based in San Francisco, set out to tell the story of a generation born in the aftermath of Sept. 11 that has faced a number of challenges – from the loss of a parent to wildfires and hurricanes, the Great Recession and, most recently, a pandemic and civil unrest over police brutality.
Finding the right subjects, including a young man who lost his father in 9/11 before he was even born, took some time. The result – well worth the effort -- was a multiformat package with stunning portraits and a print story that took the reader through the graduates’ stories in order of the events that have impacted them. Irvine also produced a video that featured several photos interspersed with self-shot video of three of the graduates.
AP photojournalists who contributed photos included Ross D. Franklin, Eric Gay, Elaine Thompson, David Phillip, Charles Rex Arbogast, Rich Pedroncelli, Gregory Bull, Seth Wenig, Lynne Sladky, Eric Risberg and Ted Warren.
Use of the package, posted on news sites across the country, was strong, and the story was shared widely on social media.
One reader responded to the story posted on AP’s Facebook page: “Resilience will have to become their legacy. The kids didn’t make the world but have every reason to change it for good.”