For the fifth year running, journalism students in Dr. Brian Gorman’s feature-writing class have published The Scavenger, an annual online magazine created to share their work. This year, as Brian explained in an introduction to the issue, the plan was to focus on mental health.
“In what is likely the bravest piece ever published here,” says the associate professor. “Gabriel Gauthier set out to document her struggle with bipolar. And, to balance the subjectivity of memory, she took her lead from the late David Carr’s Night of the Gun, and investigated herself as she would have any other subject.”
But Gabriel’s piece, “My manic mind,” didn’t exactly turn out at all like she originally planned.
“I thought I knew where I was going and would have this perfect little journey, but some of my interview subjects saw things differently than I did.”
That made Gabriel look harder for the truth – something she says was worthwhile. “In writing about my experience – in going back and analyzing it – I learned a lot: how to be objective, how to be blunt, and that you don’t always get the results you want,” she says. “I learned that not only can I do this kind of writing, I can do it well.”
My manic mind
“My friends told me I was brave for writing it, which I found weird. I don't see it as brave. It's just my story. I'm not doing anything magnificent by telling it. I'm not curing cancer. I'm not stopping world hunger. But I think writing that piece did sort of help me.”
Video courtesy of journalism student Sarah Spisak.
Writing about delicate topics – and doing it well – is something contributors to The Scavenger have been doing consistently since the magazine’s first issue. Several writers in previous editions have been recognized by the Emerge Media Awards.
“One thing I love about journalism students is that the troubles of the rich and comfortable are of little to no interest to them,” says Brian.
While the original concept for this edition of the magazine was to take a deep dive into mental health, the end product more broadly addresses topics about the marginalized and the victimized: from sexism and misogyny in the news industry to suicide and sexual assault.
Read the 2018 edition of The Scavenger.