Willimantic, Conn. – Because of his investigative documentary titled “Eastern Explores,” recent Eastern Connecticut State University graduate Patrick Boyne placed third in a Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists (CTSPJ) contest on May 21. Boyne ’15 was the only qualifier from Eastern for the CTSPJ’s Excellence in Journalism Contest, and placed third in the video category for college students.
Formatted like a “60 Minutes” episode, “Eastern Explores” investigates Glastonbury High School’s “IPad Program.” The two- year old program distributes IPads to high school students for use in and out of class to enhance learning. Through interviews with Glastonbury High School students, faculty and staff, “Eastern Explores” aims to portray how the program is being received.
While the IPads contain academic “apps” and other learning aids, the documentary reveals that they may distract students who use them to play games and go on social media instead. With some students accidentally damaging the IPads, “Eastern Explores” also discusses the program’s insurance and return policies.
“What I’ve learned about documentaries is that if you lean towards any direction, your audience will pick up on it and dismiss you,” said Boyne, speaking to the challenge of remaining unbiased. “So I tried to make it neutral, right down the middle. I tried to be respectful, well-informed and professional.”
The documentary was Boyne’s senior thesis project, a requirement of Eastern’s Honors Program. He worked on the 32-minute long documentary for two years, with the help of a $1,000 grant from Eastern and camera equipment provided by the Communication Department.
Graduating with a double major in computer science and communication, Boyne plans to pursue a career in video production. “The computer science major augments my video production skills,” he said.
In the Excellence in Journalism Contest’s different award categories, more than 830 entries from across the state vied for recognition. “I was thrilled to be named a finalist and invited to the dinner ceremony,” said Boyne. “This will be a great resume builder.”
“Eastern Explores” can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTM52db_1ZM&feature=youtu.be.