Kaplan Quarterly features student narratives
Every year, the Department of Communication gives five outstanding students a Kaplan Award for their excellence in narrative writing in the categories of: people on the margins, strong writing style, a human personality profile, a strong epiphany, and an important public issue. This award is presented in honor of Deborah Kaplan, who was known for her immersion journalism, relentless investigative reporting, and in-depth interviewing. After joining the faculty of the UW Department of Communication in 2003, Kaplan experienced an apparent heart attack, which led to her unexpected death in 2006 at age 53.
But her legacy in journalism lives on. Born in Chicago to parents who weren’t afraid to participate in avid activism, Kaplan chose a different path than her two siblings who both became attorneys. Kaplan became the Metro Times news editor from 1989 to 1991, after four years at the Detroit Free Press. She was recognized for illuminating the lives of ordinary and overlooked people – sleeping in tents to report about the homeless, working in the fields to write about migrant workers, and sitting through countless patriot group meetings to find out about their politics.
Upon leaving the newspaper industry, Kaplan started a tabloid produced by inner-city teens and returned to college to finish her undergraduate degree. She continued her education by earning a master’s in social science at the University of California-Irvine and a doctorate in journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina. While teaching narrative journalism as an assistant professor at the UW, Kaplan started a website for students to showcase their work – now the goal of the Kaplan Quarterly.
The Kaplan Quarterly is an online magazine featuring student work from the UW Journalism Program, focusing on narrative journalism. This genre combines rigorous reporting with fiction-writing techniques and eschews dramatic, news-making events to focus on everyday life and ordinary people. The site includes work from Kaplan’s narrative class in 2006 up to today. Search by quarter, course, or author to find stories that demonstrate Kaplan’s concern for social justice and giving a voice to marginalized people.