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The Returning Envoy Boosts Readership with COVID Coverage

Envoy staffers (left to right) Marissa Cronin, Orchida Harizaj, Lauren Hakimi and Afia Eama (not pictured: Rachel Feldman).

The Envoy, an independent student-run news site, is back with a vengeance this academic year after a long hiatus, and has seen online readership skyrocket into the thousands amid its extensive coronavirus coverage.

The operation, officially funded by student activity fees, had a short-lived reemergence in the fall of 2017, but was revived again last summer by English/History major Lauren Hakimi. It now has a staff of five. 

In recent weeks, the news service has been serving Hunter students as an important news source on the coronavirus pandemic.

“We answer the questions that students want to know the most,” said Afia Eama, a Journalism major and the site’s Hunter news editor and treasurer.

Monthly readership saw a huge spike when coronavirus coverage began, receiving about double the hits in March than it did in February. 

For instance, Eama said, The Envoy had news about Gov. Andrew Cuomo shutting CUNY schools down just an hour after it was announced. The site also covered how the sports season was shut down by CUNY Atheltic Conference, new CUNY grading policies, and CUNY dorm evacuations and refunds, as well as how students are adjusting to online classes and are dealing with the pandemic in their personal lives.

“Coronavirus is awful. But it’s such a great opportunity for student journalists to get bylines, report and tell stories that the big outlets aren’t telling about how our community is being affected.” 

— Afia Eama, Hunter news editor, The Envoy

“Coronavirus is awful,” Eama explained, “But it’s such a great opportunity for student journalists to get bylines, report and tell stories that the big outlets aren’t telling about how our community is being affected.” 

The Envoy is also seeking to represent underrepresented perspectives that it believes can be lacking in many prestigious newsrooms.

For instance, Hunter College, as a public commuter school in the heart of New York City, has many students who fall into poorer demographics or are people of color disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, dying at much higher rates than their wealthy white counterparts. 

Varied coverage beyond coronavirus

Coverage has not been limited to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Envoy has also covered a controversial deal that would allow Starbucks to open a location on campus, as well as negotiations between faculty and CUNY over adjunct instructor salaries. 

Along with hard news stories, The Envoy also covers lots of culture stories and student success stories.

Along with hard news stories, The Envoy also covers lots of culture stories and student success stories. It even has a popular horoscope section. 

Eama emphasized that in addition to providing student journalists the opportunity to get bylines, The Envoy also pays writers for their stories. “Staff at The Envoy will help student reporters every step of the way,” she added.

The Envoy also has big plans for the future, Eama said. It is currently seeking reporters, especially those who can help cover breaking news, but also for lifestyle and other feature pieces (email them at theenvoyhunter@gmail.com).


Editor’s Note: The Envoy is seeking writers to report on the coronavirus pandemic. Reporters will cover breaking news, daily briefings from government officials and other stories, such as how the pandemic is affecting students. Familiarity with inverted-pyramid style is preferred, but not required. It offers a dedicated team of editors and you will be compensated for your work. If you would like to join The Envoy team, please email theenvoyhunter@gmail.com. You can follow The Envoy’s work at theenvoyhunter.com.

Our Journalism Concentration & Minor

The Hunter College journalism program is offered as a concentration or a minor within the Department of Film & Media Studies. Its curriculum is built around production courses in journalism and analytical courses in media studies. Learn more about our course requirements.

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