Emma Madgic, a 2022 summer journalism fellow at the Provincetown Independent, has won the 2023 Excellence in Feature Writing (Non-Daily) Award of the national Association of LGBTQ Journalists, the organization announced last week.
Madgic won the prize for her article “Rediscovering a Forgotten Provincetown Artist” about the painter Edith Lake Wilkinson, who spent the last 32 years of her life in a mental institution in West Virginia, most likely because she was gay. The piece was published in the Aug. 4, 2022 issue of the Independent.
The award will be presented at the association’s annual conference in Philadelphia in September.
Madgic, who graduated from Brown University in May 2023 with degrees in English and public health, last week began a new job as a strategic communications analyst at Kekst CNC, a public relations firm in New York City.
The Independent is the only weekly newspaper in the U.S. to be honored in this year’s awards from the LGBTQ journalists association. Other award winners include Ari Shapiro of National Public Radio, Nico Lang of the Huffington Post, Ernest Owens of Rolling Stone, Elizabeth Harris and Alexandra Alter of the New York Times, LZ Granderson of the Los Angeles Times, and Bryn Nelson of Scientific American.
THE LOCAL JOURNALISM PROJECT: 2022 SUMMER FELLOW
San Mateo, Calif.
Brown University, Class of 2023
English and public health
Before arriving at the Independent this summer, I gained some reporting experience writing for my college newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald. There, I wrote about criminal justice, university news, and sports. And for two journalism courses, I wrote about Providence.
One story was about a Spanish-speaking neighborhood where the local library was struggling to stay on its feet after the Covid-19 pandemic hit; another covered the Rhode Island Free Clinic, which serves people without health insurance; and a third was about a man who was incarcerated for over 50 years for a crime he says he didn’t commit.
With each story, I became more aware of the important work community-based organizations were doing and felt the importance of making others aware of that, too.
I’m interested in the craft of storytelling and how, if done well, it can connect people to one another. Good stories can help people become more accepting of others, because they reveal details about a person or situation the reader might not have considered before.
Of course, journalism is not about storytelling in the same way literature is. Journalism, at its root, is about sharing the truth. Truth can take so many different forms — it can be a statistic or a fact supported by evidence. But I think it can also be a feeling: the experience of a loved one getting diagnosed with a terminal illness or of moving away from the place you’ve spent your whole life.
As a temporary home, the Outer Cape has been wonderful so far. I’ve loved jumping into the ocean in the middle of a long run and paddling through the cool calm of Long Pond in Wellfleet, where I am staying. I have observed a turtle meandering across the driveway and felt the sand perpetually between my toes.
I enjoy the bustle of Provincetown, and the scent of sugary roasting nuts from the Nut House, which wafts by as I sit outside the Independent’s office at Whaler’s Wharf listening to the chatter of happy tourists. But I like coming home to the quiet of Wellfleet, where the only sounds are the high whine of mosquitos and distant lapping of waves. I look forward to spending the rest of the summer in this beautiful place.