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Alumni Stories

Jamie Ducharme '11

Author and journalist Jamie Ducharme graduated from Derryfield in 2011 and then attended Northeastern University to pursue a degree in journalism. In January of 2013, Ducharme secured an internship as a health reporter at Boston Health Magazine, eventually transitioning to full-time. Despite her demanding schedule as a journalist, Ducharme took college courses at night. She later moved to New York City to work for Time Magazine as a news reporter, staff writer, and most recently, health correspondent. Through her reporting at Time, she began writing about the dangerous rise of Juuling and vaping. This work led to Ducharme’s first book, Big Vape: The Incendiary Rise of Juul, published in May of 2021. Macmillan Publishers describes the book: “With rigorous reporting and clear-eyed prose that reads like a nonfiction thriller, Big Vape uses the dramatic rise of Juul to tell a larger story of big business, Big Tobacco, and the high cost of a product that was too good to be true.” When asked how her time at Derryfield shaped her journalistic career, Ducharme recounted hours spent with beloved librarian Betty Jipson, and the rigor of Mr. Anthony’s English class. She remembered her days as a writer for Lamplighter and said that while she did not know what form her literary skills would take when she left DS, the foundation she built here carried her through her career. Ducharme’s book is now being turned into a Netflix Documentary Series. “The docuseries happened totally by chance,” she says. “Amblin, the production company I’m working with, was interested in doing a project about Juul and they happened to learn last year that I had signed a book deal with Henry Holt, my [book] publisher”. Big Vape was sent to the production company who felt enthusiastic about making the story fit into a television format. Ducharme and filmmaker, RJ Cutler, recently signed a deal with Netflix. Ducharme says she is excited to have the opportunity to be a consulting producer on the show, which means she will be able to guide the production team’s research and interviews to ensure that the show matches her book. We don’t yet have an air date, but we’ll keep you posted! 

“Derryfield was very much a place where you could do anything. You didn’t need any experience, DS would help you do it. They instilled confidence and willingness to try new things that were scary, but necessary.”
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