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Nieman Foundation announces Class of 2012

May 24, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard has selected 24 journalists from the United States and abroad to become the 74th class of Nieman Fellows. The group includes journalists who work for newspapers, magazines, radio, television and online news organizations.

Announcing the class, Nieman Foundation curator Bob Giles said “The class of 2012 includes journalists who have reported from around the globe on an extraordinarily wide range of topics and, in many cases, under dangerous circumstances. They will bring diverse interests and experiences that will enrich one another and the Harvard community. This new class of fellows holds great promise for leadership and advancing the practice of serious journalism in difficult times.”

Established in 1938, the Nieman Foundation administers the oldest midcareer fellowship program for journalists in the world. Working journalists of accomplishment and promise are selected to come to Harvard for a year of study, seminars and special events. More than 1,300 journalists from 91 countries have received Nieman Fellowships.

U.S. Nieman Fellows in the class of 2012 and their areas of interest:

  • Jonathan Blakley, foreign desk producer, NPR, will study history, politics and social media in sub-Saharan Africa. He also will examine the domestic media environment in the United States on the cusp of the 2012 presidential election.

  • Tyler Bridges, an author and freelance journalist based in Lima, Peru, will study the changes, challenges and opportunities for delivering news in the digital era in both the United States and Latin America.

  • James Geary, editor of Ode magazine and a freelance journalist based in London, will undertake a multidisciplinary study of wit, exploring what wit is and how it enables us to understand and solve complicated social problems, identify and exploit political and business opportunities, achieve psychological and scientific insights and improvise in the arts and in daily life.

  • Anna Griffin, metro columnist, The Oregonian, will study the evolution and future of American cities, with an emphasis on the role government agencies play in combating poverty and controlling sprawl

  • Maggie Jones, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine based in Newton, Massachusetts, will study immigration public policy, law and literature, particularly as they relate to families in the United States and abroad.

  • David Joyner, vice president for content, Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama, will study the availability of local news and information and its effect on civic engagement. He is the 2012 Donald W. Reynolds Nieman Fellow in Community Journalism.

  • Dina Kraft, a freelance journalist based in Tel Aviv, Israel, will study dueling national narratives in conflict zones, examining how they are born, evolve and impact their societies. She also will look at attempts to reconcile narratives in countries and regions emerging from decades of unrest.

  • Kristen Lombardi, staff writer at the Center for Public Integrity, will study the legal and social conditions that promote wrongful convictions, particularly the impact of institutional misconduct and the consequences of systemic resistance to reform.

  • Megan O’Grady, literary critic for Vogue, will examine the relationship between women novelists, literary criticism and the canon, focusing on postwar American literature and the persistence of gender myths in cultural discourse. O’Grady is the 2012 Arts and Culture Nieman Fellow.

  • Raquel Rutledge, investigative reporter, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, will examine federal regulation and oversight of the nation’s food supply as it relates to public health. She is the Louis Stark Nieman Fellow. The fellowship honors the memory of the New York Times reporter who was a pioneer in the field of labor reporting.

  • Adam Tanner, Balkans bureau chief for Thomson Reuters, will study the expanding computer universe of personal data, including how private firms and governments assemble massive databases on individuals and the implications for business, journalism, the law and privacy. He also will examine techniques of narrative journalism in the Internet era.

  • Jeff Young, senior correspondent with PRI’s “Living on Earth,” based in Arlington, Massachusetts, will study the full costs of energy sources and how new media might spark a more meaningful discussion of energy choices. Young is the 2012 Donald W. Reynolds Nieman Fellow in Business Journalism.

International Nieman Fellows in the class of 2012 and their areas of interest:

  • Claudia Méndez Arriaza (Guatemala), editor and staff writer for El Periódico and co-host of the television show “A las 8:45,” which airs on Canal Antigua, will study law and political science to understand the shape of the rule of law in emerging democracies. She also will explore American literature and its links to Latin American culture. She is a 2012 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Latin American Nieman Fellow and will conduct a fieldwork project supported by Knight at the end of the academic year.

  • Carlotta Gall (United Kingdom), senior reporter for Afghanistan/Pakistan, The New York Times, will study history, with particular focus on American expansionism, the Middle East and American diplomacy in the region. Gall is the 2012 Ruth Cowan Nash Nieman Fellow. Nash was a trailblazer for women in journalism, best known for her work as an Associated Press war correspondent during World War II.

  • Carlos Eduardo Huertas (Colombia), investigations editor, Revista Semana, will study how to design a journalism center to produce transnational investigations about Latin America. He is a 2012 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Latin American Nieman Fellow and will conduct a fieldwork project supported by Knight at the end of the academic year.

  • Fred Khumalo (South Africa), “Review” editor, Sunday Times, will study the future of publishing in the digital age and the impact, management and financial implications of social media in a changing global society and in the developing world. He also will take courses in creative writing and script writing. His fellowship is supported by the Nieman Society of Southern Africa.

  • Wu Nan (China), a Beijing-based reporter, will study how new media is empowering people and businesses, changing political dynamics and sparking social change. She is the first Nieman Fellow at Harvard to be supported through Sovereign Bank and the Marco Polo Program of Banco Santander. She also is the 2012 Atsuko Chiba Nieman Fellow. The Chiba fellowship honors the memory of Atsuko Chiba, a 1968 Nieman Fellow.

  • John Nery, (Philippines), senior editor and columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer, will investigate journalistic assumptions about history and, in particular, explore ways in which Southeast Asian journalists can use greater awareness of historical context to inform their work. Nery is the first Sandra Burton Nieman Fellow. His fellowship is supported by the Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Foundation and honors the memory of journalist Sandra Burton, who reported from the Philippines for Time magazine.

  • Samiha Shafy (Switzerland), science reporter, Der Spiegel, will study how public policy and economic principles shape the way scientific evidence is translated into action to address global challenges, especially in the context of natural resources management, sustainable development, energy, water, climate change and public health. Shafy is the first Nieman Fellow from Switzerland. She also is the Robert Waldo Ruhl Nieman Fellow. Ruhl, a 1903 Harvard graduate, was editor and publisher of the Medford Mail-Tribune in Oregon from 1910-1967.

  • Pir Zubair Shah (Pakistan), reporter, The New York Times, will study the art of narrative journalism to develop his ability to present investigative work in a compelling format and make it accessible to a broad audience. Shah is the 2012 Carroll Binder Nieman Fellow. The Binder Fund honors 1916 Harvard graduate Carroll Binder, who expanded the Chicago Daily News Foreign Service, and his son, Carroll “Ted” Binder, a 1943 Harvard graduate. Shah also is the 2012 Barry Bingham Jr. Nieman Fellow. Bingham, a 1956 Harvard graduate, was the editor and publisher of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times in Kentucky.

  • David Skok (Canada), managing editor, globalnews.ca, will study how to sustain Canadian journalism’s distinct presence in a world of stateless news organizations and explore the impact new tools of journalism have on the role of the free press. Skok is the Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow. Goodman was a 1962 Nieman Fellow.

  • Akiko Sugaya (Japan), a freelance journalist based in Boston, will study how social media can promote citizen journalism and enhance the democratic process. She also will explore the new media literacy skills needed to empower the public to actively participate in society through the use of social media. Sugaya is the William Montalbano Nieman Fellow. Montalbanowas a 1970 Nieman Fellow and a prize-winning Los Angeles Times reporter who reported from 100 countries during his 38-year career.

Global Health Reporting Nieman Fellows in the class of 2012 and their areas of interest:

  • Samuel Loewenberg (United States), a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles, will study neglected factors in global health interventions, foreign aid reform and the role of journalism in increasing accountability.

  • Rema Nagarajan (India) assistant editor, The Times of India, will study patterns and trends in mortality, fertility and population growth and their relationship with population health, the impact of poverty, class, gender and geography on access to health care and medical ethics.

The Nieman Global Health Reporting Fellowship includes a four-month reporting project, which is funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The U.S. Nieman Fellows were selected by Amy Goldstein, a 2005 Nieman Fellow who writes about social policy issues for The Washington Post; Ernie Suggs, a 2009 Nieman Fellow and a political reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Robert Rotberg, author and a former reporter for The New York Times and other newspapers who has taught at Harvard and MIT and is now chair of a special study panel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Ken Nakayama, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology in Harvard’s department of psychology. Bob Giles, curator of the Nieman Foundation and a 1966 Nieman Fellow, chaired the committee.

Giles also selected the international Nieman Fellows with assistance from Stefanie Friedhoff, special projects manager for the Nieman Foundation and a 2001 Nieman Fellow, and journalist Boris Muñoz, a 2010 Nieman Fellow from Venezuela.

The Nieman Global Health Reporting Fellows were chosen by Jon Sawyer, director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and Stefanie Friedhoff. Nieman Curator Bob Giles chaired the global health reporting selection committee.

The Nieman Arts and Culture Fellow was selected by Alicia Anstead, editor-in-chief of Inside Arts magazine and the 2008 Arts and Culture Nieman Fellow, and Jack Megan, director of the Office for the Arts at Harvard University. Nieman curator Bob Giles chaired the arts and culture reporting selection committee.

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard administers the oldest midcareer fellowship program for journalists in the world. Grants are awarded to accomplished professionals who come to Harvard for a year of study, seminars and other special events. More than 1,300 journalists from 91 countries have received Nieman Fellowships. The foundation’s other programs include Nieman Reports, an influential quarterly written by and for journalists that examines journalism’s core challenges and opportunities; Nieman Watchdog, a project that encourages journalists to monitor and hold accountable all those who exert power in public life; Nieman Journalism Lab, an innovative online collaborative that identifies emerging business models and best practices in journalism in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism in every medium and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.