The Nieman Journalism Lab is an attempt to help journalism figure out its future in an Internet age.
The Internet has brought forth an unprecedented flowering of news and information. But it has also destabilized the old business models that have supported quality journalism for decades. Good journalists across the country are losing their jobs or adjusting to a radically new news environment online. We want to highlight attempts at innovation and figure out what makes them succeed or fail. We want to find good ideas for others to steal. We want to help reporters and editors adjust to their online labors; we want to help traditional news organizations find a way to survive; we want to help the new crop of startups that will complement — or supplant — them.
We are fundamentally optimistic.
We don’t pretend to have even five percent of all the answers, but we do know a lot of smart people. Primary among them are our readers; we hope your contributions will make the Lab a collaborative exchange of ideas. Tell us what’s happening around you, or what should be.
We hope you enjoy the work we do, and that you’ll join the conversation as it evolves.
Joshua Benton is director of the Nieman Journalism Lab, which he founded in 2008. Before spending a year at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow, he spent 10 years in newspapers, most recently at The Dallas Morning News. His reports there on cheating on standardized tests in the Texas public schools led to the permanent shutdown of a school district and won the Philip Meyer Journalism Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has reported from 10 foreign countries, been a Pew Fellow in International Journalism, and three times been a finalist for the Livingston Award for International Reporting. Before Dallas, he was a reporter and rock critic for The Toledo Blade. He’s a proud Cajun from small-town south Louisiana who wrote his first HTML in 1994.
Laura Hazard Owen is deputy editor of the Lab. She was previously the managing editor of Gigaom, where she also wrote about digital book publishing. She first became interested in paywalls and other Labby issues as a staff writer at paidContent.
Joseph Lichterman is a staff writer at the Lab. He previously reported for Reuters in Detroit, mostly covering the city’s bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. history. He’s also reported for Automotive News and Michigan Radio, and he was the editor-in-chief of The Michigan Daily, the independent student newspaper at the University of Michigan. Joseph is a native of Michigan, and it’s called pop, not soda.
Shan Wang is a staff writer at the Lab. She previously worked in editorial at Harvard University Press, and has reported for Boston.com and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. One of the first news stories she ever wrote was about Muggle Quidditch for The Harvard Crimson. She was born in Shanghai, grew up in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and is a Ray Allen devotee.
Established in 1938, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard administers the oldest fellowship program for journalists in the world. More than 1,300 journalists of accomplishment from 88 countries have received Nieman Fellowships and benefited from a year of study and exploration at Harvard University. The annual deadline to apply for a fellowship is December 15 for international journalists and January 31 for Americans.
The Nieman Foundation also publishes the quarterly magazine Nieman Reports, the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to a critical examination of the practice of journalism. Additionally, the foundation is home to the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism and the Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project, which encourages reporters and editors to monitor and hold accountable those who exert power in all aspects of public life.
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