The Nieman Foundation (of which Nieman Lab is a part) just announced our 78th class of Nieman Fellows. (For the uninitiated: The Nieman Fellowship allows 24 journalists the chance to spend a year at Harvard, studying the subjects of their choice, and working to improve the state of journalism, in the United States and worldwide.)
It’s a great group, as it is every year. A few of the names will be familiar to Nieman Lab readers — we wrote about Grzegorz Piechota back in 2012, and we’ve written about Mónica Guzmán several times over the years.
You can find the new fellows’ Twitter handles here, and more information about the fellowship is here. Meanwhile, here are the ideas they’ll be exploring at Harvard starting this fall — the Americans listed first, then the internationals.
And if you’re a journalist who’d benefit from a year to step back from your daily work and work on something bigger, the next application cycle is only a few months away.
Debra Adams Simmons, a senior news executive at Advance Local, the parent company of a group of metro news organizations, will study the impact of the digital news transformation on newsroom leadership and diversity, media ethics and local communities.
Mariah Blake, most recently a senior reporter for Mother Jones, will study the intersection of science and U.S. government policy.
Christopher Borrelli, a features writer at the Chicago Tribune, plans to study the decline of regional identities in the United States and the role that income inequality and social policy play in that change.
Andrea Bruce, a conflict photographer, will study the history of democratic theory and new storytelling techniques beyond photography.
Christa Case Bryant, Jerusalem bureau chief for The Christian Science Monitor, will study the technology and international politics of cybersecurity, with a particular focus on cyberwarfare.
Mónica Guzmán, technology and media columnist for GeekWire, The Daily Beast and Columbia Journalism Review, will study how journalists can rethink their roles to meet the demands of online public discourse.
Mary Meehan, a writer at the Lexington Herald-Leader, will examine the impact of the Affordable Care Act and barriers to sustained health improvement among the previously uninsured.
Todd Pitman, Bangkok bureau chief for The Associated Press, will study the causes and consequences of military intervention in emerging nations and examine ways to advance reporting in countries under army rule.
Wendi C. Thomas, a columnist for the Memphis Flyer, will study how to deepen the public conversation on economic justice using a multimedia news website and civic engagement campaign.
Kim Tingley, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, will study the history and philosophy of science, specifically the science of navigation and its relationship to memory and sense of place.
Christopher Weyant, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, will study the repositioning of editorial cartoons as a critical asset to journalism’s digital business model.
Christine Willmsen, an investigative reporter for The Seattle Times, will study emerging toxins and chemicals that impact the health and safety of our workforce.
Wonbo Woo, a producer for NBC News, will study the way major media events impact communities and examine the collateral effects of competitive news coverage on towns and residents after the spotlight fades.
Cansu Çamlibel (Turkey), a writer and senior diplomatic correspondent for Hürriyet, will study the rise of political Islam and how religion shaped contemporary Turkish political discourse.
Naomi Darom (Israel), a writer at Haaretz, will study the relationship between feminism and the messages about gender conveyed by popular culture.
Tim de Gier (Netherlands), head of digital and a staff writer for Vrij Nederland,will study the intersection of modern leftist theory and the political and economic challenges of digital technology.
Fan Wenxin (China), a reporter for Bloomberg News, will study how China’s domestic politics and economy impact its relations with other countries.
Olivia Laing (UK), a writer and critic for The Guardian and New Statesman, will study literature and the crosscurrents between art and trauma.
Hamish Macdonald (Australia), international affairs correspondent for ABC News, will study the intersection of traditional international affairs reporting with innovative, contemporary modes of storytelling to develop new models for collaboration and delivery.
Stephen Maher (Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow), a political columnist at Postmedia News, will study the use and abuse of surveillance in the absence of effective civilian oversight.
Fabiano Maisonnave (Knight Latin American Nieman Fellow, Brazil), a senior reporter and editorial writer at Folha de S.Paulo, will study the impact of social and economic policies on inequality and the environment in developing countries.
Grzegorz Piechota (Poland), head of the Innovation Lab at the Warsaw-based Gazeta Wyborcza, will study patterns in digital news content engagement to identify best practices.
Anastasia Taylor-Lind (UK/Sweden), a documentary photographer, will study the ways women are portrayed in ancient and modern conflict.
Fungai Tichawangana (Zimbabwe), managing editor of Zimbo Jam, Zimbabwe’s leading arts and culture website, will study digital storytelling techniques, the development of interactive media and online security.
The latest version of NYT Now, The New York Times’ aggregation-fueled smartphone app, is out today and, for the first time, it’s free to all users.
Though rumored and discussed for some time, it’s still a significant shift for the company, which originally launched the app as a cheaper alternative to a full Times subscription, specifically focused on younger, more smartphone-centric readers. At $8 a month, it was about half the price of the cheapest digital subscription to the Times.
Inside the company, the app was seen as a creative and technological success, if not a financial one. In a January memo to staff, Times executive editor Dean Baquet wrote:
We have made clear that NYT Now was not a financial breakthrough. But it has been a tremendous journalistic success, showing up on almost every ranking of best new apps. We learned many significant lessons from building NYT Now. We realized we could be more visual, and talk to readers in a different, less formal way, and still be The New York Times. We are exploring how we can make NYT Now a financial success.
That exploration has turned it into a ad-supported model that could let the app — which has been consistently well reviewed — reach a broader audience of phone-heavy readers. Some of those might eventually graduate up to the full Times experience, but there’ll be ads to serve to those who don’t.
NYT Now 2.0 collapses its first two tabs — a selection of Times stories and a curated assemblage of stories from elsewhere — into one stream, with the Times stories on top. (Who’s getting link love from the Times? This morning the app featured Vanity Fair, Quartz, BuzzFeed, Jezebel, Slate, Pacific Standard, Rolling Stone, and Deadline, among others.)
NYT Now's secret weapon: amazing editors. Story selection (from the NYT + across the web) is smart & surprising. Best "blog" in the world.
The app previously allowed only 10 free stories a month to non-subscribers; now users will be able to read 10 selected Times stories at any given time and 20 or 30 stories over a 24-hour period, Times spokeswoman Linda Zebian said.
@AntDeRosa Old app was 10 free articles a month. @NYTNOW 2.0: all NYT articles free, all the time.
The stories themselves are still basically unchanged, what you’d see in a smartphone mobile browser or the Times’ full app. The app now lets readers know how many new stories have been added at launch, and the bullet-point-centric morning and evening news roundups now come with optional push notifications when they’re ready.
…we realized that perhaps we went too fast toward monetizing NYT Now and NYT Opinion. Maybe in the future, a better path is to first do audience development and then do monetization.
When NYT Now debuted, one concern was that existing Times subscribers would find the app was “enough Times for them” and downgrade from a full print or digital subscription to eight bucks a month. Making the app completely free would seem to be an even greater potential risk.
@cliffordlevy@AntDeRosa I feel conflicted about this. Paying for NYTNow eased my guilt about not paying for news most of the time.
The app is letting NPR capture better data than ever on how people listen to audio: “What I want to give people is not just the thing they will tolerate enough that they won’t skip it — but the thing they love.”
Last year, The Washington Post debuted a new app for the Kindle Fire with an intriguingly distinct user interface. Jeff Bezos was quite involved in its development, “Project Rainbow” — not surprising, I suppose, considering that it was the most meaningful crossover yet between his day job (owning Amazon) and his side gig (owning The Washington Post).
“Based on the success of our new tablet app, we decided to experiment with different ways to carry that experience to the Web,” said Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post. “We think it could be an excellent way to both provide users of the app a seamless experience as they navigate to the web, and to continue expanding our national and global audience, particularly among Millennials, whose readership of The Post is growing steadily.”
Starting today, a subset of mobile readers who click on a shared link will be taken to a new version of The Post’s site (Washingtonpost.com/rweb), which will evolve over the coming months, based on their feedback.
It is awkward when viewed on desktop. But while it’s available on the open web, it’s really targeted at mobile web only. And, I have to think, tablets, because it also looks pretty goofy on a phone:
There are some appealing ideas in the design, which tries to recapture some of the leafing-through-the-paper feel of print. With every story getting big visual presentation, and scrolling story-by-story as the default navigation, you do get a sense of the sweep of a newspaper. But, like the spiritually similar Today’s Paper from The New York Times, I have a hard time imagining it’ll ever be anything but a niche point of entry to Post content.