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May 4, 2012, 9:35 a.m.

Announcing the 75th class of Nieman Fellows

Twenty-four journalists will come to Harvard for a year of study, including two joint fellows with the Berkman Center.

This morning, the Nieman Foundation announced our incoming class of Nieman Fellows, which will be our 75th. (The Nieman Fellowships allow a group of accomplished journalists — half American, half international — to come to Harvard for a year of study on the subjects of their choice.) I’ve gotten to meet many of them, and they look like a great group.

Of particular Labby note: This is the first Nieman class to feature Nieman-Berkman Fellows, who will work jointly with us here at Nieman and with our friends at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. We initially expected to pick one Nieman-Berkman Fellow, but we ended up going with two: Borja Echevarria of El Pais and Laura Amico of Homicide Watch. You’ll be reading more from them and about their work here in the fall.

Here’s the full listing. We’re very excited to see these terrific journalists here in Cambridge in a few months. And if you’re interested in being a part of the 76th class of Nieman Fellows (who’ll arrive in August 2013), it’s not too early to start thinking about your application, even though the first deadlines are still half a year away.

U.S. Nieman Fellows in the class of 2013 and their areas of interest:

David Abel, a staff writer at The Boston Globe, plans to study the evolution of new media, the impact of rising income inequality on the social fabric, and the science as well as the potential effects of climate change.

Laura Norton Amico, editor and founder of Homicide Watch in Washington, D.C., will study criminal justice journalism in the digital age, focusing on best practices, useful tools and new models for crime and courts reporting. She is one of two new Nieman-Berkman Fellows in Journalism Innovation.

Brett Anderson, the restaurant critic and a features writer at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, will study the forces and people fueling the modern American food culture and their impact on the way Americans eat. He will also examine the role food and restaurants play in communities during crisis.

Chris Arnold, national correspondent, National Public Radio, will study the reshaping of the government’s role in housing after the collapse of the bubble and how the crash will shape the future of homeownership and the American Dream. Arnold will also examine obstacles to technological innovation in consumer product safety. He is the 2013 Donald W. Reynolds Nieman Fellow in Business Journalism.

Alexandra Garcia, video journalist at The Washington Post, will study how news organizations can create visual experiences that engage users and will explore interactive storytelling forms.

Jeneen Interlandi, a science and health journalist based in New Jersey, will study the history of pharmaceuticals, the cultural forces that have shaped our relationship to medication and the impact that has had on our perceptions of illness and health.

Blair Kamin, architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, will study architecture, landscape architecture and urban design, seeking to re-examine and revitalize the field of architectural criticism in print and on the Web. Kamin is the 2013 Arts and Culture Nieman Fellow.

Jennifer B. McDonald, an editor at The New York Times Book Review, will study canonical works of literature and philosophy and the historical role of the critic in culture.

Betsy O’Donovan, a freelance writer and editor for The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C, and other publications, will study entrepreneurial models for community newsrooms, with a particular interest in establishing and protecting the value of original reporting. She is the 2013 Donald W. Reynolds Nieman Fellow in Community Journalism.

Mary Beth Sheridan, a news editor at The Washington Post, plans to study international politics and economics, with a focus on countries struggling to transition from authoritarian to democratic systems, particularly in Latin America.

Jane Spencer, international editor at large for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, will study new digital tools for narrative storytelling, with an emphasis on how emerging technologies can improve news coverage of global women’s issues.

Laura Wides-Muñoz, Hispanic affairs writer for The Associated Press, will study the nexus between immigration and economics. She will examine how the global financial crisis affects the integration of immigrants into U.S. society and explore multimedia platforms for presenting the data in new and dynamic ways. 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.

International Nieman Fellows in the class of 2013 and their areas of interest:

Karim Ben Khelifa (Tunisia/Belgium), a photojournalist and founder of, will conduct research on journalist-audience engagement, analyze the behavioral economics linked to crowdfunding and study new business models promoting the diversification of visual storytelling. He is the 2013 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.

Katrin Bennhold (Germany), a London-based reporter for the International Herald Tribune, will study the economics of gender and motherhood and explore the remaining barriers and costs of gender equality in the early 21st century. She 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.

Ludovic Blecher (France), executive director and editor-in-chief of, will study the business models of online media and explore ways to monetize high-value journalism. He is the Robert Waldo Ruhl Nieman Fellow. Ruhl, a 1903 Harvard graduate, was editor and publisher of the Medford Mail-Tribune in Oregon from 1911-1967.

Lee Chong-ae (Korea), senior reporter, Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), will study journalism related to complex trauma, focusing on people who have experienced the effects of periods of colonialism, war and military-influenced dictatorial administrations followed by rapid economic growth. Her fellowship is sponsored by The Asia Foundation.

Jin Deng (China), senior editor, Southern Weekly, will study how the democratization and fragmentation of information in the social media era will affect China’s journalism, society and politics. Her fellowship is supported through Sovereign Bank and the Marco Polo Program of Banco Santander.

Borja Echevarría de la Gándara (Spain), deputy managing editor, El País, will study the structural evolution of newsrooms around the world and how disruptive innovation is altering traditional business and workflow models for news. Using data from both print and Web-based news organizations, he also will try to discern the patterns in successful newsrooms and determine if the practices of digital start-ups can be applied effectively in established newsrooms. Echevarría is one of two new Nieman-Berkman Fellows in Journalism Innovation.

Yaakov Katz (Israel/United States), military reporter, The Jerusalem Post, will study the use of censorship in the digital age to determine whether it is relevant and consistent with democratic values and if it can be applieddifferently, especially in coverage of Israel and the Middle East.

Souad Mekhennet (Germany/Morocco), a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, Der Spiegel and ZDF (German TV), will study how the uprisings in Arab countries in 2011 have influenced the long-term strategies of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and how Shariah (Islamic law) deals with human rights, women and democracy. She is the 2013 Barry Bingham Jr. Nieman Fellow. Bingham, a 1956 Harvard graduate, was the editor and publisher of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times.

Paula Molina (Chile), anchor and editor at Radio Cooperativa, Chile’s leading radio news station, will explore the opportunities created by the digital revolution for better development, sharing and distribution of broadcast news content.

Finbarr O’Reilly (Canada/United Kingdom), Africa-based photographer for Reuters, will study psychology to better understand how the human mind and behavior is affected by personal experience, with a focus on trauma and conflict zones. He is the 2013 Ruth Cowan Nash Nieman Fellow. Nash was best known for her work as an Associated Press war correspondent during World War II.

Beauregard Lucian Tromp (South Africa), senior field producer, e-news Africa, will study the practice of countries and global corporations purchasing large tracts of land in Africa to address future food shortages and the impact of that for trade agreements, governments and local communities concerned about possible exploitation under a “new colonialism.” His fellowship is supported by the Nieman Society of Southern Africa.

San Truong (Huy Duc) (Vietnam), a freelance journalist based in Ho Chi Minh City, will study public policy, American literature and the history of Vietnam, with a goal of sharpening his work and impact as a political analyst. He is the 2013 Atsuko Chiba Nieman Fellow. The Chiba fellowship honors the memory of Atsuko Chiba, a 1968 Nieman Fellow.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email ( or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     May 4, 2012, 9:35 a.m.
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