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2016 Nieman Fellows Chris Borrelli and Wonbo Woo lead a workshop during the 2016 Georges Conference

Awards & Conferences

The Christopher J. Georges Conference on College Journalism

Honoring the legacy of Christopher J. Georges

As part of Nieman’s ongoing efforts to mentor young journalists, the foundation hosts the annual Christopher J. Georges Conference on College Journalism each spring. The event brings students together from college newspapers across the Northeast for two days of training, lectures, lightning talks, networking and workshops led by Nieman journalists and other award-winning news professionals.

Mariah Blake, NF '16, teaches a session during the 2016 Georges Conference

Mariah Blake, NF '16, teaches a session during the 2016 Georges Conference

In recent years, the conference has expanded to include new college newspapers, offer more intensive training sessions and provide more resources for student journalists striving to improve their reporting across all media platforms.

The conference honors the memory of journalist Christopher J. Georges, an honors graduate of Harvard who worked as a Wall Street Journal reporter covering politics, economics and budget issues until his death at age 33 in 1998.

Students from The Harvard Crimson, where Chris served as executive editor, now help co-sponsor the conference and welcome visiting students to the Harvard campus.

Explore our past conferences to view recorded sessions and learn more about journalism resources available to student journalists:

 

Past keynote speakers include Paul Steiger, former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal; George Stephanopoulos, now anchor of Good Morning America and ABC News’ “This Week”; Vivian Schiller, former president and CEO of NPR; Bob Cohn, now president and COO of The Atlantic and former editor of Atlantic Digital; New York Times reporter Kim Barker, formerly with ProPublica; Alan Murray, former executive editor, online, for The Wall Street Journal and now editor of Fortune magazine; and Charles Sennott, co-founder of GlobalPost.

About Chris Georges

Journalist Christopher J. Georges joined the Washington bureau of The Wall Street Journal in 1994, where he covered politics, economics and budget issues with distinction. Three of his 1997 stories on the welfare system were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Chris Georges

Chris Georges

One story followed an Iowa mother on her path from welfare to drug dealing to a steady, low-paying job. Another focused on a Binghamton, N.Y., welfare official as she agonized over files to determine which children would lose benefits. A third chronicled four Maryland women who were leaving welfare and their changing attitudes toward money, children and marriage.

Chris’s sense of compassion for the disadvantaged and the impact of public policy on them gave all of his work a special relevance. And whatever the subject he covered, his passion for the craft of journalism marked all that he did for the Journal and the other publications where he worked during his most promising, but too brief, career.

In a statement, President Clinton called Chris “a reporter’s reporter. Whether he was writing about the budget, Medicare or welfare, Chris’s journalistic integrity, attention to detail and focus on the human side of policy earned him the respect of both his fellow reporters and those who work in the Congress and the White House.”

A 1987 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard, Chris served as executive editor of The Harvard Crimson. After a 1987 internship at The Washington Post, Georges worked in the Dukakis campaign for president. In 1988, he became a clerk at The New York Times, and eventually went on to a job at CNN. He joined Washington Monthly magazine as editor in 1991, a post he held until he joined The Wall Street Journal.

Georges died on Oct. 20, 1998, from complications related to lupus. He was 33 years old.

Learn more about Chris’s life and work and his dedication to telling stories well.

 

Stephanie Georges Comfort, Mary Georges, Gigi Georges and Jerry Georges at the dedication of the Christopher J. Georges Room in 2006

Stephanie Georges Comfort, Mary Georges, Gigi Georges and Jerry Georges at the dedication of the Christopher J. Georges Room in 2006

The Nieman Foundation is deeply grateful to the family of journalist Christopher J. Georges for their continued support of the annual Georges Conference, which provides aspiring journalists with new ideas, skills and resources. In 2006, Chris’s family – parents Jerry and Mary and sisters Gigi and Stephanie – honored his memory in a special way with the gift of the Georges Room in Lippmann House, home of the Nieman Foundation. A plaque on the wall there notes that Chris will be remembered by all for his integrity, intellectual spirit, wit and sense of fairness.