Nieman News

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Veteran war correspondent Dexter Filkins will deliver the 30th annual Joe Alex Morris Jr. Memorial Lecture at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard on Thursday, February 3, 2011. Each year, the Morris Lecture honors an American overseas correspondent or commentator on foreign affairs.

In announcing Filkins as the Morris lecturer, Nieman Foundation curator Bob Giles said “Dexter has earned a place among the great war correspondents. He is fearless observer who records action with honesty and compassion. He is a worthy successor to the many courageous journalists who have given this lecture through the years.”

Currently a reporter for The New Yorker, Filkins has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for years. He worked as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times for a decade before joining The New Yorker in December 2010. He also served as New Delhi bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times for three years and reported for The Miami Herald.

In 2009, Filkins was part of a team of Times reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Additionally, he was a Pulitzer finalist in 2002 for his reports from Afghanistan. He has received a George Polk Award and three Overseas Press Club awards. In 2006-2007, Filkins was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and in 2007-2008, he was a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

In 2010, his reporting for The New York Times from the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with that of reporter C.J. Chivers and photographer Tyler Hicks, was selected by New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute as one of the “Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade.”

Filkins’ book, “The Forever War,” which chronicles his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, was published in September 2008. The book was a New York Times bestseller and won numerous awards including a National Book Critics Circle Award for best non-fiction book; the Cornelius Ryan Award, presented by the Overseas Press Club; and a Colby Award. It also was named a best book of the year by The New York Times,, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.

The Joe Alex Morris Jr. Memorial Lecture honors the Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent who was killed while covering the Iranian Revolution in Tehran in February 1979. In the fall of 1981, Morris posthumously received the Nieman Fellows’ Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity. The lectureship in his name was created in 1981 by his family, Harvard classmates and friends.

Morris was a member of the Harvard class of 1949. He inherited an interest in international news from his father, who had served as foreign editor of United Press International and the New York Herald Tribune. After working as a local reporter at The Hartford Times and the Minneapolis Tribune, Joe Jr. worked at Newsweek and later the Los Angeles Times. He reported from the Middle East for 25 years.

Established in 1938, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvardadministers 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 90 countries have received Nieman Fellowships. The foundation’s programs include the Nieman Journalism Lab, an innovative online collaborative that identifies emerging business models and best practices in journalism in the digital media age; Nieman Reports, an influential quarterly written by and for journalists that explores journalism’s many challenges and opportunities; Nieman Watchdog, a project that encourages journalists to monitor and hold accountable all those who exert power in public life; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism in every medium and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.

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