CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Ann Curry, co-anchor of NBC News’ “Today” program, will deliver the 31st annual Joe Alex Morris Jr. Memorial Lecture at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard on February 2, 2012. Each year, the Morris Lecture honors an American overseas correspondent or commentator on foreign affairs who is invited to deliver a talk on international reporting.
In addition to her work for “Today,” Curry is a regular substitute anchor for “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” and plans to report for “Rock Center with Brian Williams.” She previously served as the news anchor on “Today” for 14 years and anchor of “Dateline NBC” from 2005 to 2011.
Curry has traveled around the world to report on major news developments, events of international significance and a variety of human interest stories. She also has conducted a number of exclusive interviews with world leaders and newsmakers ranging from the Dalai Lama and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and accused spy Wen Ho Lee, who gave his first interview to Curry after being cleared of all charges of espionage against the United States.
Curry’s assignments have repeatedly taken her to global hot spots such as Sudan, where she reported on the ethnic cleansing taking place in Darfur and Chad; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she examined the challenges facing women and children in the city of Goma; Iraq, where she covered the run-up and start of the war in Iraq in 2003; and Albania and Macedonia, where she covered the refugee crisis caused by the genocide in Kosovo in 1999.
Curry additionally has reported from the scene of a number of devastating natural disasters including the Japanese tsunami of 2011, the massive earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010 and the widespread flooding in Pakistan the same year. She also covered the effects of the tsunami in Southeast Asia that struck in December 2004, filing reports from Sri Lanka for all NBC News and MSNBC programming.
In 2005, Curry traveled throughout Africa with U.S. first lady Laura Bush to report on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, women’s rights and education. And as part of Today’s “Ends of the Earth” series, she took a close look at the effects of climate change, traveling to such far-flung locations as the South Pole and Mount Kilimanjaro. Curry covered the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in London in 2011.
In 1990, Curry joined NBC News as a Chicago-based correspondent and was named anchor of “NBC News at Sunrise” in 1992. She later helped launch MSNBC and then became news anchor at “Today.”
Before working for NBC, Curry was a reporter for KCBS in Los Angeles and a reporter and anchor for KGW, the NBC affiliate in Portland, Oregon. Curry began her broadcasting career as an intern in 1978 at KTVL, in Medford, Oregon, where she become that station’s first female news reporter.
Curry’s work has earned a host of national awards including five Emmy Awards, four Golden Mikes, several Associated Press Certificates of Excellence, three Gracie Allen Awards, and an award for Excellence in Reporting from the NAACP. In 2007, Curry was honored with the Simon Wiesenthal Medal of Valor for her extensive reporting in Darfur. She has been honored by Americares, Save the Children, the Anti-Defamation League as a Woman of Achievement, and she received the Asian American Journalists Association’s National Journalism Award in 2003. She also has won awards for her charity work, primarily for breast cancer research.
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. After working as a local reporter at The Hartford Times and the Minneapolis Tribune, he worked at Newsweek and later the Los Angeles Times. He reported from the Middle East for 25 years.
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard administers the oldest fellowship program for journalists in the world. Grants are awarded to accomplished professionals who come to Harvard for a year of study. More than 1,300 journalists from 91 countries have received Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, an influential quarterly magazine/website that explores contemporary challenges and opportunities in journalism; the Nieman Journalism Lab, a website that reports on the future of news and identifies emerging business models, innovation and best practices in digital journalism; Nieman Watchdog, a website that poses questions the press should ask and teaches journalists how to hold accountable all those who exert power in public life; Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism in every medium and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling; and journalism conferences that explore specific journalistic beats and issues and examine how working journalists can adapt to changes in their profession.