Tyler Hicks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning senior photographer for The New York Times, delivered the 34th Joe Alex Morris Jr. Memorial Lecture at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard on Nov. 6, 2014. The annual lecture honors an American overseas correspondent or commentator on foreign affairs.
Hicks won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for his coverage of the massacre at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where he is based. In 2009, he was part of the Times team that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Hicks started at The Times as a contract photographer in Kenya in 1999, photographing news stories in East and West Africa. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he traveled to Afghanistan and reached Kabul as the Northern Alliance liberated the city from Taliban control. He has returned to Afghanistan yearly and continues to document the conflict there. In March 2011, Hicks and three other journalists were taken hostage in Libya while on assignment covering the revolution. After six days in captivity, they were released.
Earlier in his career, as a freelancer for The Times, Hicks lived with a Kosovar family while covering the Balkan conflict. Two years later, he went to Africa to cover the escalating war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Hicks also worked as a staff photographer for three years at The Wilmington Star-News. During this time, he photographed personal projects in Haiti, Albania and Kosovo.
In 2001, Hicks received the ICP Infinity Award for Photojournalism for coverage of Afghanistan, as well as other awards, including World Press and Pictures of the Year and Visa Pour L’image in Perpignan, France. He was named Newspaper Photographer of the Year by Pictures of the Year International for his work in 2006. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism from Boston University.
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 educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession through special programs that convene scholars and experts in all fields. More than 1,400 accomplished and promising journalists from 93 countries have been awarded Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a quarterly print and online magazine that explores contemporary challenges and opportunities in journalism; the Nieman Journalism Lab, a website that reports on the future of news, innovation and best practices in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.