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Nieman Foundation, April 12, 2019, Steve Almond - writing class. Lisa Abitbol


Beth Macy, NF ’10


Beth Macy

It’s hard to explain how much the Nieman fellowship shaped the arc of my career and my life. When I returned to Roanoke in mid-2010, I came back with a set of lifelong friends and colleagues. I was a much more confident journalist — convinced, finally, that it really was possible to do big journalism in smaller communities — and I was more curious about the larger world, and where the communities I wrote about fit within them. I didn’t just set out to write about the aftermath of globalization in southern Virginia, I went to Asia to document what it looked like on the ground there, too. I thought and read much more deeply about the historical underpinnings of the issues I was covering — from globalization to institutionalized racism to so-called “diseases of despair” — because I’d had the benefit of studying with the likes of Caroline Elkins, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Kathy Swartz. I also had Niemans on the ground in a dozen countries to help me navigate a new and wider landscape.”