Nieman News

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (May 24, 2004) — The new wing on the Nieman Foundation’s home at Harvard University was dedicated Monday in honor of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for its long-standing support of the Nieman mission to elevate the standards of journalism.

During a late-afternoon ceremony at Walter Lippmann House, the Nieman Foundation also announced the start of a $4 million capital campaign to cover the remaining cost of the new facility. “The Knight Foundation gift was essential to completing the building project and marks the first phase of longer range Nieman Foundation development strategy,” said Robert H. Giles, curator of the Nieman Foundation.

The addition to Walter Lippmann House includes a seminar room, a library and a media technology laboratory, and is called the “Knight Center.” Present at the ceremonies marking the dedication were Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, Knight Foundation President and CEO Hodding Carter III and nearly 100 invited guests.

“The Nieman program’s objectives are ours and help further exactly the kind of journalism the Knight brothers supported in their newspapers for so long,” Carter said. He was a Nieman Fellow in 1966. His father was a Nieman Fellow in 1940 — the second class of fellows.

“Putting the Knight name on our new wing is a fitting recognition of the Knight Foundation’s exceptional support of education for journalists and its generosity to both the Nieman Foundation and Harvard University,” said Robert H. Giles, curator of the Nieman Foundation. “The Knight Center provides a modern learning environment for the Nieman Fellows and enables the Nieman program to include the Harvard community and the larger world of journalism in many of its activities.”

The Knight Center is where Nieman Fellows gather for weekly seminars and other activities, Giles said. It is the center of activity for Nieman Foundation conferences, dinners and programs held in partnership with other Harvard and journalism organizations.

The Nieman Foundation has been located in Walter Lippmann House since 1979. The building, originally Greek Revival in design, was built in 1836 and is on the edge of the Harvard campus. It houses the Nieman Foundation staff and is the center for Nieman Fellows’ activities.

The Knight Foundation has provided funding for Nieman Fellows from Latin America and Africa since 1985, and currently supports the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism. The foundation has invested more than $4 million in the Nieman Foundation and other programs throughout Harvard University.

The Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers published newspapers. Since its first journalism grant in 1954, the foundation has given nearly $250 million to advance the education of journalists and freedom of the press. It has provided funding for midcareer education programs for journalists, modeled after the Nieman Foundation’s fellowships at the University of Michigan and Stanford as well as science fellowships for journalists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and specialized reporting fellowships at the University of Maryland and the University of Southern California. The foundation also has established a network of endowed chairs at the nation’s leading schools of journalism.

The Nieman Foundation at Harvard University administers the nation’s oldest midcareer fellowship program for journalists. Each year 12 American and 12 international journalists come to Harvard University for a year of academic study. Since 1938 more than 1,000 from the United States and 76 other nations have come to Harvard as part of the fellowship program.

In addition to the fellowships, the Nieman Foundation publishes Nieman Reports, the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to a critical examination of the practice of journalism. It is also the home of the Program on Narrative Journalism and the Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project to encourage reporters and editors to monitor and hold accountable those who exert power in all aspects of public life.

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