Nieman News

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (July 19, 2004) — Journalists from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, The Harvard Crimson and UMass Boston will publish MediaNation, a two-page daily newspaper covering the news media and media issues at the Democratic National Convention.

The independent newspaper will be published in The Boston Globe during the convention, July 26 through 29, as well as continuously updated on the World Wide Web at the MediaNation Web site. The unique partnership links 20 students from UMass Boston’s Center on Media and Society and The Harvard Crimson.

“The idea of a daily newspaper section produced by students at the Democratic National Convention struck us as a worthy learning project,” Nieman Foundation Curator Robert Giles said. “It will give students from Harvard and UMass Boston first-hand experience in covering a national political convention with stories that will serve the reading public as well.”

The project has received funding from the Christopher Georges Fellowship Fund, which supports an annual in-depth reporting project for members of The Harvard Crimson staff, as well as an annual conference of Ivy League college newspaper editors and reporters, said Giles.

“We plan to cover the 15,000 accredited media while they cover the politicians,” said Ellen Hume, a senior research fellow at UMass Boston and director of the Center on Media and Society. “The opportunity is there for our students to break national news.”

The project was conceived by Seth Effron, special projects director for the Nieman Foundation. He and Hume are leading it. Hume is a former Wall Street Journal Washington, D.C. correspondent. Effron spent much of his journalism career covering government and politics in North Carolina and was the first executive editor of Nando Media, the pioneering online news service of McClatchy newspapers. Other news professionals will supervise and edit the project as well as supply content to MediaNation.

Students began their training in Boston through a series of boot camps at UMass Boston. Work on MediaNation began July 14 and publication starts July 26. While several reporters will work at the convention site, the center of operations for MediaNation will be the Nieman Foundation’s Walter Lippmann House in Cambridge.

The facts about MediaNation:

    • 20 students; eight are taking a for-credit course as independent study through UMass Boston.
    • Two-page independent paper published during the Democratic National Convention inside the Globe (July 26-30)
    • A Web edition posted through the UMass Boston site at
    • A series of boot camps for student journalists included classes taught by Hume, UMass Boston faculty, Nieman Foundation staffers Effron and Melinda Grenier and guest journalism and political professionals. Topics included the changing role of political parties, press coverage of conventions, media analysis, journalism basics, ethics, and diversity in journalism.
  • Current and former professional journalists are scheduled to work with and coach the students, including Hume and Effron, former national television executive and Pew Center for Civic Journalism founder Ed Fouhy, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Doug Marlette and former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor Melinda Grenier, who is senior Web editor for the Nieman Foundation.


Robert Giles, curator, Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Harvard University, 231-386-7578, or by e-mail at

Ellen Hume, UMass Boston, director of the Center on Media and Society, senior fellow and journalism instructor; 617-620-2142 or by e-mail at

Seth Effron, special projects director, Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Harvard University, 617-335.3068 or by e-mail at

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