The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard has selected eight journalists and media executives as Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows for the 2016 calendar year. Each will spend time at Harvard University to work on an innovative project designed to advance journalism across multiple platforms.
In making the announcement, Nieman curator Ann Marie Lipinski said, “We’re so happy to welcome this exceptional group of visiting fellows. The work they will do here stands to make important contributions to our industry. Their projects, combined with the work of our academic-year fellows, will make this a very exciting year at Nieman.”
Maya Baratz, most recently head of new products at Disney/ABC Television, will experiment with new formats for nonfiction storytelling via text messaging. She plans to design a product that offers an immersive experience and takes advantage of the strengths of the medium.
David Barboza, a reporter for The New York Times who most recently served as Shanghai bureau chief, will build new tools for investigative reporting in China, including a business and financial database of Chinese companies.
Bill Church, executive editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and southeast regional editor of GateHouse Media, will explore the organizational behavior of small newsrooms and examine new models for adaptability and innovation.
Fatemah Farag, founder and CEO of Welad El Balad Media Services in Egypt, will research the relationship between community engagement and media production. Her goal is to define models for business development and sustainability for alternative media in Egypt and the Middle East.
Walter Frick, a senior associate editor at Harvard Business Review, will research how machine learning can help news organizations better organize background information and archive material in order to provide context for journalists and readers when news breaks.
Paul McNally, a radio journalist for Wits Journalism and director of The Citizen Justice Network in South Africa, will develop an online tool to organize citizen journalism into a network for investigative reporting. The project will blend traditional and digital strategies for the development of local stories.
An Xiao Mina, director of product at Meedan, plans to examine how language barriers affect global coverage. She will conduct a case study around a specific news event to measure the impact of translations and annotations of social media on diversifying reportage.
Tara Pixley, a freelance photojournalist, will identify structural challenges to finding and accessing images from photojournalists outside the Western media network. She aims to create a platform to showcase quality global photojournalism and provide news photo editors with diverse, fresh perspectives that depict non-Western people and places.
The visiting fellowship program was established in 2012 to invite individuals with promising journalism research proposals to take advantage of the many resources at Harvard University and the Nieman Foundation. In 2015, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided a $223,000 grant to support the Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships. Those eligible to apply include publishers, programmers, designers, media analysts, academics, journalists and others interested in enhancing quality, building new business models, or designing programs to improve journalism.
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 1,500 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 covers thought leadership in journalism; 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.