Nieman News

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard will welcome a group of eight* journalists and media executives as Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows for the 2018 calendar year. Each will spend time at Harvard University to work on an innovative project designed to advance journalism.

Announcing the new cohort, Nieman foundation curator Ann Marie Lipinski said: “Each of these visiting fellows has a project that will not only advance their own work but can be of service to their colleagues and journalism more broadly. We’re excited to welcome them to Harvard and look forward to supporting their research.”

The 2018 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows:

Soutik Biswas, India correspondent and features and analysis editor for BBC News, will examine digital and non-digital methods and tools to counteract fake news in India.

Erik Borenstein, director of strategy and development at The New York Times, will explore the relationships between media companies and “stars” of the profession to identify approaches to growing audiences, deepening engagement, and meeting business objectives. His goal is to develop best practices for news organizations and their employees.

Azad Essa, a journalist with Al Jazeera and co-founder of the South African news portal The Daily Vox, will investigate innovative and cost-effective ways in which online news sites can reach rural audiences in South Africa.

Mark Frankel, social media editor for BBC News in London, will research how journalists can best uncover and report on stories sourced from audiences on “dark social” apps, message boards and other private, invitation-only platforms.

Cynthia Hua, a San Francisco-based freelance journalist who previously worked at Facebook and BuzzFeed, will explore new approaches to measuring success for online video news, including using nuanced metrics that focus on intentional and repeated consumption patterns.

Shaheen Pasha, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will research prison education programs across the country. Her goal is to create an immersive teaching and reporting model for university journalism programs to partner with prisons in creating journalism curriculum for inmates.

Alexandra Smith, growth editor for WhereBy.Us, a platform that helps people connect and engage in their cities, will survey if and how events—used as a local news organization strategy—are successful as a tool for audience growth, brand engagement and increased revenue. Her goal is to develop a guide for newsrooms to help inform their efforts around events.

Ashley Catherine Woods, founder and CEO of Detour, a Detroit-based local news startup, will examine financial models for local journalism based on the psychology and practices of influencer and relationship marketing.

Nieman created the visiting fellowship program 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 96 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 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.

* This announcement has been edited to reflect a change: Jonathan Jackson, who was originally named as a 2018 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow, was selected as Nieman Fellow in the class of 2019. He will study at Harvard for the full 2018-2019 academic year.