Nieman News

2020 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows

Nieman Foundation's 2020 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows: (top row) Lewis Raven Wallace, Mercy Adhiambo, Amy Silverman, Elizabeth Toohey, (bottom row) Wendy Lu, Nicole Barton, Tomer Ovadia and Erika Dilday.

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard has selected a group of eight media innovators as the 2020 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows. The group includes a features writer, an editor/producer, an audience development associate, the executive director of a media group, two freelance journalists, a software engineer and an English professor. They will each spend time at Harvard University in the coming year to develop a project designed to advance journalism.

Announcing the new fellows, Nieman Foundation curator Ann Marie Lipinski said: “We look forward to welcoming these eight visiting fellows to campus, supporting their research and learning from them in return. The Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowship has proven a valuable tool for supporting innovation and research that aims to elevate and advance journalism.”

The 2020 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows:

Mercy Adhiambo

Mercy Adhiambo, a features writer at The Standard in Kenya, will study innovative storytelling and best practices for investigative and in-depth reporting on children in vulnerable circumstances.

Nicole Barton

Nicole Barton, an audience development associate at KQED in San Francisco, will research how children ages 5 to 7 consume information and how local public media can build news products to serve and develop that audience.

Erika Dilday

Erika Dilday, executive director of The Futuro Media Group, will develop a plan to scale and sustain local community media labs, which help marginalized audiences tell their own stories authentically and shape the broader narrative around issues of race and class.

Wendy Lu

Wendy Lu, an editor and producer for HuffPost, will examine the state of disability reporting and representation in the media. She will develop a curriculum of professional reporting workshops designed to educate reporters on how to cover disability issues and train newsrooms to be more inclusive of disabled journalists, both in hiring and in overall workplace culture.

Tomer Ovadia

Tomer Ovadia, a software engineer at Google, will research ways platforms like Google and Facebook can better identify and promote high-quality, original reporting and improve incentives for original content in the news ecosystem.

Amy Silverman

Amy Silverman, a freelance journalist and advisory board member of the National Center on Disability and Journalism, will create a comprehensive guide for reporters, media outlets and journalism schools to better cover people with intellectual disabilities. Silverman is the recipient of a 2020 ProPublica Local Reporting Network grant for a series she will produce this year with the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.

Elizabeth Toohey

Elizabeth Toohey, assistant professor of English at Queensborough Community College, City University of New York, will develop an immersive journalism curriculum model for community colleges. Her work is part of a larger project to redesign college composition courses by basing them in media literacy.

Lewis Raven Wallace

Lewis Raven Wallace, a freelance journalist and co-founder and national program director of Press On, will research historical and current examples of movement journalism. Press On is a Southern collective for movement journalism, which focuses on liberation and racial justice issues.

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 1,600 journalists from 99 countries have been awarded Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a website and print 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.