Class of 2016
Debra Adams Simmons
Debra Adams Simmons most recently served as vice president of news development at Advance Local, the parent company of a group of metro news organizations, where she worked to develop new audiences, staff and content. She previously served as editor and managing editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and the Akron Beacon Journal. Adams Simmons has also worked as a reporter at the Syracuse Herald-Journal, the Hartford Courant and the Detroit Free Press and as an editor at the Free Press and The Virginian-Pilot. She is the immediate past president of the Associated Press Media Editors Association.
She will study the impact of the digital news transformation on newsroom leadership and diversity, media ethics and local communities.
Mariah Blake is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who most recently worked as a senior reporter for Mother Jones, focusing on investigative and enterprising reporting. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor and The Washington Monthly, among other publications. She covers the nexus between policy and science and has written on a wide variety of topics ranging from the plastics industry’s embrace of tobacco-industry-style tactics to corruption in the medical supply industry and the rise of faith-based news organizations. Blake is a Murrey Marder Nieman Fellow in Watchdog Journalism. The fellowship honors the memory of Murrey Marder, a 1950 Nieman Fellow who helped found the Nieman Watchdog Project.
She will study the intersection of science and U.S. government policy, focusing specifically on how some corporations and special interests exploit loopholes and magnify scientific uncertainty to shape policies to their advantage.
- Mad Men: How a feminist once hailed by gloria steinem launched the men’s rights movement—and inspired an army of haters and trolls
- Are Any Plastics Safe? Inside the Big Tobacco-style campaign to bury the disturbing evidence about the products you use every day
- The Turnaround Men: A charismatic entrepreneur, an ex-con turned devout Christian, and the politicians who championed them
- Casino Jack’s New Game: After more than three years in prison, and an implausible makeover as a truth-telling good-government reformer, Abramoff is still Abramoff
Christopher Borrelli is a features writer at the Chicago Tribune, where he specializes in subcultures, unusual characters and longform narrative approaches to storytelling. He has written about accordion salespeople, shadow-puppet artists and the lack of African-American chefs in high-end restaurants, among other topics. He previously was film critic and pop culture editor at The (Toledo) Blade, where he worked for a decade. Borrelli won a critic of the year award from the Society of Professional Journalists and is author of “Artists, Obsessives and Chicago Originals,” a collection of work published in 2013.
Borrelli plans to study the decline of regional identities and cultures in the United States and the role that income inequality and social policy play in that change.
Andrea Bruce is a documentary photographer whose award-winning work brings attention to people living in war and its aftermath as well as the social issues that are sometimes ignored and often ignited in war’s wake. For the past decade she has chronicled many of the world’s most troubled areas, focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan. As a staff photographer for The Washington Post, and now as a co-owner of the photo agency NOOR, she has been based in Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan and Mexico. She has worked for publications including The New York Times, Time, The New Yorker and National Geographic. Bruce is the first Anja Niedringhaus Nieman Fellow for Visual Journalism. The fellowship honors the memory of 2007 Nieman Fellow and AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was shot and killed while on assignment in Afghanistan in the spring of 2014.
Bruce will study the history of democratic theory and democracy in the United States in relation to key global events during the past decade. She will also explore new storytelling techniques beyond photography.
Christa Case Bryant
Christa Case Bryant, Jerusalem bureau chief for The Christian Science Monitor for the past three years, has covered Middle East news and created a blog showcasing acts of humanity amid the region’s conflicts. The Religion Newswriters Association awarded her first place for magazine coverage of religious issues, and she was a member of an International Reporting Project Gatekeeper trip to Saudi Arabia. Previously, she served as the Monitor’s Middle East editor and as Europe editor. She also reported from the 2010 Winter Olympics, bringing her expertise as a former elite cross-country ski racer.
Bryant will study the technology and international politics of cybersecurity, with a particular focus on cyberwarfare.
Cansu Çamlibel is a writer and senior diplomatic correspondent for Hürriyet, a leading daily in Turkey. She joined the paper in 2009 after managing the opinion pages of Turkey’s first English-language newspaper, The Daily News. Prior to that, she was the Europe correspondent for the Turkish news network NTV in Brussels. She has reported from nearly 30 countries while on assignment for both NTV and Hürriyet. Since 2012, Çamlibel has conducted numerous in-depth interviews with international and domestic leaders for a weekly column. She received a Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2010. She is the 2016 Carroll Binder Nieman Fellow. The Binder Fund honors 1916 Harvard graduate Carroll Binder, who expanded the Chicago Daily News Foreign Service, and his son, Carroll “Ted” Binder, a 1943 Harvard graduate.
Çamlibel will study the rise of religion in the 21st century, with a particular focus on the growth of political Islam, as well as how religion has shaped contemporary Turkish political discourse.
Naomi Darom is a writer at Musaf Haaretz, the weekend magazine for Haaretz newspaper in Israel, where she covers stories at the intersection of culture, science and society. She has written about Israel’s discrimination of non-Jews and American Jews’ changing relationship with Israel as well as gender issues, parenthood and the relationship between religion and state. She has traveled to India to cover a charismatic grassroots leader who fights for the rights of women, and to Sweden to write about evolutionary science. Darom previously worked as a features writer at The Marker, Haaretz’s business magazine. She is the Robert Waldo Ruhl Nieman Fellow. Ruhl, a 1903 Harvard graduate, was editor and publisher of the Medford Mail-Tribune in Oregon from 1911-1967.
Darom will study gender issues and the relationship between feminism and messages conveyed by popular culture.
- Wedding Crushers: Does Israel Hassle non-Jewish Spouses?
- An Odyssey From Birthright to the BDS Movement
- Pink Power: Teaching India’s Women How to Fight Back
- How Pink Is Too Pink? Raising Daughters in the Age of Disney
- Why I Didn’t Stand for the Siren
- Meet the Biggest PR Firm in the Middle East: IDF Spokesman’s Unit
- Soldiers Traumatized by Gaza War Forced to Cope on Their Own
Tim de Gier
Tim de Gier is head of digital and a staff writer for the Amsterdam-based Vrij Nederland, a Dutch magazine about culture and politics originally established as a resistance paper during World War II. He is responsible for the publication’s online content and digital strategy. As a writer, he has specialized in technology and economics and focuses mostly on the political side of these subjects, covering issues such as globalization, online activism and new social movements. He started the literature show “Literaturfest” and has interviewed writers from Holland and abroad. His fellowship is partially funded by a grant from the Democracy & Media Foundation (Stichting Democratie en Media) in Amsterdam.
De Gier will examine the intersection of modern leftist theory and the political and economic challenges of digital technology, including the Internet.
Fan Wenxin is a Shanghai-based reporter for Bloomberg News. He has covered a range of stories from China’s thirst for copper and gold to Chinese citizens’ rebellion against suppression. He was part of a Bloomberg team that exposed the wealth of China’s ruling class, reporting that won a George Polk Award as well as awards from the Asia Society, the Overseas Press Club and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Fan previously worked as a researcher for The New York Times in China, where he helped cover the SARS outbreak, Internet activism and China’s growing presence in Africa. His fellowship at Harvard is supported through the Marco Polo Program of Sovereign Bank and Banco Santander.
Fan will study how China’s domestic politics and economy impact its relations with other countries.
Mónica Guzmán is a technology and media columnist for GeekWire, The Daily Beast and Columbia Journalism Review. She is vice chair of the Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Committee and contributed to the Poynter book “The New Ethics of Journalism.” Guzmán was an online reporter for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and for the all-digital seattlepi.com before working for two years with tech startups. She has won regional SPJ awards for columns in GeekWire and The Seattle Times and she was a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes. She is also a pioneer of community and social engagement with readers.
Guzman will examine how journalists can reconsider their roles to meet the demands of online public discourse.
Hamish Macdonald is an international affairs correspondent for ABC News. He has covered stories ranging from war in Ukraine and the rise of ISIS to missing Nigerian schoolgirls and the Gaza conflict. Previously, he worked as an anchor and correspondent for Al Jazeera English. At Australia’s Ten Network, he was creator and host of the documentary series “The Truth Is…?” Macdonald received a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism and a Human Rights Television Award. Britain’s Royal Television Society named him “Young Journalist of the Year” in 2008 and GQ Magazine named him “Media Man of the Year” in 2012. Macdonald is a Ruth Cowan Nash Nieman Fellow. Nash was best known for her work as an Associated Press war correspondent during World War II.
Macdonald will study the intersection of traditional international affairs reporting with innovative, contemporary modes of storytelling to develop new models for collaboration and delivery.
Stephen Maher is a columnist with Postmedia News in Ottawa. He has covered national politics in Canada since 2004, often writing about corruption and electoral wrongdoing. In 2012, after he and a colleague uncovered a telephone voter suppression campaign, he won several journalism awards, including a Michener Award, a National Newspaper Award and the Canadian Hillman Prize. He began his career in 1989 as a reporter for a weekly in Newfoundland and also worked for The Chronicle Herald in Halifax. He has traveled to Haiti and Afghanistan on assignment. In 2013, he published the political thriller “Deadline.” He is the 2016 Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow. Goodman was a 1962 Nieman Fellow and president of Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd.
Maher will study the use and abuse of surveillance by the countries of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance in the absence of effective civilian oversight.
Mary Meehan, a writer at the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, covers health care and general assignment stories. She has written about the high rates of disease in her state as well as criticism of the Affordable Care Act, which has provided health coverage to many previously uninsured. Her work has been honored by the Sunday Magazine Editors Association, the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors, the Addiction Studies Program at Wake Forest University and Investigative Reporters and Editors. Meehan also has worked for the Tribune Newspapers in Phoenix and the Orlando Sentinel.
Meehan will study the impact of the Affordable Care Act and examine barriers to sustained social change and meaningful health improvement among the previously uninsured.
- Bourbon County’s tobacco heritage thwarts proponents of smoking ban
- UK’s ‘Ferrari’ of an emergency room struggles to cut down long wait times
- ARH official uses misinformation, ‘fear mongering’ tactics to get patients to sign up for national health care
- Kids mount up for mutton bustin’ at Lexington Rodeo
- Art is at the heart of a woman’s journey with breast cancer
Grzegorz Piechota is head of the Innovation Lab at Gazeta Wyborcza, the leading daily in Poland and Eastern Europe. At the paper, he has overseen the launch of new magazines and websites, supervised award-winning journalism projects and managed a major reorganization of the newsroom. Piechota began his career in 1996 as a reporter before becoming a news editor. He serves as vice president of The Agora Foundation and is a board member of the International News Media Association. He also organizes digital journalism conferences and hackathons in Poland and runs workshops for journalists in emerging democracies. Piechota is the 2016 William Montalbano Nieman Fellow. Montalbano was a 1970 Nieman Fellow and a prize-winning Los Angeles Times reporter who reported from 100 countries during his 38-year career.
Piechota will study patterns in news content engagement across digital channels to identify news-use triggers as well as media outliers and their best practices.
- My crusade for a better school for my son. “Role of media and journalists in the country’s transformation.” Presentation at Lviv Media Forum, Ukraine 2014
- “Providing Platforms for Community Involvement in Journalism as a Social Good” in “Brave News Worlds. Navigating the New Media Landscape”, International Press Institute and Poynter Insititute, Vienna 2010, p. 60
- “A never-ending Nightmare” in “Crisis Media Management”, Tinius Trust, Oslo 2012, p. 58
Articles by others about my work:
- “The newsonomics of aggressive, public-minded journalism”, NiemanLab, 2012
- “Poland defies stereotypes in pioneering journalism project”, City University London, 2012
- “40,000 citizen journalists working to report one story for your paper? It’s possible, we did it”, Journalism.co.uk, 2007
- “Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza opens online video school”, Journalism.co.uk, 2008
Todd Pitman is bureau chief for The Associated Press in Bangkok, where he oversees coverage of a swath of Southeast Asia stretching from Myanmar to Vietnam. He began his career as a stringer covering Burundi’s civil war. He joined The Associated Press in 2001 as a correspondent in West Africa, where he later served as bureau chief. He has also been posted to Kabul and has covered wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. He is the winner of an Associated Press Managing Editors Award for feature writing and was named journalist of the year by the Society of Professional Publishers in Asia in 2014. Pitman is the 2014 Atsuko Chiba Nieman Fellow. The fellowship honors the memory of Atsuko Chiba, a 1968 Nieman Fellow from Japan.
Pitman will study the causes and consequences of military intervention in emerging nations, and examine ways to advance reporting in countries under army rule.
Anastasia Taylor-Lind is an English-Swedish photographer whose work focuses largely on women, birth rights, population and war. She is a contributor to National Geographic magazine and a TED Fellow. In 2014, she published her first book, “Maidan – Portraits from the Black Square,” which documents the Ukrainian uprising in Kiev. Her images have been exhibited in spaces such as the Saatchi Gallery, the Frontline Club, and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her award-winning work has appeared in GEO, Time, The New Yorker, The Sunday Times Magazine, Telegraph magazine and Vanity Fair. She is a Ruth Cowan Nash Nieman Fellow. Nash was best known for her work as an Associated Press war correspondent during World War II.
At Harvard, Taylor-Lind will study the ways women are portrayed in ancient and modern conflict.
Wendi C. Thomas
Wendi C. Thomas is a columnist for The Memphis Flyer. Her work explores racial justice and economic inequality. From 2003 to 2014, she was the metro columnist and assistant managing editor at The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. Previously she was an editor at The Charlotte Observer, a reporter and editor at The Tennessean in Nashville and a reporter at The Indianapolis Star. She was inducted into the Scripps Hall of Fame for local commentary and developed a course on inequality as a visiting scholar at the University of Memphis. She also was a writing fellow at the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C. Thomas is the Louis Stark Nieman Fellow. The fellowship honors the memory of the New York Times reporter who was a pioneer in the field of labor reporting.
Thomas will study how to deepen the public conversation about economic justice using a multimedia news website and civic engagement campaign.
Fungai Tichawangana is managing editor of Zimbo Jam, Zimbabwe’s leading arts and culture website, where he writes, edits and supervises staff. The site has received three National Arts Merit Awards. Tichawangana also is the founding editor of Exist Digital, a group of websites that aim to tell stories beyond the politics that regularly make international news. He has appeared on the list of Zimbabwe’s 100 most influential people under 40 for three years. Tichawangana is the 2016 Nieman-Berkman Fellow in Journalism Innovation. The fellowship is a collaboration between the Nieman Foundation and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and is designed to generate new ideas to advance quality journalism in the digital age. He also is receiving fellowship funding as the 2016 Barry Bingham Jr. Nieman Fellow. Bingham, a 1956 Harvard graduate, was the editor and publisher of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times.
Tichawangana will study digital storytelling techniques, the development of interactive media and online security.
Kim Tingley is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, where she has written about soundscapes in Denali National Park, a psychologist who is developing tests to predict suicides, the ethics and challenges of reproductive medicine, and other health and science issues. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she is also a frequent contributor to OnEarth.org, where she covers emerging trends at the intersection of technology, culture and the environment. Tingley additionally has written about technology for The New Yorker. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.
Tingley will study the history and philosophy of science, specifically the science of navigation and its relationship to memory and sense of place.
Christopher Weyant is a political cartoonist, illustrator and a cartoonist for The New Yorker. His work is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons to more than 850 newspapers, magazines and news websites worldwide. His cartoons have been profiled on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” “The Today Show,” “ABC Nightly News with Diane Sawyer,” FOX, MSNBC and CNN. Weyant’s work is part of the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York City. He won the 2015 Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisel Award for his first illustrated children’s book “You Are (Not) Small.”
Weyant will study the use and repositioning of editorial cartoons as a critical asset to journalism’s digital business model.
Christine Willmsen is an investigative journalist at The Seattle Times, where she writes about social injustice, government malfeasance, environmental issues and criminal justice. She was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the investigative, public service and breaking news categories and was on the reporting team that won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. She received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Simpson College and won a National Press Club Award, Scripps Howard Public Service Award, SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award and Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. Previously, she worked at the Dayton Daily News. Willmsen is a Murrey Marder Nieman Fellow in Watchdog Journalism. The fellowship honors the memory of Murrey Marder, a 1950 Nieman Fellow who helped found the Nieman Watchdog Project.
She will study emerging toxins and chemicals that threaten the health and safety of the workforce as well as corporate and industry influences on occupational health policy development.
- How gun ranges are poisoning workers and shooters across U.S.
- Mentally ill homes violate state laws
- The Price of Protection: Civil Commitment of sex offenders
- Lender seizes desperate borrowers’ homes
- Coaches Who Prey — the Abuse of Girls and the System that Allows It
- Creator and Content Developer for The Solo Cook
Wonbo Woo is a producer for “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.” He joined NBC in 2012 after 12 years at ABC News. He has covered politics, breaking news, religion and features, but focuses on stories of human suffering and personal triumph. His field assignments include the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Egyptian revolution and the Newtown school shooting in Connecticut. He has produced interviews with Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and with candidates Barack Obama, John McCain and Mitt Romney. He is a two-time Emmy winner and was part of teams that won DuPont and Murrow awards.
Woo will study the way major media events impact communities and examine the collateral effects of competitive news coverage on towns and residents after the spotlight fades.