Class of 2023
100 Countries and Counting
With the selection of the 2023 class of fellows, Nieman marked a milestone: We welcomed our first-ever fellow from Cambodia and with her, our 100th Nieman nation. Since Nieman opened its doors to international journalists in 1951, the global reach of the fellowship has grown steadily and become an important contribution to strengthening journalism worldwide.
Many of the fellows come from or report in countries where press freedom is tightly restricted or under attack. Among them we have two Ukrainians working to cover their country and the war raging there; an Afghan journalist who was evacuated from Kabul when the Taliban took control last August; a magazine editor who was imprisoned in Myanmar for six months; and a podcast host in Russia who embraces her dubious designation as a “foreign agent.” Others keep watch from equally precarious posts.
At Harvard, the fellows are studying issues related to migration, race, gender and government repression of journalists; they’re looking for ways to reinvent newsrooms and elevate the stories of marginalized communities; and they’re examining how journalism can be used to bolster democracy, combat the threat of misinformation and more effectively communicate the impact of climate change.
Fahim Abed was a local reporter for The New York Times in Afghanistan until the Taliban takeover of the country in August 2021. He was evacuated from Kabul with a number of his colleagues and relocated to the United States. Abed was part of the New York Times team that won an Overseas Press Club Award for coverage of Afghanistan. Prior to joining the Times in 2016, he worked as a producer and reporter with Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, the BBC World Service and various local outlets in Afghanistan. He is a 2019 alumni of the East West Center’s fellowship program and an Afghanistan Observatory Scholar with New America. In the spring of 2022, he joined the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a visual journalist through the World Association of News Publishers’ Afghan Journalist Appeal program.
Adefemi Akinsanya is an international correspondent and anchor for Arise News in Lagos, Nigeria. She has covered a variety of topics including police brutality, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian population, crisis management, business and economic development, plastic pollution, health and race. She previously worked as a producer for Al Jazeera English, the Turkish public broadcaster TRT World and Reuters. In October 2021, Akinsanya was assaulted by Nigerian police live on air while covering the anniversary of the #EndSARS anti-police brutality protests.
She is studying how deteriorating media freedom in her country is connected to the protests against police violence. She also is working on building a news management platform to expand journalism jobs and help reporters tell the stories of marginalized communities.
Dotun Akintoye is a staff writer at ESPN. As a writer and editor whose work has appeared in print, digital, audio and television formats, he has taken on a range of stories: profiles of social media influencers and combat sports champions as well as features on the future of performance-enhancing fecal transplants, the politicization of Black athletes and the first professional transgender boxer in the United States. He was a finalist for the 2022 National Magazine Award in profile writing.
He is researching the war on terror and the relationship between political violence and sports, examining events like the 1972 Munich Games, the 1996 Atlanta Games, the 2008 Sri Lanka Marathon and the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Sheikh Sabiha Alam
Sheikh Sabiha Alam is a senior reporter for the daily Prothom Alo newspaper in Bangladesh. From Dhaka, she writes news stories, features and analytical pieces on crime, terrorism, human rights and politics. She also has reported extensively on health and child rights issues. She previously worked for the BBC, bdnews24, the first online daily in Bangladesh, and The Daily Star, the country’s most popular English daily. Alam’s stories have won UNICEF’s Meena Media Award four times; she also won a Press Trust of India award and another honor for her report on countering violent extremism, presented by the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
She is studying human rights atrocities and forced migration and will examine the stories of victims, witnesses, government officials and historians.
- Kishore kept in unknown place for 69 hrs, beaten, quizzed about cartoons
- Torture in police custody: Many compromise out of fear after filing cases
- Failure of all forces led to militant attack
- Magnetic pillars used down the decades to dupe people
- Digital Security Act: Even children are not spared
- Human rights voices weaken under pressure
- No attention given to alarming rise in juvenile crime
Amanda Becker is the Washington correspondent for The 19th, a nonprofit newsroom reporting on the intersection of gender, politics and policy. At the digital-first startup, she focuses on how women in elected office wield power to shape policy. For the past 15 years, she has covered politics, labor movements, lobbying, the White House, Congress and other institutions for newsrooms that include Reuters, Roll Call and The Washington Post. Becker’s reporting has also been published or republished in The New York Times, USA Today, Glamour magazine and LA Weekly, and her coverage has aired on National Public Radio.
She is studying the news consumption habits of women to understand gender differences and susceptibility to misinformation and participation in anti-democratic movements.
Deborah Berry is a Washington, D.C.-based national correspondent for USA Today, covering civil rights, voting rights and politics. She has also worked for Gannett’s Washington bureau, Newsday, Knight-Ridder’s Washington bureau and The Providence Journal. She was part of the Newsday team that won a 1997 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800. She also has won awards from The Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists, including two in 2021 for stories about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. She was the lead reporter behind the multimedia civil rights project “Seven Days of 1961,” which focuses on pivotal moments in the movement that still inform social justice protests today.
Berry is studying the pivotal role African American women have played in local and national politics from the civil rights movement to the Black Lives Matter movement, with a focus on voter registration and the pursuit of elected office.
- They held a ‘read-in’ at a whites-only library in 1961 and helped end segregation. Meet the Tougaloo Nine.
- In New Jersey’s most segregated county, racism and coronavirus made a ‘vicious circle’
- 1619: Searching for Answers. The Long Road Home
- 1619: Searching for Answers: I was writing about colonial America’s first enslaved Africans. I was stunned to find my ancestors, too.
- ‘People ought to get used to seeing us’: More Black women are running for office
Olga Churakova is an independent Russian journalist and podcast host who covers political developments in Russia. She previously worked for the investigative journalism outlets IStories and for Proekt (The Project), where she wrote about corruption, internal Russian policies and protests in Belarus. In July 2021, Russian authorities banned Proekt’s work and labeled Churakova a “foreign agent.” The designation was intended to discredit her and limit her ability to work, but instead led her to start the popular podcast “Hi, You’re a Foreign Agent.” Working outside of Russia now, she and her co-host Sonya Groysman discuss their professional challenges and the problems faced by other journalists in the same situation. The podcast received the Medusa Award as the best podcast in Russian, and with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, it was included in the selection of the best anti-war media projects. Churakova was nominated for the Russian Editorial Board award more than 15 times, and was shortlisted for the European Press Prize for “Master and Chef,” an investigation about Russia’s presence in Libya. Churakova began her career in 2012 at the daily Novaya Gazeta and has also worked for the business daily Vedomosti and Dozhd TV (TV Rain) as a political journalist.
She is studying the predicament of individual journalists maligned as foreign agents or public enemies by governments attempting to restrict their funding, reporting and impact.
Olga Churakova on Facebook
Ashish Dikshit is the editor of BBC News Marathi, one of the fastest growing news divisions of the BBC World Service. Based in New Delhi, he leads the BBC’s Diversity & Inclusion chapter in India. He is one of the first editors to come out openly as gay in the traditionally conservative Indian-language press. He has worked in various positions in English-language national newsrooms as well as Marathi-language news channels serving a population of 80 million in western India. He previously worked as a senior correspondent for the digital start-up TheQuint.com and as news editor for IBN Lokmat, a leading Marathi news channel. He has covered several elections, parliamentary sessions, bomb blasts, anti-corruption movements and natural disasters.
He is studying methods for effectively diversifying newsrooms in the country to be more inclusive of caste, religion, gender and sexuality, as well as ways to enhance coverage of underprivileged communities.
Angie Drobnic Holan
Angie Drobnic Holan is editor-in-chief of PolitiFact, the national politics fact-checking website at the Poynter Institute. From Washington, D.C., she leads PolitiFact’s coverage of U.S. politics, political campaigns and the federal government and its fact-checking of misinformation on social media. She was a reporter with PolitiFact when it launched in 2007 and was on the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2009. She started her career as a reporter at local newspapers in New Mexico, Louisiana and Alabama, where she covered local government, politics and business.
She is studying whether journalism can have a causal effect on the preservation of democracy and, if so, how.
Pinar Ersoy is a BBC editor based in Istanbul. She runs BBC Monitoring’s Turkey team, which reports and analyzes news from the media with a special focus on diplomacy and geopolitics. With a career spanning nearly 20 years, she previously led foreign news teams in the Turkish dailies Milliyet and Cumhuriyet. She served as Milliyet’s Washington D.C., correspondent between 2012-2015, covering U.S.-Turkey ties as well as American politics and society. Her exclusive reporting from the White House was honored by the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) in 2013. Ersoy was trained at France’s École Supérieure de Journalisme de Lille.
She is examining successful newsroom innovation and transformation to identify solutions that can enhance quality journalism globally.
Darryl Fears is a reporter on The Washington Post’s climate team who covers environmental justice — the intersection of race, inequality, poverty and disproportionate pollution. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2022 for “a sweeping series of stories about environmental racism.” He also received a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for his contribution to a groundbreaking investigative series about the alarming impact of climate warming on hotspots across the globe. During his tenure at the Post, Fears has covered national race and ethnicity issues, immigration and federal prison sentencing disparities. He was one of three staff members who conceptualized the award-winning 2006 series, “Being A Black Man.” In recent years, he has reported on the Interior Department, wildlife and the Chesapeake Bay. Before joining the Post, he worked for the Detroit Free Press, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Times.
He is studying the current and historic impact of federal, state and local government decisions on air quality and health in Black, immigrant and low-income communities.
- On land, Australia’s rising heat is ‘apocalyptic.’ In the ocean, it’s worse
- Shingle Mountain: How a pile of toxic pollution was dumped in a community of color
- The island where it rained oil
- To stop a scrapyard, some Latino activists in Chicago risked everything
- The racist legacy that many birds carry. Ornithology reckons with its past
- A snowy owl bonanza, thanks to a stubby-legged rodent: the lemming
Danny Fenster is editor-at-large for Frontier Myanmar, an award-winning investigative news magazine covering business and politics. He was imprisoned by Myanmar’s junta for nearly six months in 2021 for his reporting on military-linked businesses but was released following negotiations led by former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson. He received the National Press Club’s John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, which recognizes journalists “who bravely push to disclose the truth in trying circumstances.” Before moving to Southeast Asia, Fenster worked for news outlets including The Daily Iberian, The Current, Deadline Detroit and Model D in southern Louisiana and Detroit, Michigan, where his writing and reporting on culture, race and politics won numerous local and state journalism awards.
He is studying how journalists in exile are using emerging digital tools to continue reporting on repressive regimes, as well as the impact of Western foreign policy responses to these governments on reporters’ ability to continue working.
- ‘I will never forgive’: How one Yangon township defied dictatorship
- Danny Fenster Told Last Year How An Eminem-Obsessed Restaurateur Gave Myanmar Tourists A Taste Of Detroit
- Japan-backed luxury hotel and office complex will enrich military, says rights group
- Owners set to sell their ‘ethical’ US brewery to beer giant accused of funding Rohingya genocide
- Still in Mourning: Families of murder victims wait for justice as cases remain unsolved
- The Preposterous Battle Over John’s Carpet House
Elisabeth Goodridge is the deputy travel editor for The New York Times. In her 14 years at the Times, she has assisted in the newsroom’s digital-first transformation in editorial roles in the Washington bureau and on the Metro desk and as the company’s first editorial director for newsletters. Previously, she worked at The Associated Press and The Boston Globe, among other outlets. She was part of the 2020 Travel team that won seven Lowell Thomas awards on coverage of travel and the pandemic. Her other honors include a NY Press Club award for a project she conceived and oversaw: “What Makes a New York City Kid?”
She is examining how travel writing and reporting can be more responsive to the environmental and societal effects of travel on the warming planet.
Renée Kaplan is head of digital editorial development at the Financial Times in London, where she directs newsroom innovation, new editorial products and digital journalism, including newsletters, podcasts and topic verticals and the teams who produce them. She has been instrumental in helping to transform the FT newsroom into a digital-first, audience-focused organization that continues to publish new award-winning forms of digital journalism. Her innovation projects have included the launch of the topic verticals Climate Capital, Cryptofinance and Working It, the FT AudioLab, and data-based tools to help attract more women readers. She works both on content and strategy and also develops new ways to align journalism and business models and monetize the FT’s digital journalism. She has continued to write opinion and culture pieces focused mostly on French society, politics and food. Previously, she was deputy editorial director of the news network France 24 and has worked as a journalist on staff at CNN, CBS News and the New York Observer. Kaplan is the author of a nonfiction book about what makes the French French, “L’Amie américaine: Chroniques d’une New-Yorkaise à Paris.”
She is examining a model of decentralized journalism, focused on experimenting with concepts for a viable new media organization that serves the needs of future audiences that are increasingly more diverse, technologically savvy, content-deluged and institutionally independent.
- French resistance to Anglo-Saxon moralising fades in #MeToo era
- Glamour and getaways: the joy of 1970s French crime films
- Zero-waste restaurants tap growing appetite for sustainability
Natasha Khan is an Asia correspondent for The Wall Street Journal based in Hong Kong. She is a two-time finalist for The Livingston Award for Young Journalists and has been recognized for stories on cancer and bankruptcy in China, the rise of China’s economic might, Hong Kong’s political turmoil and women’s health issues in India. Before joining the Journal in 2017, she spent six years at Bloomberg News covering health and science. There, she also worked on a series of stories that uncovered the financial holdings of China’s ruling class, which received numerous honors, including the George Polk Award for foreign reporting.
She is studying the acceleration of global inequality during the pandemic and how media organizations can advance coverage of stories from developing regions.
- Hong Kong Upheaval Puts Beijing in a Bind
- ‘Mom Says Come Home’: Hong Kong Protests Divide Families
- New Virus Discovered by Chinese Scientists Investigating Pneumonia Outbreak
- Hong Kong’s Covid-19 Death Rate Is the World’s Highest Because of Unvaccinated Elderly
- Inside a Shanghai Mass Quarantine Center: No Showers, Lights On 24/7
Tanya Kozyreva is an investigative reporter based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Her work focuses on geopolitics and high-level corruption worldwide. She previously spent three years at BuzzFeed News, where she examined the shady business dealings of President Donald Trump’s inner circle, and was a member of the FinCEN Files project, a 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalist in international reporting. She also worked on the Pandora Papers, the groundbreaking investigation into global corruption conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Kozyreva has reported on the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military conflict in eastern Ukraine for the journalist-owned Ukrainian broadcaster Hromadske. She also co-founded posipaky.info, a website that helps track the business interests of members of parliament. For the Ukrayinska Pravda news website, she covered the 2016 presidential race in the U.S. and conducted a series of cross-border investigations about questionably sourced funds and offshore accounts used by Ukrainian politicians to pay American lobbyists. As the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine started, she covered the war for The Telegraph, Sky News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The New York Times.
She is working to identify the U.S. regulatory shortfalls that allow criminals to use cryptocurrencies to conceal and launder billions of dollars, as well as the impact of these crimes on working people in the U.S. and overseas.
- Masha is 15, her body is broken and Russians say she’s a fake
- I Spent Weeks on Ukraine’s Front Lines. Everything Has Changed.
- Here’s How Ukraine’s Ousted Government Got Away With $40 Billion
- Three Ukrainian Investigations Into Manafort Deals Are Stalled By US Officials
- Two Unofficial US Operatives Reporting To Trump’s Lawyer Privately Lobbied A Foreign Government In A Bid To Help The President Win In 2020
- With Deutsche Bank’s help, an oligarch’s buying spree trails ruin across the US heartland
- Dirty Dollars
- Pandora Papers: УКРАЇНСЬКІ ПОЛІТИКИ ТА БІЗНЕСМЕНИ У НОВОМУ ОФШОРНОМУ ВИТОКУ (in Ukrainian)
Romy Neumark is a senior anchor at Kan, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation. Based in Jerusalem, she most recently created and hosted the daily television program “Night News” and hosted a weekly radio interview program. She uses the news as a tool for social change, promoting gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness through the unconventional use of the Hebrew language. Neumark leads Kan’s peer mentoring initiative, which cultivates excellence in journalism and growth in the work environment. She previously worked at the nationally broadcast Channel 10 News, where she anchored a daily news program and reported in-depth magazine stories.
Bopha Phorn is an independent journalist based in Phnom Penh and the first Nieman Fellow from Cambodia. She has written for Al Jazeera, Nikkei Asia, Voice of America, Rest of World and The Associated Press, and was previously a senior reporter and editor for The Cambodia Daily. She won the International Women’s Media Foundation’s 2013 Courage in Journalism Award for investigating illegal logging. Phorn’s work with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on an exposé about the World Bank won awards including recognition from the Overseas Press Club of America. In 2018-2019 she was a reporter at ABC, based in New York. She also was a Fulbright Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow.
She is researching how independent media organizations operating under oppressive regimes can collaborate to share information and resources to protect each other and elevate important stories.
Taras Prokopyshyn is publisher and CEO of The Ukrainians Media, an independent media company in Lviv, Ukraine, focusing on high-quality, long-form journalism. He has transformed a volunteer-driven blog into a media ecosystem consisting of four media outlets, including a print magazine, a storytelling and podcast studio and educational projects. He is an ambassador of the reader-revenue approach and has launched one of the most successful audience membership programs in Ukraine. Prokopyshyn received the International News Media Association’s 30 Under 30 Award for outstanding leadership and was shortlisted for the Gongadze Prize for innovation in the Ukrainian media market.
He is studying how to build sustainable independent media companies that provide high-quality journalism in developing countries facing political uncertainty, corruption and low levels of trust and economic prosperity.
Kristofer Ríos, a multimedia journalist, is a producer with Muck Media and the co-director and showrunner of the 2022 HBO Max docuseries Menudo: Forever Young about the Puerto Rican boy band. For the past decade, he has worked as a journalist and filmmaker with a focus on narratives from underrepresented communities, focusing largely on immigration. He has worked at ABC News’ “Nightline” and his journalism has appeared in The Guardian, The Economist, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the Miami Herald and Univision. His work has won awards from the Deadline Club, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and GLADD and he received an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
Ríos is studying U.S. media coverage of immigration and the role of empathy in news reporting. He will create a framework of standards and practices for reporting on traditionally marginalized communities.
Moises Saman is a Spanish-American photojournalist currently based in Jordan. From 2000-2007 he was a staff photographer at Newsday in New York, where he covered local news and features and the global fallout of the 9/11 attacks, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2010, he joined Magnum Photos and since that time he has lived in Egypt, Lebanon, Spain and Japan, with the Middle East as the primary focus of his work. Saman is a regular contributor to National Geographic, The New Yorker and Time, and his work has been recognized by multiple international awards, including honors from World Press Photo and the Overseas Press Club. In 2015, Saman was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography for his work covering the Arab Spring, culminating in the 2016 publication of his first monograph titled “Discordia.”
He is exploring how the visual documentation of armed conflict is consumed, interpreted and, with the use of new technologies, manipulated to shape narratives.
Alex Smith is a radio and print journalist from Kansas City, Missouri, who covers health care for NPR station KCUR and contributes to national coverage as part of the NPR-Kaiser Health News reporting collaboration. His work has appeared in outlets including Scientific American, The Washington Post and Psyche. He won a national and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards for sound and character-rich radio reporting. His work took second place in the beat reporting category of the Association of Health Care Journalists’ annual contest for both 2020 and 2021.
He is studying how journalists can effectively address health misinformation without causing it to spread further.
- A Black gun enthusiast is on a lonely mission to stop Missouri’s suicide crisis
- Inside the Kansas City school teaching students how to cope with the trauma of gun violence
- As climate worsens, environmentalists also grapple with the mental toll of activism
- ‘The Wolf Is At The Door:’ How Missouri’s Garbled Coronavirus Data Misled The Public Until It Was Too Late
Ruth Tam is co-host of the podcast “Dish City,” which explores local food culture, and is a digital editor at WAMU in Washington, D.C. She also guest hosts NPR’s “Life Kit,” where she covers the future of work, personal finance and other topics. Additionally, as an independent illustrator and writer, she often explores personal identity and family traditions. Her visual reporting for DCist on the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement was honored by the Society for News Design and the National Association of Black Journalists.
She is studying how personal identity shapes journalism and will research the rise of first-person writing, personal branding and audience interest in the background of those who deliver the news.
Jorge Valencia is the Latin America correspondent for the public radio program “The World.” He reports on politics, culture and migration across the continent. Based in Mexico City, he joined the program after serving as Mexico correspondent for the Arizona public radio station KJZZ-FM and state government correspondent for North Carolina Public Radio. He began his journalism career covering crime for The Roanoke Times in southwest Virginia. He grew up in downtown Bogotá, Colombia, and the suburbs of Washington D.C.
He is studying how narrative media portray the stories of people in the process of migrating, and how news organizations can more accurately represent them.
- The woman feeding migrants in this rural Guatemalan border outpost
- Are the US and Mexico working together in mass deportations to Guatemala?
- Why People Are Fleeing Honduras
- Crossing Mexico: The New Barrier For U.S. -Bound Migrants
- Francia Marquez: The phenomenon in Colombia’s elections
- Peru’s likely next president is popular with Indigenous voters. It’s made him a target for hate speech.
- Mexican crooner converts heartbreak into joy— and music
- Mexicans to tourists: ‘Please wear your face mask’