Speaker Bios

Joshua Benton is director of the Nieman Journalism Lab. Before spending a year at Harvard University as a 2008 Nieman Fellow, he spent 10 years in newspapers, most recently at The Dallas Morning News. His reports on cheating on standardized tests in the Texas public schools led to the permanent shutdown of a school district and won the Philip Meyer Journalism Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has reported from 10 foreign countries, has been a Pew Fellow in International Journalism, and three times has been a finalist for the Livingston Award for International Reporting. Before working in Dallas, he was a reporter and rock critic for The Toledo Blade. A self-proclaimed “big nerd” Benton started blogging when Bill Clinton was still president. He now serves as the faculty/staff advisor for The Harvard Crimson and travels widely both in the United States and internationally to speak on media issues and the future of journalism.

Callie Crossley is host of “The Callie Crossley Show” on Boston’s WGBH-FM and offers regular commentary on media for “Beat the Press,” which airs on WGBH-TV, and for Fox25 TV’s “Morning News Show.” She also appears occasionally on national news and information programs including CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” “PBS NewsHour” and “The Takeaway” and is a contributor to “Tell Me More with Michel Martin.” Crossley is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow who lectures at colleges and universities about the collision of old and new media, media and politics, media literacy and the intersection of race, gender and media. She is also program manager at the Nieman Foundation, directing the speakers program. Prior to her current work, Crossley was a producer for ABC News’ “20/20” and produced “Bridge to Freedom,” the Oscar-nominated hour of the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965.” She has won major film and television awards, including a national Emmy, a Peabody, a Christopher, an Edward R. Murrow award, and the top Alfred I. duPont-Columbia award (Gold Baton). Crossley was a 1983 Nieman Fellow and received a fellowship from the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. She holds honorary degrees from Pine Manor College and Cambridge College.

Bob Giles became the curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard in 2000 after working for nearly 40 years in newspapers. Previously, he had been editor and publisher of The Detroit News. From 1977 to 1986, Giles was executive editor and then editor of the Democrat & Chronicle and the Times-Union in Rochester, N.Y. Before joining the Nieman Foundation as curator, Giles was a senior vice president of The Freedom Forum, where he served as editor-in-chief of The Freedom Forum’s Media Studies Journal. His career began in 1958 at the Akron Beacon Journal. As managing editor in 1970, he directed coverage of the campus shootings at Kent State, for which the newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize. Also under his editorship, The Detroit News won a Pulitzer in 1994 for the paper’s disclosures of a scandal in the Michigan House Fiscal Agency. Giles is an eight-time Pulitzer Prize juror and is the author of “Newsroom Management: A Guide to Theory and Practice.” He is a graduate of DePauw University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1966. He received an honorary doctorate in journalism from DePauw in 1996 and also won the Scripps-Howard Foundation’s Distinguished Journalism Citation in 1978 for “outstanding public service in the cause of the First Amendment.”

Jeff Howe is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, where he covers the media and entertainment industry, among other subjects. In June of 2006 he published “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” in Wired. He has continued to cover the phenomenon in his blog, crowdsourcing.com, and published a book on the subject for Crown Books in September 2008. Before coming to Wired he was a senior editor at Inside.com and a writer at the Village Voice. In his 15 years as a journalist he has traveled around the world working on stories ranging from the impending water crisis in Central Asia to the implications of gene patenting. He has written for Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, Mother Jones and numerous other publications. Howe is a 2010 Nieman Fellow.

Melissa Ludtke, who has been editor of Nieman Reports since 1998, began her journalism career at Sports Illustrated in the early 1970s, reporting on major league baseball, professional basketball and working on a column about TV and radio coverage. In 1977, she became the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit involving equal access for women reporters to be able to interview major league players. The case was resolved in her favor. In the 1980s, she became a correspondent for Time magazine covering the 1984 Olympics, social policy issues, with a focus on children and family issues, and politics. Following her Nieman Fellowship in 1992, she authored a book, “On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America,” and worked for various nonprofit organizations, including the Casey Journalism Center for Families and Children. In the year her book was published (1997), she became a mother when she adopted her daughter from China.

Beth Macy has been a features writer at The Roanoke Times since 1989 and gravitates toward stories that feature real-life struggles of ordinary people, with profile articles that have garnered national feature-writing awards and Virginia Press Association honors. Macy has published freelance articles in salon.com, The Christian Science Monitor and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and has taught literary journalism at Hollins University. She is currently a 2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Lisa Mullins is a 2010 Nieman Fellow, on leave from her job as chief anchor and senior producer of the international public radio news magazine “The World,” a co-production of the BBC, Public Radio International and WGBH in Boston. In addition to hosting the program from Boston Mullins has produced and reported from China, Albania, Cuba, Mexico, Egypt, Turkey, Northern Ireland and South and North Korea. Last fall, she received the top Clarion Award for feature reporting for her story on her 24 hours at a North Korean tourist resort. Mullins previously worked for Far Reaching Communications, producing documentaries including “The Vegetable Chronicles,” an award-winning series about the links between diet and disease. For six years, she hosted the American broadcast of the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day concert, performed in the Austrian capital. Public radio program directors across the United States have named Lisa Mullins one of the best announcers in the public radio system. Following her Nieman year, she will be heading to Cambridge, England as a Templeton Fellow to study issues around religion and science.

Alan Murray is deputy managing editor and executive editor, online, for The Wall Street Journal. He has editorial responsibility for the Journal’s web sites, including WSJ.com and MarketWatch and the Journal’s books, conferences and television operations. Prior to his current position, Murray was assistant managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, and author of the paper’s “Business” column, which runs every Wednesday.

Previously, he served as CNBC’s Washington, D.C., bureau chief and was co-host of “Capital Report with Alan Murray and Gloria Borger.” While working at CNBC, he also wrote the Journal’s weekly “Political Capital” column.

Murray joined The Wall Street Journal in 1983, as a reporter covering economic policy. He was named Washington deputy bureau chief in January 1992 and became bureau chief in September 1993. During his tenure as bureau chief, the Washington bureau won three Pulitzer Prizes, as well as many other awards. He began his journalism career in June 1977 as the business and economics editor of the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times. He joined the Congressional Quarterly in Washington as a reporter in June 1980, and the following year became a reporter at the Japan Economic Journal in Tokyo on a Luce Fellowship Murray is the author of three best-selling books: “Revolt in the Boardroom, The New Rules of Power in Corporate America,” published by HarperCollins in 2007; “The Wealth of Choices: How the New Economy Puts Power in Your Hands and Money in Your Pocket,” published by Random House in 1991; and “Showdown at Gucci Gulch: Lawmakers, Lobbyists and the Unlikely Triumph of Tax Reform,” co-authored with Jeffrey Birnbaum and published by Random House in 1987. “Gucci Gulch” received the American Political Science Association’s Carey McWilliams Award in 1988. Murray also garnered two Overseas Press Club awards for his writings on Asia, as well as a Gerald Loeb award and a John Hancock award for his coverage of the Federal Reserve.

Murray serves on the Governing Council of the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and is a member of the Gridiron Club, The Economic Club of New York and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served on the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina.

James Reynolds has been a BBC foreign correspondent since 1998. He was posted first to Santiago, Chile, where he covered events across Latin America, including the arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile, the cocaine trade in Bolivia and the guerrilla war in Colombia. He then moved to Jerusalem and spent five years covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as the Iraq War. His most recent posting was to Beijing, where he covered the continuing rise of China. He currently is a 2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Vivian Schiller is a media executive and journalist with more than 20 years experience in the industry. She joined NPR as president and CEO in January 2009 after working at The New York Times Company, where she served as senior vice president and general manager of NYTimes.com.

As president and CEO, Schiller oversees all NPR operations and initiatives, including the organization’s partnerships with 800+ member stations. She is charged with assuring the fiscal and operational integrity of NPR, offering a commitment to continuous strategic growth, and building the organization and its philanthropic base in ways that support the mission of NPR and stations.

During her tenure at The New York Times, Schiller led the day-to-day operations of NYTimes.com, the largest newspaper web site on the Internet, overseeing product, technology, marketing, classifieds, strategic planning and business development. Before joining NYTimes.com, she spent four years as senior vice president and general manager of the Discovery Times Channel, a joint venture of The New York Times and Discovery Communications. Under her leadership, the Discovery Times Channel tripled its distribution while achieving critical acclaim for its award winning journalistic programming.

Previously, Schiller served as senior vice president of CNN Productions, where she led CNN’s long-form programming efforts. Documentaries and series produced under her auspices earned multiple honors, including two Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, and five Emmys. Schiller began her career as a simultaneous Russian interpreter in the former Soviet Union, which led her to documentary production work for Turner Broadcasting.

Kevin Sites is a 2010 Nieman Fellow and award-winning journalist who has reported from nearly every region of the world—from the Middle East to South America, from Central Asia to Eastern Europe. As a solo journalist, or “SoJo,” he carries a backpack of portable digital technology on the job to shoot, write, edit and transmit multimedia reports.

Working as Yahoo!’s first news correspondent, Sites covered every major conflict in the world from 2005 to 2006. “Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone” reported stories that often were under-covered or overlooked by mainstream media for Yahoo!’s global audience of 400 million users.

His coverage won numerous awards, including the 2006 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism. Forbes also listed him as one of 2007’s "Web Celeb 25." Hot Zone also won the prestigious Webby Award in 2007 for coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict and was identified as the best online journalism site by both the National Press Club and The National Headliner Awards.

Sites’s first book, “In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars,” shares intimate accounts of his journeys throughout 2005 and 2006. His controversial and award-winning war blog, www.kevinsites.net, revolutionized the genre as one of the first blogs that combined text, digital images and audio to provide readers with a behind-the-lines look at the war in Iraq and its coverage by mainstream media. Wired magazine named Sites the recipient of their RAVE Award in 2004—the first ever for blogging.

Sites’s career spans cable and network news as well as print journalism. As a producer for NBC News, he received an Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage of the Kosovo war and was nominated for a national Emmy Award for contributions to a series on landmines. He has published numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, including Popular Science, BlackBook and The New Times, among others.

Anita Snow is a 2010 Nieman fellow and a veteran journalist who has spent most of her career working for The Associated Press in Latin America. Before coming to Cambridge last year, she was the AP’s bureau chief in Havana for a decade, single-handedly opening the office in 1999 after the news organization’s 30-year absence from the island. In Cuba, she covered stories including the custody fight over Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, who was rescued at sea off the coast of Florida after a boat wreck, and the illness and eventual resignation of leader Fidel Castro. Previously, Snow worked for the AP in Mexico and Central America for more than six years, first as a correspondent and later as the regional news editor. She will return to the AP in a still-undecided role this summer. Snow also worked earlier as a metro reporter for the Orange County Register in Southern California. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton, and a master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University.

Shankar Vedantam is a national science writer at The Washington Post who is currently on leave as a 2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Between 2006 and 2009, Vedantam authored the weekly “Department of Human Behavior” column in the Post and is the winner of several journalism awards including the Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship on Science and Religion, the World Health Organization Journalism Fellowship and the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship. He recently released a new book, “The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives.” The idea for the book grew out of a Sunday magazine cover story Vedantam wrote for the Post called “See No Bias.” That story focused on the effects of unconscious prejudice. Over time, he came to see that unconscious prejudice was only a special case of a larger phenomenon that affected everything from how people fall in love to why they get divorced, from how nations go to war to why they do nothing as genocides unfold.