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August 16 2012

21:57

Come have a drink with Nieman Lab Monday

Astronomically speaking, there’s still more than a month left of summer. But especially for those of us who work at, attend, or send kids to schools, summer’s bound at least as much by academic calendars as the tilt of Earth’s axis. That means time is short, and that means that it’s time to raise a glass to the future of journalism while it’s still nice out.

So I’m happy to report the return, after some months’ hiatus, of the Nieman Lab happy hour. For our Boston/Cambridge-area readers, it’s a chance to have a beer or two and hang out with us Nieman Labbers, some ink-stained wretches, a few journonerds aspirant and existent, ramen-fueled grad students, the faces behind a few public radio voices, freelancers, bloggers, thinkers, doers, beard-strokers, Action Jacksons, and maybe even a few Nieman Fellows. Be there or see your Googlejuice slowly, inexorably dissipate.

This is happening Monday, August 20, starting around 6 p.m. As before, we’ll be gathering at The Field in Central Square. It’s maybe 20 steps from the Central Square Red Line T stop, so if you can get on a subway in Boston, you’re all set. Here’s a map.

The Field has a nice open-air patio in the back — if there’s room, we might be back there. If not, look for reporter’s notebooks. No agenda, just conversation.

I will personally buy a beer for the first 10 people to find me and repeat the nonsense phrase “Jürgen Habermas” three times.

August 02 2012

18:49

The Future of News As We Know It, July 2012: A new ebook collection from Nieman Lab

It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time to reflect on what we learned in July. And that means it’s time for our second ebook collection, The Future of News As We Know It (*as of July 2012).

Just as we did last month, we swept up our most interesting stories from July into one easy-to-download package for e-readers. It’s designed to look best in Apple’s iBooks, on iPads and iPhones, but it’ll also work well on Kindles, Android phones, or desktop or laptop computers.

This was another good month at the Lab, with a nice mix of breaking news, analysis, and commentary, from our own staff and from outside contributors. (It’s a little bit shorter than June’s ebook — 263 iPad pages vs. 376 for June — but hey, we took a couple days off around July 4, okay? Stop pressuring us.)

As with last month, it’s available in two formats, EPUB and MOBI. EPUB is the best choice for everyone unless you want to read it on a Kindle — then you’ll need the MOBI. (Amazon’s stubbornly refused to get on the EPUB-as-standard bandwagon.)

Q: How do I install this ebook in my ereader?

A: For iBooks on your iPad or iPhone, any of these methods will work:

— Visit this webpage on your iDevice, tap the EPUB download link above, then select Open in iBooks.

— Email the EPUB to yourself and open that email attachment on your iPad or iPhone.

— Move the EPUB into your Dropbox folder and then open it from the Dropbox app on your iDevice.

For other EPUB readers (Nook, Sony Reader, etc.), follow the directions that came with it. You can probably load it via email or USB. If your device has a web browser, downloading it from this web page might work too.

For Kindle, you can load it onto a device by USB or by emailing it to yourself at your Kindle email address. All the options for iBooks will also work for the Kindle app on your iPhone or iPad.

Q: I don’t have an ereader, iPhone, or iPad. Can I read this?

A: Yes! There are a number of good EPUB readers for other devices.

Desktop/laptop computers: There’s the cross-platform Calibre, which is available for Macs, Windows, and Linux. Barnes & Noble’s Nook has apps for Mac, Windows, and Android that will read the EPUB file just fine. Adobe Digital Editions works on Windows and Mac.

For readers interested in sharing: I rather like Readmill, which bills itself as “a curious community of readers, sharing and highlighting the books they love.” It lets you read share highlights within and comments about your EPUB books with other readers. It’s built around an iPad app and stores your books in the cloud.

In browser: You can also read .epubs directly in your web browser, using EPUBReader for Firefox or MagicScroll for Chrome. I’m sure there are others.

Android: There are also a number of EPUB apps for Android. I’ve heard the best is Aldiko.

Kindle apps: The MOBI version of our ebook will open in any of the various Kindle apps, including for Mac, Windows, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, Android, and BlackBerry — or on the web via the Kindle Cloud Reader.

Note that ebook readers are still a growing field, and different platforms choose to display books in different ways. If you do have an Apple device, iBooks will give you the best results.

January 11 2012

16:00

Announcing the Nieman-Berkman Fellowship in Journalism Innovation

For over 70 years here at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, we’ve run the Nieman Fellowships, which allows a couple dozen journalists from around the world to spend a year studying here at Harvard. And today, we’re announcing a new fellowship partner that I’m really excited about.

I’m happy to announce the Nieman-Berkman Fellowship in Journalism Innovation. It’s a joint project between us here at Nieman and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the primary unit of the university dedicated to understanding our digital present and future. Berkman runs its own awesome fellowship program that brings technologists, social scientists, legal scholars, journalists, and others to Harvard. The Nieman-Berkman Fellow will be a full Nieman Fellow and a full Berkman Fellow, able to draw on both communities and help strengthen connections between technology and journalism.

So what’s this Nieman-Berkman Fellowship all about? We’re looking for someone who had a specific course of research or project that they’d like to undertake — something that would have a substantial benefit to the larger world of journalism. We’re intentionally keeping the boundaries of that idea wide open — so proposals might deal with social media, with data visualization, with database analysis, with the underlying business models of online journalism, with newsroom structure, with networked journalism, with mobile consumption patters, or anything else that plays a meaningful part in how digital journalism is evolving. If it’s a subject or field that we write about here at Nieman Lab, it probably makes sense for a proposal for the Nieman-Berkman Fellowship.

This fellowship is also open to a wider range of applicants than the other Nieman Fellowships. For instance, someone who works on the publishing or technology sides of a news organization could be a strong candidate, even if they aren’t reporters or editors.

When the Nieman-Berkman Fellow arrives on campus this fall, he or she will work with Nieman and Berkman to advance the work of the proposal, sharing their work and their findings with readers of Nieman Lab and with the Harvard community. It’s a pretty great gig — one I’d be applying for myself if I weren’t already here!

You can read a lot more about the Nieman-Berkman Fellowship over here, and I’m happy to answer specific questions by email. Because we’re announcing this fellowship a little later than usual, we’ve extended the deadline for applications to February 15 — so you’ve got a little over a month to think up a proposal and apply. This fellowship is open to both U.S. citizens and international applicants; we’ll do interviews with finalists in the spring and, if we find the right person, make an announcement in May. We look forward to seeing your ideas.

(An aside: Americans are also still very much welcome to apply for the traditional Nieman Fellowships, which have a deadline of January 31. Unfortunately, the deadline for international applicants was back in December. I’d strongly encourage any journalist who wants to apply for the Nieman-Berkman Fellowship to also apply for the standard fellowship — that’ll help your odds.)

January 04 2012

16:30

Come work for Nieman Lab

We’re looking for someone to join us in our cozy little Harvard newsroom. Specifically, we have an opening for a staff writer here at the Nieman Journalism Lab. You can see the job posting here.

If you read us regularly, you know the kind of work we do — we look for and write about innovation in news. That can mean innovation at traditional news organizations; that can mean innovation at online startups; that can mean innovation at technology companies that impact how the news gets reported, distributed, and consumed. We cast a wide net; fundamentally, we’re interested in how useful information gets discovered and shared.

A couple years ago, when we had a previous opening, I summed up our ideal candidate this way:

First and foremost, you need to be an excellent reporter: digging up stories, working beats, tracking down journalistic innovation, figuring out what’s new and important in the future of news. You know how to spot a hot one and how to turn it into a story. You ask the right people the right questions. And you’re already dedicated to staying on top of the latest goings-on in the space, through rigorous reading and social media. (You probably spend a not-insignificant chunk of time in Google Reader and/or on Twitter each day, and you like it.)

Second, you’ve got to be an excellent writer. Writing stories for the Lab isn’t exactly the same as writing news stories for a traditional outlet — but it also isn’t the same as writing a blog with your own personality high-beams on. The voice and tone we’ve developed in our 19 [now 37] months of existence is important to us, and you’ll need to be able to write clean copy that both grabs the audience and respects its time.

Third, you have to be a nerd. I don’t mean you have to be a coder (although, hey, great if you are) or a multiplatform, multimedia wiz (although, hey, etc.). I do mean that you’re the kind of person who geeks out about the things we write about here. You’re engaged with the theory and the practice of online journalism. You’ve read some Shirky, some Rosen, maybe some Schudson — for fun. Maybe you can drop a well-timed Habermas reference into dinner conversation. (Okay, I’m going too far here: thoughts on Habermas a plus, but not required.) You have a favorite journalism startup. You’re not a curmudgeon, but you understand their point of view. You don’t just know about MinnPost, ProPublica, Talking Points Memo, EveryBlock, or Spot.us — you’ve got thoughts about them. If asked, you could recite three arguments for and against paywalls.

In other words, you care about all this stuff — it matters to you, and it occupies your thoughts in ways that go beyond just wanting a job.

That’s the kind of person we want around here. If you’ve got those three qualities, just about anything else is negotiable; anyone from a veteran reporter with decades of experience to some punk 22-year-old could be right for the job.

All that still holds true.

This is a great job, if I do say so myself. And — while I hesitate to mention it because I selfishly prefer it when my people aren’t lured away — it puts your work in front of some of the most influential people in journalism today. The last four people who’ve left our little newsroom have all departed for great positions at fine news organizations: outreach/social media editor at The Wall Street Journal, online managing editor at O’Reilly, deputy Congress editor at Politico, and staff writer at The Atlantic.

(This position is to replace Megan Garber, who’s Atlantic-bound. If you’re interested in applying, I’d suggest checking out her past Lab articles to see some of the kinds of work we like.)

If you have any questions about the position, feel free to email me — but don’t send me your resume, clips, or statements of how awesome you are. To actually apply for the job, you need to go to the actual job posting and apply from there. I’d strongly suggest doing so in the next week or so (say, by Jan. 11) — we’re looking to move pretty quickly, and the posting will disappear from the Harvard HR site not too long after that.

One final note, because there’s one line in the posting I always have to explain when we have an opening. It’s the one that says “Note: This is a term appointment ending June 30, 2012, with the possibility of renewal based on funding and department priorities.”

I don’t want people to be scared off by the idea that this is a temporary position — it’s not. Many (nearly all, I believe) Harvard jobs of this type are officially run as a series of one-year term appointments. In the three years since the Lab launched, every full-time position we’ve had has been posted under these terms, and every one of them has been renewed every year. If we’re happy with the work being done (and barring any surprise funding issues), our hope/expectation is that this person would stay well beyond that one year.

Happy to answer questions about it, but to sum up: Don’t hesitate to apply because you think this is a temp job for six months.

December 28 2011

16:00

The 20 most popular Nieman Lab posts of 2011

With the final hours of 2011 ticking away, here’s a look back at the 20 most popular posts, in terms of pageviews, here at the Nieman Journalism Lab. One consistent thread: You guys like reading about The New York Times! Enjoy the rest of this year and see you in 2012.

1. That was quick: Four lines of code is all it takes for The New York Times’ paywall to come tumbling down (March 21, Joshua Benton)

2. Image as interest: How the Pepper Spray Cop could change the trajectory of Occupy Wall Street (Nov. 21, Megan Garber)

3. The New York Times imagines the kitchen table of the future (Aug. 30, Garber)

4. Word clouds considered harmful (Oct. 13, Jacob Harris)

5. Bull beware: Truth goggles sniff out suspicious sentences in news (Nov. 22, Andrew Phelps)

6. The New York Times’ R&D Lab has built a tool that explores the life stories take in the social space (Apr. 22, Garber)

7. Mirror, mirror: The New York Times wants to serve you info as you’re brushing your teeth (Aug. 31, Garber)

8. NPR tries something new: A day to let managers step away and developers play (Aug. 23, Phelps)

9. Designing a big news site is about more than beauty (July 26, Benton)

10. Decline, plateau, decline: New data on The Daily suggests a social media decline and a tough road ahead (April 5, Benton)

11. Call it the Frank Rich Discount: The Sunday New York Times moves from premium product to loss leader — and the best deal for digital access (March 17, Benton)

12. Tweet late, email early, and don’t forget about Saturday: Using data to develop a social media strategy (March 29, Phelps)

13. How a photographer generated over $100,000 through Facebook (Nov. 22, Simon Owens)

14. Pablo Boczkowski: The gap between what reporters write and readers read threatens news orgs’ future (March 11, Benton)

15. The Newsonomics of The New York Times’ pay fence (March 17, Ken Doctor)

16. Here’s what the New York Times paywall looks like (to Canadians)” (March 17, Benton)

17. Vadim Lavrusik: How journalists can make use of Facebook Pages (May 12, Vadim Lavrusik)

18. Maria Popova: In a new world of informational abundance, content curation is a new kind of authorship (June 10, Maria Popova)

19. MIT management professor Tom Malone on collective intelligence and the “genetic” structure of groups (May 4, Garber)

20. “It just feels inevitable”: Nick Denton on Gawker Media sites’ long-in-the-works new layout (Feb. 7, Garber)

Calendar photo by Zsolt Halasi used under a Creative Commons license.

May 24 2011

17:00

Welcome to the new class of Nieman Fellows

It’s official: The 2011-12 class of Nieman Fellows has been announced. These 24 terrific journalists will come to Harvard a few months from now and spend the next academic year investigating subjects that will make them into even better journalists. Since I’ve talked about the fellowship many times before, I thought you might like a chance to see who this year’s winners are.

If you’d like to join their number next year, we’ll open up applications again in the fall. I don’t know for certain yet what the deadlines will be, but they’re traditionally December 15 for international applicants and January 31 for Americans.

U.S. Nieman Fellows in the class of 2012 and their areas of interest:

Jonathan Blakley, foreign desk producer, NPR, will study history, politics and social media in sub-Saharan Africa. He also will examine the domestic media environment in the United States on the cusp of the 2012 presidential election.

Tyler Bridges, an author and freelance journalist based in Lima, Peru, will study the changes, challenges and opportunities for delivering news in the digital era in both the United States and Latin America.

James Geary, editor of Ode magazine and a freelance journalist based in London, will undertake a multidisciplinary study of wit, exploring what wit is and how it enables us to understand and solve complicated social problems, identify and exploit political and business opportunities, achieve psychological and scientific insights and improvise in the arts and in daily life.

Anna Griffin, metro columnist, The Oregonian, will study the evolution and future of American cities, with an emphasis on the role government agencies play in combating poverty and controlling sprawl.

Maggie Jones, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine based inNewton, Massachusetts, will study immigration public policy, law and literature, particularly as they relate to families in the United States and abroad.

David Joyner, vice president for content, Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama, will study the availability of local news and information and its effect on civic engagement. He is the 2012 Donald W. Reynolds Nieman Fellow in Community Journalism.

Dina Kraft, a freelance journalist based in Tel Aviv, Israel, will study dueling national narratives in conflict zones, examining how they are born, evolve and impact their societies. She also will look at attempts to reconcile narratives in countries and regions emerging from decades of unrest.

Kristen Lombardi, staff writer at the Center for Public Integrity, will study the legal and social conditions that promote wrongful convictions, particularly the impact of institutional misconduct and the consequences of systemic resistance to reform.

Megan O’Grady, literary critic for Vogue, will examine the relationship between women novelists, literary criticism and the canon, focusing on postwar American literature and the persistence of gender myths in cultural discourse. O’Grady is the 2012 Arts and Culture Nieman Fellow.

Raquel Rutledge, investigative reporter, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, will examine federal regulation and oversight of the nation’s food supply as it relates to public health. She 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.

Adam Tanner, Balkans bureau chief for Thomson Reuters, will study the expanding computer universe of personal data, including how private firms and governments assemble massive databases on individuals and the implications for business, journalism, the law and privacy. He also will examine techniques of narrative journalism in the Internet era.

Jeff Young, senior correspondent with PRI’s “Living on Earth,” based in Arlington, Massachusetts, will study the full costs of energy sources and how new media might spark a more meaningful discussion of energy choices. Young is the 2012 Donald W. Reynolds Nieman Fellow in Business Journalism.

International Nieman Fellows in the class of 2012 and their areas of interest:

Claudia Méndez Arriaza (Guatemala), editor and staff writer for El Periódico and co-host of the television show “A las 8:45,” which airs on Canal Antigua, will study law and political science to understand the shape of the rule of law in emerging democracies. She also will explore American literature and its links to Latin American culture. She is a 2012 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Latin American Nieman Fellow.

Carlotta Gall (United Kingdom), senior reporter for Afghanistan/Pakistan, The New York Times, will study history, with particular focus on American expansionism, the Middle East and American diplomacy in the region. Gall is the 2012 Ruth Cowan Nash Nieman Fellow. Nash was a trailblazer for women in journalism, best known for her work as an Associated Press war correspondent during World War II.

Carlos Eduardo Huertas (Colombia), investigations editor, Revista Semana, will study how to design a journalism center to produce transnational investigations about Latin America. He is a 2012 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Latin American Nieman Fellow.

Fred Khumalo (South Africa), “Review” editor, Sunday Times, will study the future of publishing in the digital age and the impact, management and financial implications of social media in a changing global society and in the developing world. He also will take courses in creative writing and script writing. His fellowship is supported by the Nieman Society of Southern Africa.

Wu Nan (China), a Beijing-based reporter, will study how new media is empowering people and businesses, changing political dynamics and sparking social change. She is the first Nieman Fellow at Harvard to be supported through Sovereign Bank and the Marco Polo Program of Banco Santander. She also is the 2012 Atsuko Chiba Nieman Fellow. The Chiba fellowship honors the memory of Atsuko Chiba, a 1968 Nieman Fellow.

John Nery, (Philippines), senior editor and columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer, will investigate journalistic assumptions about history and, in particular, explore ways in which Southeast Asian journalists can use greater awareness of historical context to inform their work. Nery is the first Sandra Burton Nieman Fellow. His fellowship is supported by the Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Foundation and honors the memory of journalist Sandra Burton, who reported from the Philippines for Time magazine.

Samiha Shafy (Switzerland), science reporter, Der Spiegel, will study how public policy and economic principles shape the way scientific evidence is translated into action to address global challenges, especially in the context of natural resources management, sustainable development, energy, water, climate change and public health. Shafy is the first Nieman Fellow from Switzerland. She also is the Robert Waldo Ruhl Nieman Fellow. Ruhl, a 1903 Harvard graduate, was editor and publisher of the Medford Mail-Tribune in Oregon from 1910-1967.

Pir Zubair Shah (Pakistan), reporter, The New York Times, will study the art of narrative journalism to develop his ability to present investigative work in a compelling format and make it accessible to a broad audience. Shah is the 2012 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. Shah also is the 2012 Barry Bingham Jr. Nieman Fellow. Bingham, a 1956 Harvard graduate, was the editor and publisher of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times in Kentucky.

David Skok (Canada), managing editor, globalnews.ca, will study how to sustain Canadian journalism’s distinct presence in a world of stateless news organizations and explore the impact new tools of journalism have on the role of the free press. Skok is the Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow. Goodman was a 1962 Nieman Fellow.

Akiko Sugaya (Japan), a freelance journalist based in Boston, will study how social media can promote citizen journalism and enhance the democratic process. She also will explore the new media literacy skills needed to empower the public to actively participate in society through the use of social media. Sugaya is the William Montalbano Nieman Fellow. Montalbanowas a 1970 Nieman Fellow and a prize-winning Los Angeles Times reporter who reported from 100 countries during his 38-year career.

Global Health Reporting Nieman Fellows in the class of 2012 and their areas of interest:

Samuel Loewenberg (United States), a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles, will study neglected factors in global health interventions, foreign aid reform and the role of journalism in increasing accountability.

Rema Nagarajan (India) assistant editor, The Times of India, will study patterns and trends in mortality, fertility and population growth and their relationship with population health, the impact of poverty, class, gender and geography on access to health care and medical ethics.

May 18 2011

14:00

Say hello to Encyclo, our new encyclopedia of the future of news

Today, the Nieman Journalism Lab unveils Encyclo, an encyclopedia of the future of news. We’ve put a lot of work into it, and I hope you’ll check it out.

So what is Encyclo? It’s an attempt to figure out who the most important players and innovators are in the evolution of journalism — and to provide a centralized source for background, context, and the latest news about them. As of this writing, Encyclo is 184 entries on online news sites, newspapers, magazines, broadcast networks, technology companies, and more. We’ve got big and small, everything from The New York Times and The Guardian to The Batavian and Alaska Dispatch.

If you’re a regular Lab reader (or if you follow us on Twitter), you know that every day we’re producing reporting, analysis, and commentary on how the world of journalism is changing. Our mission is to learn about those changes, to identify what’s working and what isn’t, and to do our small part in helping that evolution along.

But our main work emphasizes new developments and the latest news. We think there’s great value in a resource that steps back a bit from the daily updates and focuses on background and context. What is it about Voice of San Diego that people find interesting? How has The New York Times been innovating? What model is Politico trying to achieve? Those kinds of questions are why we decided to build Encyclo.

Anatomy of an entry

For each entry, you’ll find the following:

— A narrative entry that explains what this organization does and why they’re important. It details their most interesting experiments and innovations, what’s worked and why. For the Times, for instance, the entry goes into the paper’s paid-content strategies, its growing API, its embrace of blogging, its approach to apps, and its collaboration with technologists. On many entries there’s also video or audio. Be sure to click “Keep Reading” to see the entire entry.

— A collection of key links about the subject, from around the web. This is a hand-curated list — currently with over 1,200 links — of the most important background and analysis for each entry.

Peers, allies, and competitors, which is just what it sounds like: a list of other outlets and companies that are connected to, similar to, or rivals of the entry in question.

— All our recent Lab stories on the subject; we link directly to the five most recent, and you’re one click away from all the rest.

— And, thanks to our curatorial friends at Mediagazer, recent stories from around the web about the entry.

We’ve also built in tools for sharing (just click the “Share” ribbon at the top of each entry). And we’ve created for each entry an embeddable widget that you can put on your own blog posts or stories. (We’ll be doing that on our stories here.) So if you’re writing something about the Financial Times, you can embed our widget and give your readers quick access to background and the latest news on the newspaper.

And that’s just what Encyclo is today. We’ve got big plans, about which you’ll hear more in the coming months.

Help make Encyclo awesome

We want Encyclo to continue to grow and evolve. When there’s big news on journalism innovation, we want that news to be reflected in Encyclo. And along with updating existing entries — which we’ll do a lot of — we’ll also spend a lot of time thinking of new entries and new kinds of entries.

To do that well, we’ll need your help. For us to be aggressive about making entries better, we need input. Is there something we’re missing in an entry? Is there a link that no longer works? Do we focus too much on one element and not enough on another? Is there any obvious entry we’re missing altogether? Let us know! We’ve got a dedicated page for your input, and you’ll find a “Make this entry better” form at the bottom of each entry page. We’d love your input — we plan on thanking our contributors publicly and sincerely.

Thank yous

There are lots of people to thank for this project. First and foremost is the Knight Foundation. Encyclo wouldn’t have happened without their financial support, which has also enabled us to increase our reporting staff. Thanks to Eric Newton and the rest of the staff there for making this possible.

I’d also like to thank Mark Coddington, who most of you know from This Week in Review, which runs every Friday. Mark wrote most of the words that you’ll see on these entries, and he’ll take the lead on updating them over time. Mark’s as good as it gets.

And finally, I’d like to thank my staff here at the Lab, Megan Garber, Justin Ellis, and Andrew Phelps, who have put in a lot of hours getting Encyclo ready (and who’ll be putting in more time in the coming months and years keeping it updated).

I’m hoping I’ll be able to add you to the list of people to thank, for telling people about Encyclo and by helping us make it a resource for everyone involved with the future of news.

12:50

Dorothy Parvaz, Al Jazeera journalist and Nieman Fellow, released from Iranian custody

Last night, I started writing a post about our friend Dorothy Parvaz, the Al Jazeera English journalist and former Nieman Fellow (class of ’09) who went to Syria to report on the uprising there, then was detained and sent to Iran. It was going to be another post calling for her release, as the Nieman Foundation already had.

I was very happy this morning to find out I can leave that post in draft form: she was released by Iranian authorities overnight and is back in her base in Doha. We’re extremely grateful to all who helped achieve her release, and that she reports she was treated well in Iranian custody. She’ll be heading back to Vancouver soon to visit her family.

Here’s more on her release from the NYT, Seattle Times, and Canadian Press.

April 04 2011

22:30

Come have a drink with Nieman Lab!

Do you ever come to the end of a workday and think: My day would be better — would be complete — if I could share a beverage with the Nieman Lab crew?

Here’s your chance. We’re having our first Lab happy hour Wednesday (that’s April 6) for our Boston-area readers and friends, at The Field.

That’s just a few steps away from the Central Square stop on the Red Line, so anyone near a T station should be able to get there without too much trouble. Here’s a map.

Nothing formal — just a chance for people interested in the future of news to get together. We’ll get there around 6 p.m. and stick around until at least 8, maybe later. The first 10 people to come say hi to me get a free beer. The next 10 get a talking-to about the importance of punctuality. The next 10 get a handshake. Anyone after that: a knowing nod.

January 11 2011

19:30

Two journalism awards to know: Worth Bingham for investigations and Taylor Family for fairness

January is awards entry season in newsrooms across the country — the time when copy machines burn through countless toner cartridges, churning out copies of that great story you wrote back in April, the one that got the mayor thrown in jail.

And since more journalists are facing financial difficulties these days, it’s worth appreciating the journalism awards that attach a goodly-sized chunk of money to the prestige that comes with winning. I want to let you know about two such prizes we administer here at the Nieman Foundation that have deadlines looming: The Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism and the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers.

Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism

First up: the Bingham Prize, named for the late reporter and member of the storied Bingham journalism family. You can read all about the prize here, but here’s the description:

The Worth Bingham Prize honors investigative reporting of stories of national significance where the public interest is being ill-served. These stories may involve state, local or national government, lobbyists or the press itself wherever there exists an “atmosphere of easy tolerance” that Worth Bingham himself once described in his reporting on the nation’s capital. The investigative reporting may cover actual violations of the law, rule or code; lax or ineffective administration or enforcement; or activities which create conflicts of interest, entail excessive secrecy or otherwise raise questions of propriety.

In other words, good old fashioned watchdog reporting. The winner of the Worth Bingham Prize will receive $20,000; past winners include Seymour Hersh, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Dana Priest, Anne Hull, Diana Henriques, Bill Dedman, and other great journalists. We accept entries from newspapers, magazines, and online-only outlets (sorry, broadcasters).

The deadline is coming up quick, though: Entries must be postmarked by this Friday, January 14. So get cracking! Entry details here.

Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers

The second prize is the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers. The prize was established by the family that published The Boston Globe for more than a century, in particular Globe chairman emeritus William O. Taylor. The purpose of the award is “to encourage fairness in news coverage by America’s daily newspapers”:

The guidelines for the Taylor Fairness Award do not offer a definition of fairness. This is deliberate, recognizing that elements of fairness in journalism are diverse and do not easily lend themselves to a precise definition for a journalism competition.

Past winners include the Chicago Tribune, The Hartford Courant, The Charlotte Observer, The Sacramento Bee, and the Globe itself. First prize is $10,000. The contest is only open to newspapers and their websites. You’ve got a little more time to apply for this one: Friday, January 21 is the deadline. Details here.

Good luck!

January 07 2011

16:30

Calling American journalists: It’s time to get serious about your Nieman Fellowship application

The photo above — bucolic and autumnal and sunny — is a bit of a lie at the moment. It’s cold outside. Nonetheless, that image could be a lot like the one you’ll be seeing next August when you arrive at Lippmann House to start your Nieman Fellowship year. But, like the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play, and it’s time for American journalists to get serious about preparing their applications.

(We love non-Americans too — but their deadline passed last month.)

For those just joining us, the Nieman Fellowship is a decades-old opportunity for working journalists to spend an academic year here at Harvard, studying the subjects of their choice. Are you a business reporter who wants a stronger grounding in macroeconomics? A foreign correspondent who needs to dive deeper into contemporary Islam? A statehouse reporter who wants to put the daily political maneuvering in a theoretical context? Then a Nieman Fellowship might be for you.

Those examples are all pretty purpose-driven, but Niemans aren’t tied just to the study plan they propose. They end up taking lit classes with James Wood and Luke Menand, law classes with Alan Dershowitz, government classes with Robert Putnam, science classes with E.O. Wilson and Steven Pinker, history classes with Niall Ferguson, economics classes with Amartya Sen — even if those subjects have little directly to do with their beats back in the office. (I don’t mean to give short shrift to the thousand of Harvard faculty you haven’t heard of — they’re pretty brilliant too.)

Aside from classes, Niemans spend the year in the company of their fellow fellows, who are typically some of the most fascinating people you’ll ever meet. (Speaking as an American Nieman Fellow ‘08, I can say that spending a year with a dozen top non-American journalists prompts a lot of thinking about how the way we operate isn’t the only way.) Perhaps most important, fellows get to soak up all there is to take from Harvard outside the classroom: an endless stream of lectures, lunches with faculty, and engagement with the many smart people who live within a 10-mile radius of campus. And if Harvard isn’t enough for your intellectual interest, there’s a little place called MIT down the street.

All this can be yours, for the low, low cost of an application, plus evidence of your general awesomeness. The deadline for applications is January 31, which means you’ve got some time to assemble yours. We typically get around 10 applications for every fellowship spot we have to offer, so it’s competitive — but that shouldn’t dissuade you from giving it a try.

You can learn lots about the fellowship program on the main Nieman Foundation site; click through the links in the orange bar at the top. Here are a few of the questions I usually hear from applicants:

Q. Am I too young (or too old) for a Nieman?

A. No! There is no age requirement for a fellowship. We require at least five years’ experience in journalism, which in practice means if you’re 22, you’re unlikely to qualify. (Those middle-school years spent as a paperboy don’t count as journalism experience.) I’d say most of our fellows run between late 20s and mid 40s, but that’s just the typical range — there have been younger and older, and all are welcome to apply. The perfect applicant will have enough experience to show a strong record of achievement, but still have plenty of years ahead of her to use what she learns as a fellow.

Q. I’m a [photographer|documentary filmmaker|blogger|public radio producer|opinion writer|database nerd|news librarian|magazine editor]. Am I eligible?

A. Yes! (Well, assuming you meet the other requirements, like the five years bit.) Historically, most Niemans worked at newspapers, but the current batch of fellows includes journalists who’ve worked primarily in magazines, TV, radio, wire services, and online. And they’re not all reporters — editors, photographers, documentarians, and others are welcome, so long as you work in the production of journalism and can show evidence of your general awesomeness. Also worth noting: Freelancers are welcome.

Personally, I’d love to see more fellows from the world of online journalism — developers, data journalists, entrepreneurial types, or reporters and editors who’ve worked at startups or nonprofit outlets. The kind of people we write about here at the Lab, in other words. There are lots of opportunities through Berkman, MIT CMS, and here at the Lab for digitally oriented fellows to improve their game and plan their contribution to the evolution of journalism. If you’re a regular Lab reader and you’re generally awesome, you’d probably be a strong candidate.

Q. I see there are specific fellowships reserved for certain kinds of reporters. I’m not one of those kinds. Am I eligible?

A. Yes! We do have specific fellowship slots we typically reserve for journalists who cover the arts, business, global health, and smaller communities. That’s great news if you fall in one of those categories — but most of the fellowships are open to all comers, no matter your beat.

Q. What do I tell my boss? He’ll notice if I’m gone for a year.

A. Traditionally, Niemans have asked their employer before assembling their application if they can have a leave of absence for their time at Harvard, so that their job is waiting for them back at their newsroom when the year’s up. We ask those employers to send us a letter confirming the leave offer.

But we recognize that employers aren’t always as willing to do that as before, even though journalists typically return from a Nieman ready to rock and roll and excited to use all they’ve learned. Talk to your boss and see if a leave is possible; if not, that doesn’t mean you can’t still apply. You’ll just have a difficult conversation ahead of you if you’re accepted. As we say:

We encourage news managers to work with fellowship applicants to help them shape their aspirations for a year at Harvard. We also encourage potential Nieman applicants to be upfront with their news organization’s leadership about their intentions, whether or not a supporting letter is forthcoming. In the absence of such a letter of support, however, a candidate is still eligible to apply for a Nieman Fellowship.

Some employers continue to pay part of a journalist’s salary while they’re here, which is awfully nice of them. But probably the most important thing they can do is keep you on your work health insurance while you’re a fellow, which will save you from trying to arrange it on your own.

Q. What’s the most important part of the application?

A. The application involves two brief essays, four letters of recommendation, and samples of your work, plus a form. Details here. Your general awesomeness should likely seep through every piece of that — your clips/portfolio should be impressive, your recommendations should be impressive. But the essays are the heart of it; a mediocre essay can sink an otherwise solid application. Give special thought to the study plan, which is our best evidence of what you’ll actually do with a fellowship.

Q. What about money? I like money.

A: Details here. The exact dollar figures vary on the size of the family you’re bringing to Cambridge. If you’re flying solo, you’re looking at around $65,100 for the academic year. (You’re only a fellow for 10 months, so that’s about the same as what you’d get at an annual salary of about $78K.) If you’ve got three young children, that goes up to $77,000 (which roughly equates to a $92K salary, annualized.)

Q. My husband/wife is generally awesome. Can he/she come too?

A. Yes! We even have a special name for the spouses (and significant others) of fellows: Nieman Affiliates. Arguably, affiliates get the best deal of all — they can take classes at Harvard too and have nearly the entire Nieman experience, but without some of the responsibilities that come with being a fellow. (We host a number of events each week at which fellows are expected to attend; affiliates can attend or not at their option.)

We know that most families are dual income these days, so we try to make the year family friendly and rewarding for a Nieman spouse. On the other hand, some spouses choose to stay back in their hometown when their spouse heads to Cambridge, either for job or family reasons. Either way is fine with us.

Q. What does the fellowship have to do with the Nieman Journalism Lab?

A. The fellowships and the Lab are both projects of the Nieman Foundation. The fellowships have been around over 70 years; the Lab’s been around about two. We love it when fellows want to work with us in figuring out what we can about the future of journalism, and I play a role in organizing some of the fellows’ lectures and activities. But working with the Lab is completely optional — fellows are free to spend all year working with us if they choose, and they’re also free to focus completely on their own interests and just wave at us from a distance.

As someone who’s been through the process, I get lots of emails this time of year from people working on their applications, looking for advice. I’m happy to talk you through any questions you may have. If they’re questions that would be of interest to others, please leave a comment below and I’ll respond. If it’s something more unique to you, drop me an email at joshua_benton@harvard.edu and I’ll get back to you. One final piece of advice: Get started on your application now. You don’t want to be running to a FedEx drop box the night of January 31, hoping you remembered to include that last front-page story you just photocopied.

December 16 2010

13:30

Live today: A Nieman conference on the role of secrecy in journalism; follow along through video and blogs

Today, the Nieman Foundation is hosting a one-day conference entitled From Watergate to WikiLeaks: Journalism and Secrecy in the New Media Age. If you’re here in Cambridge for the event, come say hello! (We’re in the basement, by the washing machine.) But if you’re watching from afar, you can watch a video livestream and follow along with our liveblogs below, throughout the day. (You can also watch #niemanleaks on Twitter.)

The schedule in brief is below (all times Eastern); in full, it’s here:

9:00 a.m.: Introduction by Bob Giles and Barry Sussman

9:10 a.m.: Opening keynote by Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the Associated Press

10:00 a.m.: Panel I on the international perspective, featuring journalists from Romania, Chile, South Africa, and Cambodia (Stefan Candea, Alejandra Matus, Rob Rose, and Kevin Doyle, respectively)

11:30 a.m.: Panel II on the U.S. perspective, featuring Walter Pincus (Washington Post), Danielle Brian (Project on Government Oversight), Clint Hendler (CJR), and Maggie Mulvihill (New England Center for Investigative Reporting)

1:15 p.m.: Keynote by Bill Keller, executive editor, The New York Times

2:30 p.m.: Panel III on the future of transparency, featuring Teru Kuwayama (Basetrack), Bill Allison (Sunlight Foundation), Aron Pilhofer (New York Times, DocumentCloud), David Kaplan (Int’l Consortium of Investigative Journalists), and John Bohannon (Science magazine), all moderated by the Lab’s own Megan Garber

4:00 p.m.: Wrapup

Immediately below is the live video, which should work from 9 a.m. to a little after 4 p.m. Underneath that are liveblogs for each of the panels and keynotes. Note that they’re separate from one another, so when one session is over, all the action will move to the next liveblog. (That’s a little awkward, but it should make things easier for looking back at each session after the fact.)








9:10 a.m.: Opening keynote by Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the Associated Press

10:00 a.m.: Panel I on the international perspective, featuring journalists from Romania, Chile, South Africa, and Cambodia (Stefan Candea, Alejandra Matus, Rob Rose, and Kevin Doyle, respectively)

11:30 a.m.: Panel II on the U.S. perspective, featuring Walter Pincus (Washington Post), Danielle Brian (Project on Government Oversight), Clint Hendler (CJR), and Maggie Mulvihill (New England Center for Investigative Reporting)

1:15 p.m.: Keynote by Bill Keller, executive editor, The New York Times

2:30 p.m.: Panel III on the future of transparency, featuring Teru Kuwayama (Basetrack), Bill Allison (Sunlight Foundation), Aron Pilhofer (New York Times, DocumentCloud), David Kaplan (Int’l Consortium of Investigative Journalists), and John Bohannon (Science magazine), all moderated by the Lab’s own Megan Garber

December 15 2010

15:00

#Niemanleaks on Thursday: After WikiLeaks, a flood of new questions

While WikiLeaks’ recent document dumps have answered questions large and small (How many civilians have been killed in Iraq? Does Muammar al-Gaddafi prefer blondes or brunettes?), the organization’s controversial brand of journalism has raised a lot more questions that scholars, working journalists and legal systems around the world are just now beginning to tackle. The Nieman Foundation is hosting “From Watergate to WikiLeaks: Secrecy and Journalism in the New Media Age,” at which speakers ranging from The New York Times’ executive editor Bill Keller to The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus will offer their insight into how the rules are changing.

Here are a few of the questions we’ve seen raised, and where you might begin to figure out some answers tomorrow. If you won’t be in attendance, check back here Thursday morning for the live video stream, or watch #niemanleaks on Twitter.

Is WikiLeaks journalism? What does that mean when everyone can blog, Tweet and share instantly with an audience around the world?

Check out the 2:30 p.m. (EST) panel, “Secrets 2.0: Exploring Entrepreneurial Answers to Journalistic Obligations,” which will feature the Sunlight Foundation’s Bill Allison, Basetrack’s Teru Kuwayama, the New York Times’ Aron Pilhofer and others who are helping answer that question through innovative approaches to what journalism is, while pushing back on the notion of what it isn’t. For example, Knight News Challenge winner Basetrack pairs professional war correspondence with the thoughts and reactions of U.S. Marines and their families, who are also blogging their experiences. The Sunlight Foundation, on the other hand, takes massive data sets and made them more accessible and useful, often leaving it up to the reader to connect the dots in creative new ways.

What should we make on all the legal and political pressure being put on WikiLeaks and other news organizations? Should the law dictate how and what is reported, and where do you draw the line on either side?

The “Prosecuted, Banned, Blamed: Reporters Push Boundaries as a Voice of Public Accountability” panel at 10:00 a.m. features a global perspective from current and past Nieman Fellows, including Stefan Candea, who helped map out Romania’s complex web of political and media ownership, as well as fellows from Chile, Cambodia, and South Africa. It will be moderated by the Nieman Foundation’s Stefanie Friedhoff.

For a more local perspective, head to “Whither the Gatekeeper? Navigating New Rules and Roles in the Age of Radical Transparency.” It’ll feature The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus, Clint Hendler from Columbia Journalism Review, Maggie Mulvihill from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and Danielle Brian from the Project on Government Oversight. It’ll be moderated by Nieman Reports‘ Melissa Ludtke.

So in the end, what’s changed post-WikiLeaks?

The conference’s keynotes will tackle the big question of what changes between media and their sources as those sources can increasingly go direct to the audience with their message. Kathleen Carroll executive editor of the Associated Press, will discuss freedom of information in the digital age at 9:10 a.m., while the Times’ Bill Keller will address secrecy, national security, and the press at 1:15 p.m.

December 07 2010

18:00

Our first annual Lab reader poll: Tell us what 2011 will bring for the news

I like to think of our readers as our greatest resource; it’s almost alarming how many brilliant, nerdy, forward-thinking, occasionally-combative-but-usually-generous people we are lucky enough to have in our audience. So we’d like to pick your giant collective brain.

With 2011 coming around the corner, we thought it would be fun to ask you what you saw coming in the new year. Below are 25 questions that ask what the world looks like inside your crystal ball. We’ll add up your answers and report the results in a few days. Then, in a year, we’ll report back on what really happened. (Accountability journalism!) Fill out your answers below and hit submit.

16:00

Shhhhh! A Nieman conference on secrecy in journalism

You could argue that journalism is defined by its relationship with secrets. Not just Deep Throat meet-me-in-the-parking-garage secrets: the everyday secrets, the leaker whose identity gets protected, the “you didn’t hear this from me” tip after the meeting, the nugget of information someone wants protected and a reporter wants splashed above the fold. At its best, journalism takes facts known only to a few and shares them with the world; along the path to exposing those secrets, though, there are lots of other collateral secrets created, the sawdust of reporting.

But secrets don’t get kept in quite the same way in an Internet age. If that wasn’t clear before WikiLeaks told us all about Qadhafi’s buxom Ukrainian nurse, it’s clear now; Julian Assange has brought a Bond-like immediacy to the questions.

So I’m very happy to say that the Nieman Foundation is, next week, holding a special one-day conference on the subject of secrecy in journalism. It’ll be next Thursday, Dec. 16, here at Lippmann House in Cambridge. And there’s still room if you’d like to attend — RSVPs required.

There’s lots of good stuff on the schedule, but among the highlights I’ll be most looking forward to are:

— New York Times editor Bill Keller talking about his paper’s experience with WikiLeaks and policies on secrecy and national security

— Washington Post veteran reporter Walter Pincus on a panel on the new role of gatekeepers in an age of Internet-enabled transparency

— The Times’ Aron Pilhofer, Sunlight’s Ellen Miller, and others discussing the new possibilities of data to make transparency more accessible

You can see the full list of speakers — which also includes AP’s Kathleen Carroll, Knight News Challenge winner Teru Kuwayama, and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting’s Maggie Mulvihillhere.

If you can’t make it to Cambridge, we’ll have a full report on the conference here at the Lab shortly afterward, including summaries of the speakers and video. On the day of, watch the hashtag #niemanleaks for the ongoing conversation.

Photo by Monika Bargmann used under a Creative Commons license.

December 06 2010

17:00

Come spend a year at Harvard! Deadline for int’l applications for Nieman Fellowships approaching

While you may know the Nieman name through this website, our primary project for over 70 years has been the Nieman Fellowships, the oldest journalism fellowship in the world. Every fall, around two dozen talented journalists from around the world come to Harvard for a year of study in the field of their choice — anything that will make them better journalists upon their return to their career.

Some study classic journalism-influencing subjects like economics, history, or government; some dive deep into a particular topic area they’ve worked in before. Others want to study the kinds of Lab-like subjects that will influence journalism’s future: revenue models at Harvard Business School, digital media at the Berkman Center, nonprofit structures at the Hauser Center, online media law at Harvard Law School. (And if Harvard isn’t enough, Nieman Fellows can also attend classes down Mass Ave at MIT.)

We’re starting the process of picking the 74th class of Nieman Fellows, who will come to Harvard next fall, in August 2011. So if you’re a talented journalist, it might be time for you to think about applying.

Each Nieman class is roughly half American, half from the rest of the world. And the matter is most pressing for prospective international fellows, since the deadline for your application is December 15. (American applicants have until January 31.)

You can read the eligibility requirements and the details of how to apply. But the key elements include two short essays (one a personal statement, the other an outline of what you plan to study), some samples of your work, and four letters of recommendation. If you get started now, internationals, you’ve still got time! (South African, Canadian, and South Korean journalists have their own special application processes; follow the links here.)

I’m happy to answer any questions from applicants, particularly any Lab readers from digital background who’d like to come to Harvard. (I was a Nieman Fellow, Class of ‘08.) There’s no age requirement, and the experience requirement is minimal (five years as a working journalist). The goal of the Nieman Fellowships is to improve journalism by unleashing journalists on a great university; if you think you could be one of those journalists, I encourage you to apply.

November 15 2010

18:30

Sign up for our daily Nieman Journalism Lab email

Since we launched the Lab in 2008, we’ve tried to make our content accessible in lots of different ways: via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Kindle, iPhone app, and more.

But, for whatever reason, we’ve skipped out on the most basic of electronic delivery mechanisms: email.

We’ve finally remedied that. You can now sign up for our daily Lab email. Each afternoon, if we’ve published something new in the previous 24 hours, you’ll get one email with all our new posts. The emails look like this.

We may occasionally send out other important announcements about the Lab through the list, but that’ll be very occasionally — this is really just a more convenient way to get our content delivered to the inbox where you spend your waking hours. Here’s the signup form:

Email Address
First Name
Last Name

Close

And while you’re here, why not like us on Facebook? We’d appreciate it.

November 10 2010

17:00

Be our boss! A big opening at the Nieman Foundation

The Nieman Journalism Lab is a part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. (The basement part, to be specific.) Harvard doesn’t have a traditional journalism school, so the Nieman Foundation has for 72 years been the primary home for those of us at the university who work with and care about the news.

When the original gift for the foundation was given in 1937, one of the ideas tossed around was that the foundation might be a repository for a microfiche archive of great journalism. With that library science idea in mind, it was decided that the head of the foundation would be called its curator. The idea didn’t stick, but the title did.

Our curator since 2000, Bob Giles, announced his retirement last month, and the search is on for his replacement. So unlike my previous job postings — all of which involved working for me — this one’s a chance to be my boss.

Below is the job posting Harvard’s put together. I’m happy to chat with any potential applicants who have questions about the foundation, but actual inquiries should go to the email address in the posting.

Harvard University invites applications and nominations for the position of Curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism. The University seeks a visionary leader with significant journalistic accomplishment and a demonstrated passion for the field.

The next Nieman curator will begin his or her tenure at a time when the field of journalism is facing multiple challenges. This presents a unique opportunity for the next curator to shape an innovative future for a strong and respected institution whose mission is “to promote and elevate the standards of journalism and educate individuals deemed specially qualified for journalism.”

The curator should be capable of marshaling the resources and exercising the convening authority of the Nieman Foundation and Harvard to bring together representatives from all areas of journalism to maintain a national and global discourse on mutual concerns and opportunities. Applicants should be knowledgeable of the emerging media landscape and its effect on journalistic models and practices.

Applicants must possess a deep understanding of the principles of journalism and be able to articulate their views to a worldwide audience. The curator will serve as mentor to the Nieman Fellows while actively shaping the Foundation’s programs. He or she should lead engagement with faculty, students, and staff at Harvard, integrating the Foundation and its Fellows fully into the intellectual life of the University. The curator must possess proven administrative and management capabilities. Experience with or knowledge of academic institutions is not required but would be helpful.

Applications as well as nominations may be directed to the search committee at Nieman_Search@harvard.edu.

Harvard University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

August 24 2010

14:30

Download the new Nieman Journalism Lab iPhone app

Every day, there are 16 gazillion news articles about the future of journalism, 27.5 flabillion blog posts, and 294 quinzillion tweets. (These are all estimates.) There’s a lot of great stuff in there, but just keeping up to date — tracking it all — takes up way too much time for most people. Man can not live in TweetDeck alone! Tools for sifting through those mounds of information get better every day, but it’s easier than ever to fall behind.

In response, we’ve built the Nieman Journalism Lab iPhone app. We think it’s pretty great. It’s free, and it’s available now in the App Store, for iPhones and iPod touches. (It’ll also work on the iPad, although it’s not yet a native iPad app.)

You can use it as you like, of course, but the use case I’m imagining for it is when you’re standing in line at the grocery store, sitting on a train, or otherwise in a situation where you could squeeze in two minutes to catch up on what’s going on. There’s much more about the app here, but fundamentally, it offers a few different snapshots onto the future-of-news world:

— It features all our own stories, in full text and with videos that play on the Flash-less iPhone.

— It pulls in our very popular Twitter feed, where our staff hand-curates the best links about the future of journalism, every weekday.

— It uses the web app Hourly Press to analyze the most influential corners of the future-of-news Twitterverse to see what they’re talking about; once an hour, you get an updated list of the most buzzed-about links from some of Twitter’s most interesting people.

— It gives you searchable access to our entire archive of stories.

— It pulls in the most recent work from some of the best sources of journalism news on the web — from Romenesko to CJR to Mashable to paidContent to The New York Times. Not to mention our sister publications, Nieman Storyboard, Nieman Watchdog, and Nieman Reports.

All of that in a few taps. Let us know if you have any thoughts on how to make it better; we hope you download it, give it a try, and find it useful.

July 27 2010

15:51

Reversed: Colombian journalist Hollman Morris is free to come to Harvard as a Nieman Fellow

I’m very pleased to provide an update on the case of Hollman Morris, which I’ve written about here and here. Hollman is the noted Colombian journalist who was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to come study here at Harvard — only to have his request for a student visa rejected by the United States government. An American official told Hollman he was being rejected under the terrorist activities section of the Patriot Act; Hollman has done much courageous reporting on ties between right-wing militias and the Colombian government, which has opened him up to criticism from those he reports on.

I’m happy to say that the U.S. State Department has reversed its decision and decided to allow Hollman into the country. He’ll arrive here in Cambridge within the next few weeks and will be able to study at Harvard as we’d originally hoped.

Lots and lots of people worked hard to try to get us to this point — in the human rights world, where Hollman has been held up for years as a model reporter; in the journalism world, which can be counted on to rally around a case like his; and in the community of past Nieman Fellows who wanted to see Hollman join their number. We’re very grateful to all who got involved and argued a journalist shouldn’t be kept out of this country based on who his reporting angers. We’re also grateful for those within the State Department who recognized the need to reverse their decision.

One of the traditional highlights of the Nieman experience is the weekly “sounding.” That’s what we do every Monday night during the year: One by one, the Nieman Fellows each prepare a meal for their Nieman colleagues and spend an hour or so telling the story of their career and life in journalism. I suspect Hollman’s going to have some good stories to tell.

Here’s the press release we just put out:

United States reverses decision and grants visa to Colombian journalist

Hollman Morris to join Nieman class of 2011

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The U.S. State Department has reversed its decision to deny a visa to leading Colombian journalist Hollman Morris. He is now free to travel to the United States, where he will begin a yearlong fellowship at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Reacting to the news, Nieman Foundation Curator Bob Giles said “We’re very pleased that the situation has been resolved this way. Many concerned individuals worked together to support Hollman during the past month and we’re looking forward to having him join us at Harvard. His valuable expertise and insights will be a welcome addition to our new class of Nieman Fellows.”

Last month a U.S. consular official in Bogota told Morris that he was being denied a visa under the terrorist activities section of the Patriot Act. That decision was widely condemned by individuals and groups including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and others, many of whom lobbied on behalf of Morris.

An independent television journalist, Morris has reported extensively on his country’s civil war and resulting human rights abuses. His television show “Contravía” has been critical of alleged ties between the administration of outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary groups and the Colombian armed forces. Uribe once called Morris “an accomplice to terrorism” for building contacts with the country’s FARC rebels in the course of his reporting. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia’s largest rebel group, is on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Many journalists and human rights activists view efforts to link Morris with FARC as the Colombian government’s way to discredit his work. Last year, reports surfaced showing that Morris was one of many high profile critics of the government who were subjected to illegal wiretapping and surveillance by Colombia’s intelligence agency.

Morris has traveled to the United States a number of times in the past, has met with high-ranking U.S. officials to discuss Colombia’s human rights issues and in 2007 won the Human Rights Defender Award, presented annually by Human Rights Watch.

Established in 1938, the Nieman Foundation administers the oldest midcareer fellowship program for journalists in the world. Working journalists of accomplishment and promise are selected to come to Harvard for a year of study, seminars and special events. More than 1,300 journalists from 90 countries have received Nieman Fellowships.

In addition to administering the Nieman Fellowship program, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard publishes the quarterly magazine Nieman Reports, the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to a critical examination of the practice of journalism, and is home to the Nieman Journalism Lab, which identifies emerging business models and best practices in journalism in the digital media age. Additionally, the foundation produces Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism, and the Nieman Watchdog Project, a website that encourages journalists to monitor and hold accountable all those who exert power in public life.

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