March 25, 2015 by Ann Marie Lipinski
Ann Marie Lipinski is curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, she previously served as editor/senior VP of the Chicago Tribune and senior lecturer/VP for civic engagement at the University of Chicago. She is a trustee of the Poynter Institute and former co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board.
For 77 years, the idea of a Nieman Foundation fellowship was elegantly simple: We give you an academic year at Harvard; you repay journalism with your expanded knowledge and outlook. As a Nieman Fellow myself, I can say the experience remains the single most important contribution to my journalistic development.
But much had changed about journalism when I returned to Harvard as Nieman curator almost four years ago. Not every journalist who would make an awesome Nieman Fellow is ready to spend a full academic year at Harvard or has a goal that would merit that commitment. And not everyone whose work is having an impact on the future of news is a journalist. That’s long been true of publishers and media company owners, but now developers, entrepreneurs, academics and others are increasingly influential in the news ecosystem — sometimes because they’re building the tools journalists use and the organizations that they work for.