Shorenstein Center To Host Journalists

Four new fellows include first Pakistani reporter to visit Shorenstein Center

The former editor of Newsweek and a reporter for Pakistan’s oldest English-language newspaper are among this spring’s fellows at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, who were announced Wednesday.

“We have a mixture of practicing journalists and scholars, both foreign and domestic,” said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center. “In selecting the fellows, we try to reflect the values and democracy of the Kennedy School.”

Four new fellows and one returning fellow will spend the semester pursuing research interests at the University.

Wajahat S. Khan—a former reporter for Pakistan’s The Dawn and its monthly The Herald—is one of the youngest fellows and the first Pakistani Shorenstein Fellow in the history of the program.

“As someone so young and not from the U.S. or from an academic establishment, it’s a huge deal,” Khan said.

Khan’s project investigates the media’s coverage of the war on terrorism, focusing on how the media is manipulated by intelligence and government agencies. He also plans to study the Pakastani media’s economic, financial, and political biases.

“At the end of the day, I want to have the academic and intellectual experience and absorb as much as I can during this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.

Another fellow, Bob Calo—a senior lecturer at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and a former producer at NBC News—said the fellowship provides an opportunity for journalists and scholars to “get out of their usual work cycle and work with people to form new ideas.”

During the semester, Calo will examine the disengagement of audience from news media and the media’s responsibility to engage its audience.

“It’s an uncomfortable idea as a journalist,” he said. “The American audience has lost a lot of trust. Could it possibly be our fault? Are we writing the wrong kind of story?”

Since 1986, the Center has funded journalists and scholars in news media or politics for a semester-long research project. Each fellow, chosen by a committee of senior staff at the center, will spend the next few months researching and writing a paper.

Jones said the fellows were selected based on their qualifications as distinguished journalists or scholars and on the basis of their project proposals, which examine the interrelations among press, politics, and public policy.

“We fund the fellows to enrich the experience of our students at the Kennedy School,” Jones said, “and to help them generate their work and contribute to the depth of knowledge in media.”

Other Shorenstein Fellows for this semester are Alexis Gelber, a former top editor at Newsweek, a published author, and an adjunct professor at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute; Neil A. Lewis, a former correspondent for The New York Times, a writer for numerous magazines including The New Republic and Rolling Stone, and a professor of media law at Duke Law School; and Sandra Rowe, a former editor of The Oregonian in Portland and past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, who is returning again this semester as part of her year-long fellowship.

—Staff writer Jane Seo can be reached at janeseo@college.harvard.edu.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: January 21, 2011

An earlier version of the Jan. 21 news article "Shorenstein Center To Host Journalists" incorrectly stated that Alexis Gelber is the former editor of Newsweek. In fact, she a former top editor of the magazine.

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