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Today the second step has been made in the act of complying with the terms of the Nieman bequest, and in taking it Harvard seems to have judged carefully and moved wisely. Not only are the qualifications of the nine Fellows in general high, but the fairly representative selection from various sections is almost comparable to the worthy theory of countrywide distribution behind the National Scholarships. Establishment of the Advisory Committee, to encourage and assist the Fellows in their study programs, will provide the needful administrative element; planning of discussions with leading journalists will supplement their work nicely. Several points, however, can be put forward which may be of help in connection with the University and selective aspects of the Fellowships.
These reporters and editorial writers are bringing to Harvard a wide variety both of backgrounds and of experiences. As intelligent members of the working world, especially of the newspaper business, they should have great practical appeal to undergraduates. Besides those intending to enter journalism after graduation, students interested in hearing about the real side of labor and politics will want to meet the Fellows. The university can easily recognize this chance of introducing the world to Harvard by inviting men to attend the Fellowship discussions and perhaps by inducing certain of the Fellows to hold informal chats occasionally.
The fact that most Fellows will take courses in the social sciences next fall has little significance for the policy of selection as compared with two others--namely, that the Far West and New York City were completely omitted, while New England, close to the bottom in its number of applications, provided two Fellows. In addition to equalizing the distribution, officials may well consider whether it is essential to choose the entire Committee on Nieman Fellowships from the Board of Overseers. Harvard should not be afraid to look beyond for a committee which will award future Fellowships to the most competent and promising newspapermen and best fulfil the wishes of Mrs. Nieman.
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