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The Latin America bureau chief for US News and World Report, a photojournalist studying Cuba and Haiti and a Washington Post staff writer are among newly selected Nieman fellows, the Nieman Foundation announced yesterday.
Others selected for the 2000-2001 term include reporters from Washington, Chicago, Paris and throughout the world. Twelve other international journalists will be selected later this month.
"The Nieman fellowship is something that every journalist dreams about and aspires to," said Don Aucoin, a television critic for The Boston Globe and future Nieman fellow.
The Nieman fellowship program allows mid-career journalists to spend a year taking classes at Harvard and exchanging ideas.
Aucoin, who studies the influence of culture and the Internet on television, said the fellowship presents a great opportunity to learn from some of the smartest journalists in the world.
The fellowship program brings together journalists of varied backgrounds.
For instance, newly selected fellow J.R. Moehringer, the Atlanta bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, has studied American civilization and the post-World War II period. Kirstin Downey Grimsley, a writer for the Washington Post, brings with her a background in economics, labor laws, immigration and class issues.
Not all fellows are writers, however. Nuri Vallbona of the Miami Herald is a photojournalist. Vallbona has documented the history of Cuba and other Carribean countries.
Aucoin said he is looking forward to taking classes at the Kennedy School of Government and at Harvard Business School. But he said he is most excited about sharing ideas with his fellow fellows.
"The collegiality of the Nieman experience is something I am looking forward to," Aucoin said. "The opportunity to talk to other journalists from around the world and to explore new horizons gives one different takes on the world and a deeper understanding of it."
For longtime Chicago Tribune writer Ken Armstrong, the fellowship will provide new perspective on his work. Armstrong said he probably got the job because of his recent series on the Illinois death penalty, which prompted the state to declare a moratorium on executions.
"I've been a reporter for more than 13 years now, and I think I had reached a point where I wanted to step back and reevaluate," Armstrong said. "I wanted to take some classes because they are interesting, and they intrigued me, and they also help me to look at the big picture. It is easy to become very narrowly focused."
The fellows were selected by a committee including K. Anthony Appiah, professor of Afro-American studies and philosophy, Bill Kovach, the curator of the Nieman foundation and Melanie Still, the managing editor of the News and Observer.
Other selected fellows include Anne Fitzgerald, a writer for the Des Moines Register; Kelli S. Hewett, a writer for the Dothan Eagle in Alabama and Mark Pothier, the executive editor of MPG Newspapers.
Ron Stodghill, the midwest bureau chief for Time, Andrew Sussman, a senior program producer of the World, a BBC and WGBH Boston radio show, and Peter Turnley, a photojournalist from Newsweek in Paris were also selected.
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