From Newton to New Delhi, the new class of fellows at the Kennedy School of Government’s Shorenstein Center have converged in Cambridge to begin their study of American news coverage this week.
Alex S. Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, said that several of this semester’s fellows have extensive international experience.
“We want to see the perspective of the U.S. from abroad,” Jones said.
Every semester, a selection committee invites a handful of journalists to study at the Kennedy School. The fellows are required to focus on independent projects which culminate in a 25-page paper.
In addition, the fellows will host and attend a number of seminars and lunches.
One of this semester’s fellows, Narasimhan Ravi, has served as the editor of The Hindu, an English-language newspaper based in New Delhi.
Ravi will spend his time at Harvard comparing how American, British and South Asian reporters covered the recent war in Iraq.
“I hope to bring a wider perspective back to India,” Ravi said.
Other fellows include Ingrid Lehmann, former director of the United Nations Information Service in Vienna and current professor at the University of Salzburg in Austria; Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN’s Tokyo bureau chief and correspondent; Seth Mnookin ’94, a former Newsweek writer; and Barbie Zelizer, the Raymond Williams professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.
Mnookin, a former Crimson editor and current resident affiliate of Quincy House, will spend the semester finishing his book on the tenure of former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines.
Zelizer will similarly use her time at the Shorenstein Center to draft a book on photojournalism in the United States.
“[Photos] are the ways in which crises in the news get visually reduced to people facing impending death,” she said.
She cited photos from wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Liberia as examples of the power of images.
According to Jones, Shorenstein fellows are expected to interact with both Harvard students and faculty throughout their fellowships.
“The Shorenstein fellows, as far as we’re concerned, are available to the students of Harvard,” he said. “Students should feel free to contact them, if they are interested in what the fellows are researching. The fellows are very open to those kinds of contacts.”
Zelizer said that she is looking forward to such collaboration.
“Usually scholars and journalists don’t talk much with each other,” she said. “But the Shorenstein Center is absolutely, strategically trying to break down that barrier.”