With the help of a $5 million gift, the John F. Kennedy School of Government will rename the Joan Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy to reflect its changing mission and launch the Walter Shorenstein Fellowship in Media and Democracy, the school announced Monday.
“The point of the fellowship is to bring very high-profile people in who will, in and of themselves, create interest and basically give students at HKS and Harvard general exposure to people who are at the top of the field,” said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center, the research center within HKS that will manage the fellowship. “We want this to be something that is real world, that has real results, and that’s the kind of thing that excites most of the students at the Kennedy School.”
According to a press release from the Shorenstein Center Monday, the fellowship will be funded the $5 million donation from Doug and Lydia Shorenstein in honor of Doug’s late father, Walter. A real estate entrepreneur, Walter established the Shorenstein Center in 1985 after the passing of his daughter, Joan Shorenstein Barone, who produced The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.
“The Shorenstein Center was one of my father’s proudest achievements,” Doug Shorenstein wrote in the press release, “and I am delighted to be able to make this gift to honor his legacy and keep his influence alive.”
The Center also announced that it will change its name from the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy to the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.
Jones explained that the switch from “Press” to “Media” in the Center’s name reflects a change in its focus that has developed over the past few years. By referring to media rather than press, the Center intends to include non-traditional news media.
“We’re simply changing it to reflect the reality of what we do. We have been focused on media in the broadest sense for a number of years. But we thought it was time to go ahead and change our name,” Jones said.
He did not name specific people who the Center hopes to recruit for the fellowship program but said the recruitment process has already begun.
In light of the recent grant, Jones expressed optimism about the Center’s future.
“It means that we are moving forward,” Jones said. “I feel that the Shorenstein Center is on sound financial footing for years to come.”
—Staff writer Daniel R. Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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