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Washington Post's Rezaian Named Among 2017 Nieman Fellows

The Nieman Foundation announced on Tuesday that 24 journalists, ranging from reporters, filmmakers, and news executives, have been admitted to the Nieman Fellows’ class of 2017.
The Nieman Foundation announced on Tuesday that 24 journalists, ranging from reporters, filmmakers, and news executives, have been admitted to the Nieman Fellows’ class of 2017.
By Eugine Chung, Contributing Writer

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism announced Tuesday that 24 journalists have been selected for the 2017 class of Nieman Fellows, ranging from reporters and filmmakers, to news executives.

Now in the program's 79th year, the Nieman Foundation annually selects journalists to spend an academic year at Harvard and attend lectures, seminars, and conferences to develop their journalistic skills. The next class includes the Washington Post's former Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian, who spent over a year jailed in an Iranian prison after being charged with espionage before being released this January.

Nieman Deputy Curator James Geary said the program seeks to identify rising stars in journalism.

“We’re looking for journalists and fellows that we see real potential for growth, experimentation, and innovation and leadership in the industry moving forward,” he said. “The fruits of the fellowship are the rest of the fellow’s career as it unfolds.”

The fellows have experience in various fields of journalism and come from around the world, including the United Kingdom, Nepal, and South Korea.

“What we look for in every class and what makes this class so exciting is the mix of experience and expertise,” Geary said.

Tyler Dukes, a public records reporter for WRAL News in North Carolina, said he looks forward to being a fellow.

“I think the Nieman has a history of looking at how to move journalism forward,” he said.

Dukes said he will be studying specifically in the field of data journalism in the hopes of generating “better story ideas that gives us a more complete picture of public policy.”

Lolly Bowean, a 2017 Fellow and reporter for the Chicago Tribune, said she hopes to broaden her perspective and incite change in the journalistic realm. In particular, she said she is looking forward to reporting on people of color with “more analysis, depth, and historical context” through the fellowship.

“For years, I have quietly watched as others finished the fellowship and returned to the news industry brighter, and stronger and more brilliant, refined and prolific. Quite frankly, I just want to be in that number,” Bowean said. “I want to learn how to elevate my craft and use my talents and abilities in a more resounding way.”

Felicia Fonseca, a 2017 fellow and an Arizona-based correspondent for the Associated Press, said she hopes to expand her outlook on journalism through the fellowship.

“There comes a point where you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, you can’t dig below the surface on a lot of stories,” she said. “[Through the fellowship], you could gain some new insight into what you’re covering.”

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