The Nieman Fellowship offers mid-career journalists a chance to reflect on their careers and hone their skills. Journalists from around the country and world gather at Harvard University for a year to learn how they can change the journalism field. Dawn Turner Trice, columnist from The Chicago Tribune, and Jason Grotto, investigative reporter on the Tribune Watchdog Team, talk with us about how they hope to grow as Nieman Fellows.
The Nieman Fellowship started in 1938 after Agnes Wahl Nieman gave a $1 million gift to Harvard University in 1937, with the directive to “promote and elevate the standards of journalism and educate persons deemed especially qualified in journalism.” Fellowships are given to print, broadcast and online reporters, columnists, editors, photographers, producers, filmmakers and cartoonists. In order to be considered, applicants must have at least five years of full-time, professional work experience in news media. Fellowships are open to U.S. citizens and journalists from other countries. Since 1938, more than 1,400 journalists have received one year of learning, exploration, and fellowship at Harvard.
Dawn Turner Trice
Dawn Turner Trice is a columnist and special reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and moderated the Tribune’s online blog “Exploring Race,” which encouraged readers to discuss racial issues. Turner Trice has written commentary for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” as well as for television in Chicago. She received the Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 2006 and the Studs Terkel Media Award in 2008. She has also received two Illinois Arts Council awards and an American Library Association Alex award. Turner Trice has also written two books, “Only Twice I’ve Wished for Heaven,” and “An Eighth of August.” With the Nieman Fellowship, she will study creative nonfiction and screenwriting for documentary films.
Jason Grotto has been a reporter for the Chicago Tribune since 2007. As an investigative reporter for the Tribune, Grotto specializes in using databases, GIS mapping, and other analytical tools to expose breakdowns in public institutions and government programs. At the Tribune, he has written about the city’s pension crisis, nonprofit hospitals and the fate of the largest demolition of public housing in U.S. history. Before writing for the Tribune, Grotto was an investigative journalist for the Miami Herald, where he exposed corrupt development deals, sentencing disparities, and a flawed school construction program. With the Nieman Fellowship, he plans to study finance, accounting and economics to strengthen his investigative reporting skills.