Campus & Community

Nieman receives Knight grant

3 min read

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism has received $420,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to provide fellowships for journalists of accomplishment and promise from Latin America.

The grant is part of $3.5 million, four-year initiative by the Knight Foundation to improve professional training and press freedom in Latin America.

The funds for the Nieman Foundation, the nation’s oldest midcareer program for professional journalists, will support fellowships for two journalists during the next three years.

“The Knight grant reinforces the Nieman Foundation’s commitment to providing education for journalists engaged in the struggle for a free press in the world’s emerging democracies,” said Robert H. Giles, curator. “The Nieman experience has enabled individual journalists to make a significant contribution to building a tradition of an independent press in many Latin American countries.”

“Exposure to the free and open discourse of Harvard classrooms and the journalistic enrichment found in Nieman seminars and discussions are critical in enhancing their ethical grounding, their development as leaders, and their ability to enhance the free flow of information so essential to self-governance. The Knight grant assures that this important part of our program will continue,” Giles said.

The 65th class of Nieman Fellows will come to Harvard this fall for a year of study. The 27-member class includes 12 U.S. fellows and 14 international fellows.

The Knight Foundation grant supports the fellowships of:

  • Dina Fernandez of Guatemala City. She is the Sunday magazine editor and columnist for Prensa Libre. She plans to study the role of the press in emerging democracies and newly launched free-market economies. 
  • Ana Leglisse of Mexico City. She is a technology reporter for Detras de la Noticia. She plans to use her year to study trends that are influenced by advances in technology and the impact these advances have on economic and social institutions. 

A recent Knight Foundation report noted that in the past 20 years, Latin America has emerged as one of the few places where a majority of the region’s nations can boast a free press. At the same time, the region has a significant need for professional training, according to the report, which was prepared by news media analyst Ellen Hume.

“There is a big appetite in Latin America for improving journalism and making it more professional,” said Rosental Alves, the director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and a Nieman Fellow in 1988. “That is where we can make a difference.”