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Former Chicago Tribune editor named to head Nieman Foundation Pulitzer Prize winner is a former fellow of Harvard organization

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Published on April 20, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B7

Ann Marie Lipinski, the former editor of The Chicago Tribune, was named the new curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University yesterday, making her the first woman to head the prestigious fellowship program since its creation in 1938.

Lipinski, a Pulitzer Prize winner and herself a Nieman Fellow in 1990, will begin to transition into the position this summer. She currently is a senior lecturer and vice president for civic engagement at the University of Chicago.

“For me as a Nieman fellow, the program was transformative, and my experience there was extraordinary,” she said in a phone interview. “I saw the impact it had on other journalists either in my class or other editors and reporters whose fellowship I supported, and to help guide that process is very exciting and humbling.”

Lipinski, 55, replaces Bob Giles, curator since 2000.

The Nieman is the oldest midcareer fellowship program for journalists in the world, where those chosen spend one year studying at Harvard. The program aims to “promote and elevate the standards of journalism,” at a time when media companies revamp strategies to connect with readers as more of them migrate to the Internet for news.

Lipinski’s extensive resume and experience as a reporter, editor, and professor make her a qualified pick for the job, adding to the already historic announcement of her appointment, said Tom Fiedler, dean of Boston University’s College of Communication.

“As a reporter and ultimately editor of The Chicago Tribune, Ann Marie embodied the very best characteristics of a journalist: She’s a natural leader; she’s passionate about public service; she’s uncompromising and uncompromised; she’s reflective, gracious, and incredibly gutsy,” said Fiedler, former editor of the Miami Herald. “That great program will be in excellent hands.”

Giles agreed that Lipinski was a “wonderful choice,” though he was not involved in her hiring.

During his time at the Nieman Foundation, Giles said, he is most proud of assembling an exceptional staff, broadening the reach of the program in the digital age, and expanding the fellowship program.

“[I’m sad] in some ways, in some ways I’m happy to be going on to the next phase of my life,” he said. “I’ve been in this job for 11 years, and it’s time for a new person to come in and bring her vision.”

Lipinski began her career with the Tribune in 1978 as an editorial intern, and 10 years later was one of three Tribune reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for stories that highlighted corruption and conflicts of interest in the Chicago City Council. She later served as managing editor before becoming editor of the paper for seven years.

She resigned in July 2008, seven months after new management – led by the real estate magnate Samuel Zell – took control of the company and amid demands for major budget cuts.

Lipinski is cochairwoman of the Pulitzer Prize board and chairwoman of the board of the University of Chicago Charter School, and serves on the board of visitors for Stanford University’s Knight Fellowships for journalists.

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Written by jdunccc

April 20, 2011 at 9:19 am

Posted in The Boston Globe

Tagged with ,