Nieman Reports
Spring 2006 Issue
Nieman Foundation Home > Nieman Reports > Spring 2006 Table of Contents > Nieman Notes > Class Notes

Nieman Notes
Compiled by Lois Fiore
1952  1964  1966  1977  1978  1983  1985  1990  1993  1994  1995  1998  1999  2000  2001  2002  2003  2004  2005  2006 

-- 1952 --

John O. Davies Jr., a former editor of the Courier-Post, died March 6th at his home in Ewing Township, New Jersey. He was 88 years old. Davies was the first journalist from that state to receive a Nieman Fellowship.

Davies worked for 25 years at the now-defunct Newark News, where he was political writer for more than a decade and covered both Republican and Democratic national conventions. During World War II, he served with the U.S. Marines as a sergeant and combat correspondent and was the only Marine to edit the Army Stars and Stripes in Shanghai, China. He later served as state house bureau chief and as a correspondent covering the Chinese civil war (1948-49) and the Korean War (1950). In 1962 he joined the Gannet Company and rose to become editor of the Courier-Post, where he stayed until retiring from journalism in 1975.

The author of two sports novels and a biography of the late Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague, "The Last of the Big City Bosses," Davies spent the first 13 years of his retirement as executive assistant to the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation. He also served as president of the New Jersey Legislative Correspondents Club as its secretary-treasurer for 17 years. Davies was a long-time member of the Yardley Country Club in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. According to his son, former-councilman John O. Davies III, even last summer he scored a respectable 91 on the golf course.

A memorial service for Davies was held April 10th in Pennington, New Jersey. He is survived by two sons, one brother, seven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. His first wife, Louise, died in 1964. His second wife, Ana, died in 2000.

-- 1964 --

• Robert (Bud) Korengold was inducted April 24th into the "Hall of Achievement" of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. The honor is accorded annually to select graduates whose distinctive careers are considered to have contributed greatly to their fields. After graduating from Northwestern in 1951 and a Korean War stint in the U.S. Navy, Korengold was a UPI correspondent in Paris and a UPI bureau chief in Geneva and Moscow. After his Nieman year he returned to Moscow as Newsweek's bureau chief and went on to head the magazine's London bureau until late 1972. In 1973 he joined the former U.S. Information Agency (USIA) first as a magazine editor and then as director of the agency's cultural, education and information programs at U.S. embassies in, successively, Brussels, Belgrade, London and Paris. For four years after his retirement from USIA in 1994 he also was the administrator of the Museum of American Art in Giverny, France.

Bonjour Paris
Korengold remains active journalistically covering France as senior correspondent for the American Web site

• Dan Wakefield's new book, "The Hijacking of Jesus: How the Religious Right Distorts Christianity and Promotes Prejudice and Hate," was published this spring by Nation Books. In the book, Wakefield questions why and how the Republican Party has been so successful in identifying themselves with the Christian faith, creating a situation where they are seen as the party of "moral values." Through an analysis of the religious right and interviews with religious leaders across the country, he explores how Christians can reclaim their faith.

-- 1966 --

Donald Jackson, 70, died on February 23rd. Wayne Woodlief, a classmate, wrote the following tribute:

"Donald Dale Jackson, author of two well-read books on judges and the Gold Rush, died in his sleep, in his own bed, as he wanted, after coping with heart disease for several years.

"Jackson wrote Life magazine's cover story on Lee Harvey Oswald after President Kennedy's assassination, and he bailed out Nelson Rockefeller when that wealthy candidate, who seldom carried much cash, couldn't pay his bill at a coffee shop during the 1968 presidential campaign. Jackson earned awards for coverage of civil rights, the environment and prison reform, and after his Nieman year freelanced for Readers Digest, Smithsonian magazine, and Sports Illustrated. He explored jungles, traveled with medicine men, and once spent several nights alone in the desert to see what the experience was like.

"Husband of Darlene Jackson and father of two children, Dale Jackson and Amy Lynn Jackson Ayala, Jackson was a writer's writer. He filled his notebooks with how people looked, dressed, reacted to offense, and treated others. Reading his book "Gold Dust," you could smell the sawdust, taste the whiskey, hear the crack of a rifle, and see those miners toil.

"A quotation from an Indian prayer, circulated at the service for Jackson on February 27th in Newtown, Connecticut, included this closing line: 'Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die.'"

-- 1977 --

• Alfred Larkin, Jr. was promoted to executive vice president of The Boston Globe in March. In his new position, Larkin is responsible for the Globe's corporate communications, organizational development, and community relations, including the Globe Foundation. He also is a senior adviser to Richard Gilman, the publisher of the Globe, and other members of the New England Media Group's senior management.

Larkin started as a reporter at the Globe in 1972 and has held a variety of management positions in the newsroom. In 1997 he moved to the business side of the newspaper as assistant to the publisher and most recently has been senior vice president for general administration and external affairs.

• MGG Pillai, freelance journalist and political commentator, died on April 28th in Kuala Lumpur of heart complications. He was 66 years old. Pillai was the first from Malaysia to receive a Nieman Fellowship.

His son, Sreekant, recalls:

"MGG Pillai was born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia in 1939. He studied in English College (now known as Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar Johor Bahru), and Andrews Singapore and studied law at the University of Singapore. While studying part-time in the early 1960's, he worked in Reuters Singapore as a journalist. As a Reuters correspondent in 1965, he covered the Vietnam War. "In 1967, he joined Bernama for a short stint and then left and joined Malay Mail and covered the May 13th riots in 1969. When the Singapore Herald opened in 1970, he joined. He left when the Singapore government refused to renew his work permit.

"He started his freelance career writing for the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER). He was already a stringer for the Hindustan Times. He wrote for FEER for three years until he started writing for Asiaweek, which he started with four others. While writing for Asiaweek, he was a stringer for Newsweek.

"After his Nieman year, he started contributing articles to a host of newspapers and broadcasting companies around the world. He was banned from Singapore in 1990 as a result of an article that he wrote criticizing the Singapore government.

"In 1995, he started the first Internet newsgroup called Sang Kancil where he posted commentaries

Journalism and Commentaries
and analysis of current issues. He later started his own Web site called, where readers were welcome to comment directly on his articles. He traveled widely to the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia ...."

Pillai was known as a pioneer in Malaysia's world of online journalism. The day following his death,, the Web site of the Malaysian reform movement dedicated to justice and freedom, posted this tribute:

"Malaysian journalism has lost a legendary figure. We only hope that other journalists will be inspired by his courage and take up the baton he has handed over in the struggle for independent journalism in Malaysia."

Pillai is survived by his wife, Jayasree and his two sons.

• Bill Wheatley received a 2006 First Amendment Service Award from the Radio-Television News Director's Foundation at a banquet in Washington, D.C. in March. Wheatley, who had been executive vice president of NBC news before retiring nine months ago, was

"Courage: What Network News Needs Now"
   – By Bill Wheatley
described by "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert "as the heart, soul and compass of NBC News." The award honors three broadcast journalists for their work on behalf of press freedom. The other awards are The First Amendment Leadership Award, given to the Hurricane Katrina Station Groups, and the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award, given to Gwen Ifill.

-- 1978 --

Fred Barnes's book, "Rebel-in-Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush" was published by Crown Forum in January. In interviews with the President, vice president, secretary of state, and defense secretary, the book, according to Crown, provides access to an administration that is "shaking up Washington" and "reshaping the conservative movement." Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard and cohost of "The Beltway Boys" on the Fox News Channel.

-- 1983 --

Bill Marimow was named vice president for news for National Public Radio (NPR) in March. He had been managing editor since May 2004. In his new position, Marimow will oversee all of the news division, which includes approximately 350 employees and 36 bureaus around the nation and around the world. In making the announcement, Jay Kernis, senior vice president for programming, said, "Bill is a dedicated journalist who has already demonstrated ability to make a difference at NPR News, both in our newsgathering and in the ways we translate it to emerging platforms that are critical to the expansion of our public service." Marimow bolstered beat coverage in areas including the media, technology, environment, police and prisons, and labor and the workplace. He also supervised many of NPR's investigative pieces, which have received Robert F. Kennedy and Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.

Before moving to NPR, Marimow was a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he won two Pulitzer Prizes. Later, he was the managing editor and editor of The (Baltimore) Sun.

-- 1985 --

• Ed Chen has a new position. He writes: "I've left the L.A.Times, left TribuneWorld, left the newspaper business altogether, in fact. After 26 years at the Times, the last seven as its White House correspondent (and 36 in daily journalism), I have left for 'greener' pastures, going from an industry that kills trees to one that saves them. On March 20th,

Natural Resources Defense Council
I became the first-ever director of federal communications for the NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council], the most respected and mainstream environmental advocacy group in the world. And I am thrilled to be doing the Lord's work. Perhaps it's a sign of the times -- out of 12 (American) Niemans in my class, eight are now out of daily journalism. What it says, I'm not sure."

• Philip J. Hilts writes: "I have just published my sixth book, one on global health that was linked to the six-part [WGBH] public television series. The book title is 'Rx for Survival: Why We Must Rise to the Global Health Challenge.'

Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge
   – PBS
I'm working on another book on global health issues and will be working in China, India and the Middle East over the next six months."

Hilts has been a health and science reporter for both The New York Times and The Washington Post. His book "Protecting America's Health: The FDA, Business, and One Hundred Years of Regulation" won the 2003 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology.

-- 1990 --

Yossi Melman writes, "After writing (and for a couple of years broadcasting) more than 4 million words (I did count them, using my paper's library) in articles, features, commentary, news items, and investigative pieces over 32 years, and after publishing seven books in 11 languages in 35 countries, I wrote a play. It is called 'The Good Son' and is being staged in the Cameri, Tel Aviv, city theater.

"Billie, my wife, and I are working now to translate the play from Hebrew into English. If there are fellows who might be interested in reading the play and in helping me to find international stages and theaters, I would appreciate it very much and will send the translation once it is ready.

"The play is about treason and loyalty, love, patriotism, science and national security. It asks probing questions about loyalty and disloyalty and the shifting borderline between them. Why is modern society more tolerant of unfaithfulness to a wife or a husband, to children and family, than of disloyalty to country? The play seeks to grasp that porous divide, separating between the lawful and unlawful in a democracy, between right and wrong. Treason and loyalty appear to represent opposites. But when we touch the sets of notions behind both these opposites, we may expose moral dilemmas, which clash with laws and conventions. The traitor's genetic code often contains the DNA of loyalty.

"The play also probes at the issue of science in the service of national security. Science is certainly not 'pure.' But does it retain its autonomy? And how far can a democracy go in the name of its security? Can it 'expropriate' the scientist of his knowledge and divest him of his 'intellectual'property?"

-- 1993 --

Sandy Tolan celebrated the release of his new book, "The Lemon Tree," at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.. He writes: "After three years of research, field work, and writing, I am delighted to announce the publication, on May 2nd, of 'The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East,' from Bloomsbury. This true story goes to the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict through the experience of two families -- one Arab, one Jewish -- and their common history in the same stone home in al-Ramla, 30 miles west of Jerusalem. I tell this story not as an endless string of violence, but as a chronicle of two families with unending hopes, passions and attachment to the same place: in short, with everything at stake.

"... The book juxtaposes the history of the Khairis, a Palestinian family driven out of their home in al-Ramla during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, with that of the Eshkenazis, a Jewish family who escaped the Holocaust and who came to Israel, to al-Ramla, and to the same house, four months later, in November 1948.

"My wish is for 'The Lemon Tree' to serve as an opening for encounter between Arab and Jew and for deeper understanding -- both for students of Middle Eastern history and for the

Sandy Tolan's interview
with Terry Gross

   – NPR
• "Early Signs: Reports from a Warming Planet"
   – "Living on Earth"
   – Salon
general reader who has always wanted to understand the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict." To hear more about the book, go to Terry Gross's interview with Tolan on National Pubic Radio's (NPR) "Fresh Air."

A project on global warming done by journalism students in Tolan's class can now be heard on "Living on Earth," NPR's weekly environmental news and information program. The latest installment of "Early Signs: Reports From a Warming Planet" documents Mount Kilimanjaro's melting icecaps, the effects on the people living downstream. "Early Signs" is a joint production of the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where Tolan teaches,, and "Living On Earth." Transcripts, audio clips, and more information on the project can be found on the Salon and "Living on Earth" Web sites.

-- 1994 --

• Gregory E. Brock has been promoted to senior editor of The New York Times. In that role, he works on the frontlines of the newsroom's dealings with the public, taking incoming compliments and complaints, coordinating corrections and editors' notes with all departments, and working closely with the standards editor and the public editor.

Brock joined the Times in 1995 after nine years with The Washington Post. He was selected for the Nieman program in 1994 while a news editor at the Post. During a two-year break from the Post, Brock was assistant managing editor/news for The San Francisco Examiner from 1987-89. Earlier in his career, he was news editor for The Charlotte Observer, where he worked from 1977-1983.

• Katie King joined the Center for Public Integrity last fall as director of communications and digital publishing. King is involved with a team that is creating a digital and online strategy to extend the reach of the center's award-winning investigative reports. The center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern.

Since 1989, the center has released more than 275 investigative reports and 14 books. In the past eight years it has been honored more than 31 times by, among others, PEN USA, Investigative Reporters and Editor, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the George Polk award (online category).

-- 1995 --

• Michael Riley's newspaper, The Roanoke Times, has won a number of awards this year. Riley, the paper's editor, writes:

"It has been a good year for The Roanoke Times. For the second time in four years, we've been ranked number one in daily newspaper readership by Scarborough Research, which tracks the percentage of adult readers in the top U.S. markets who read their local newspaper.

"We've also been pushing the envelope in online multimedia for several years, and this past year we've been fortunate enough to garner some national recognition for our integrated print and online efforts.

"Among our recent awards: the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Award in Web Reporting for a multimedia package on old-time mountain music; the Associated Press Managing Editors Online Convergence Award for a project on Somali Bantu immigrants; a Newspaper Association of America Digital Edge Award for Most Innovative Multimedia Storytelling for a trio of packages, including one on tornado chasing; a National Headliner Award, and a 2006 EPpy award for best overall newspaper-affiliated Web service under one million unique monthly visitors. We've also been recognized as a Top 10 sports section by the Associated Press Sports Editors.

"The best thing about these awards is that they stand as tangible recognition of our fine staffers who pursue journalistic excellence every day."

• Lou Ureneck is acting chairman of Boston University's Department of Journalism. He writes: "I was elected chairman ad interim of the Department of Journalism by the journalism faculty last week. I'm looking forward to leading the department through a turbulent period of change in the field. Just as newspapers must adapt to a new world and find ways to encourage and support journalism worthy of the First Amendment, so must journalism education. My two principal goals are to integrate the concept of convergence in all its complexity into the curriculum and help the faculty find ways to engage in the national conversation over the future of journalism."

Ureneck is a former vice president of the Portland Press Herald and served as assistant to the editor and deputy managing editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He joined the faculty of Boston University in 2003.

-- 1998 --

Philip Cunningham is now teaching journalism and media full time at Doshisha University in Kyoto, "a fine university historically linked to Amherst College, with a touch of New England brick and green lawns in the otherwise cramped but delightful ancient capital of Kyoto," he writes. "I've been thinking of my Nieman year, not least because I am using Bill Kovach's text in a journalism course on the history of journalism. I use the Thucydides quote about the art of being a good observer, so true, and especially effective when lecturing in a city that for a thousand years was a national capital. I put the quote on the board and had the class try to guess who said it when (the best guess was off by 2500 years or so -- Ed Murrow!)

"I'm sure Bill will not be entirely amused to know I first came across 'Elements of Journalism' unawares in an English language text purchased in China. A full seven unattributed chapters of the book made it into the Chinese textbook. What sparked my curiosity after a good read (no doubt subliminally familiar from Nieman lectures) is that it ended abruptly just when it got to the watchdog role of the press. Coincidence?

"[My family and I] arrived in Kyoto from Beijing, where we were put up in a 700-year-old tea house (which probably aged another century or so

"When a Journalist's Voice Is Silenced"
   – By Philip J. Cunningham
due to the happy frolicking of my kids) while looking for lodging. So far it reminds me of my Nieman year, back on campus with a modicum of security after a long stretch of freelance journalism and commentary writing. For those passing through Japan, feel free to visit. My e-mail is

-- 1999 --

Suzanne Sataline is now The Wall Street Journal's religion reporter, based in Boston, Massachusetts. Before writing about Catholic assets fights and denomination squabbles, she was a staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

-- 2000 --

• Kwang-chool Lee has left his position as bureau chief of the Korean Broadcasting System's (KBS) Washington, D.C. office and returned to Seoul, Korea as director of their KBS news center. Lee is a former deputy editor and anchorman of KBS Evening News.

• Mary Kay Magistad shared a 2006 Scripps-Howard National Journalism Award with two fellow correspondents and an editor at the Public Radio International/BBC program "The World" for their series on stem cell research in China (Mary Kay's contribution), Israel, Britain and the United States.

The Global Race for Stem Cell Therapies
   – The World
The series, which also won a 2006 duPont-Columbia silver baton, offered a primer on stem cell research, as the interests of science, medicine, politics and religion converge and conflict in the ethical debate over their use. Mary Kay is "The World's" Beijing-based Northeast Asia correspondent.

-- 2001 --

Don Aucoin was named a finalist for the Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Outstanding Writing on Diversity for his contributions to The Boston Globe's "How We Live Here" series on race relations. Aucoin's work will appear in "Best Newspaper Writing 2006," to be published this fall by the Poynter Institute.

-- 2002 --

Roberta Baskin resigned as executive director of The Center for Public Integrity as of June 15th and was succeeded by Managing Director Wendell Rawls, Jr.. In an announcement made by the center, Baskin said she plans to focus on investigative and documentary television projects. While under Baskin's leadership, the center won the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Awards for online investigative and public service reports and received first place honor for in-depth reporting by an online publication from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. She also oversaw the development and launch of the center's database project, LobbyWatch, which is a resource of lobbying information for news organizations.

-- 2003 --

Raviv Drucker and Ofer Shelah have coauthored a book in Hebrew. "Boomerang: The Failure of Leadership in the Second Intifada" was published in Jerusalem by Keter Books in 2005, the month before Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's planned disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. According to Jerusalem-based freelance writer David Dabscheck in his review of the book in Foreign Policy, "Boomerang" "contain[s] the explosive charge that the pullout was concocted more to protect Sharon from a looming corruption indictment than to protect Israel's national security." Packed with interviews, examinations of classified documents, and accounts from top-level officials, "Boomerang" has become a favorite of those opposed to disengagement. Sharon's critics called for an investigation based on the authors' allegations, but the newly installed attorney general exonerated Sharon on the corruption charge before the book's release citing its reliance on unnamed sources, writes Dabscheck. Drucker is a political commentator on Israel's Channel 10 News.

-- 2004 --

Pekka Mykkanen will become Washington, D.C. correspondent for his newspaper in Finland, Helsingin Sanomat. He and his wife, Yin Zi, and son, Miro, will be moving to the United States in August. He writes, "This will be a very important period in our lives and Miro's life especially, which makes us even more enthusiastic. Yin Zi is also excited about her work. She was recently asked to write columns/articles for the Chinese-language Web version of the Financial Times. She also contributes to one economic daily and one art magazine, so she can be writing as much as she wants." They expect to be in Washington for 4-5 years.

-- 2005 --

• Richard Chacón has left The Boston Globe to become director of communications for Deval L. Patrick, a Democrat running for governor of Massachusetts. Chacón, who had been at the Globe for about 12 years, spent the past year as ombudsman. In the paper's announcement, Chacón said he wanted to work with Patrick because of "the message that he's trying to get out to the people. I'm truly excited about this, and I just think that this is kind of a new and different kind of public service from what I was doing before as a journalist." In his career at the Globe, Chacón has been deputy foreign editor, Latin America correspondent, and city hall reporter.

• Henry Jeffreys was appointed editor in chief of the Cape Town daily Die Burger, effective June 1, 2006. Die Burger is the flagship daily of the Naspers Group, South Africa's largest media company. Jeffreys and his family are relocating to Cape Town from Johannesburg. At the time of his Nieman year, Jeffreys was deputy editor of Beeld in South Africa.

• Maggie Mulvihill began a new job in April as the investigative producer for CBS 4 in Boston.

• Ceri Thomas is now editor of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) Radio 4's "Today," a flagship news and current affairs program.

"For my money, this is the best job in BBC daily journalism," said Thomas in a news release. "It's fascinating and full of challenges, and I'm very fortunate to be taking it on at a time when the program's in such good shape. ... I'm tremendously excited to be given the chance to build on it."

Helen Boaden, BBC director of news, said: "Ceri Thomas is an excellent and experienced journalist with a great instinct for connecting with audiences. His flair and passion for radio make him the ideal editor for 'Today.'"

Thomas previously worked for "Today" as a junior producer in 1991, progressing to assistant editor (1995). He then worked as an editor at "Radio Five Live" and over time became head of news. After his Nieman year, he was radio newsgathering editor, with a focus on strengthening the relationship between radio news and BBC newsgathering.

-- 2006 --

David Heath, along with fellow reporter Luke Timmerman, wrote the story that won two awards for The Seattle Times. "Drug researchers leak secrets to Wall St.," published last August,

Selling Drug Secrets: Drug researchers leak secrets to Wall St.
   – The Seattle Times
exposed a Wall Street practice of paying medical researchers for details on potential drugs to get an investment edge. The article received the Scripps Howard Foundation's 2005 National Journalism Award for Business/Economics Reporting, which included the William Brewster Styles award and a cash prize of $10,000. The award was presented April 21st at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C..

The Society of American Business Writers and Editors also gave The Seattle Times its Best in Business projects award in the large newspaper category for the story. Winners were honored in a ceremony held April 30th in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Heath and Timmerman's story, which exposed 26 cases of doctors breaking confidentiality agreements, has led to Securities and Exchange Commission investigations and a crackdown by the Association of American Medical Colleges to "scrupulously honor" confidentiality.

Table of contents
Printer-friendly format

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University
Lippmann House
One Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Telephone: (617) 495-2237
Fax: (617) 495-8976
© 2006 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College