Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
Established 1986
Director Nicco Mele
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Campus Urban

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy is a Harvard University research center that explores the intersection and impact of media, politics and public policy in theory and practice.[1]

Among other activities, the center organizes dozens of yearly events for journalists, scholars and the public, many of which take place at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.[2][3] Courses taught by Shorenstein Center professors are also an integral part of the Harvard Kennedy School's curriculum; as of 2014, faculty at the center include Michael Ignatieff, the Canadian author, academic and former politician;[4] Steve Jarding, an international educator and political consultant;[5] Matthew Baum, the Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications;[6] and Thomas E. Patterson, the author and Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press.[7][8]

Since its founding in 1986, the center has also emerged as a significant source for research on U.S. campaigns, elections and journalism.[9] The center hosts an average of four fellows each semester, all of whom produce a major piece of research on a broad range of topics.[10] Papers have included "Riptide: What Really Happened to the News Business," by John Huey, Martin Nisenholtz and Paul Sagan;[11][12] "Did Twitter Kill the Boys on the Bus?" by Peter Hamby of CNN and Snapchat;[9][13] and "Digital Fuel of the 21st Century," by Vivek Kundra, who was the first chief information officer of the United States from March 2009 to August 2011 under President Barack Obama.[14][15]

The Shorenstein Center also awards the annual Goldsmith Awards Program, which includes the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and the Goldsmith Book Prize.[16][17] Past winners have included James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times;[18] Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune;[19] and Debbie Cenziper and Sarah Cohen of the Washington Post.[20] Other prizes and lectures given by the Shorenstein Center include the David Nyhan Prize for Political Journalism,[21] the Shorenstein Prize, the T.H. White Lecture on Press and Politics[22] and the Richard S. Salant Lecture on Freedom of the Press.[23]


The John F. Kennedy School of Government has always recognized that engagement with the media should be part of the school's focus, and initially this role was fulfilled by the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP).[24][25] In 1974 Jonathan Moore became the institute's director, and under him the IOP sponsored conferences and invited journalists to Harvard as fellows.[26] In 1980 Moore drafted a proposal for a Harvard center on the press, politics and public policy. Kennedy School dean Graham Allison and Harvard president Derek Bok supported the concept, and an advisory board and committee were formed.[27] Those consulted included political scientist Richard Neustadt; attorney and educator David Riesman; journalists James C. Thomson Jr., David S. Broder, J. Anthony Lukas and Dan Rather; newspaper executives Otis Chandler, Katharine Graham and William O. Taylor II; researcher Stephen H. Hess; Foreign Affairs editor James F. Hoge, Jr.; and television executive Frank Stanton . An endowment fund was created by the IOP, and other donations came from the Boston Globe, Cox Enterprises, Walter Cronkite and General Electric. In all, these efforts raised $5 million for professorships, programs and fellowships.[27]

In March 1985, Joan Shorenstein, a producer of the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, died of cancer at age 38. Her parents, Walter H. and Phyllis J. Shorenstein, were interested in creating an initiative that would honor their daughter's passion for journalism and politics, and spoke with Edward M. Kennedy, Allison, Bok and Moore. The Shorensteins' gave an initial gift of $5 million, and the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy officially opened in September 1986.[27][28] At the ceremony an address was given by Benjamin C. Bradlee, with remarks by Senator Kennedy, Walter H. Shorenstein and others.[27]

Two years after the Shorenstein Center's founding, veteran journalist Marvin Kalb became its director.[29] He worked to raise the center's profile, and under his leadership the Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics was established, followed by the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.[30] Kalb directed the center until 1999, and during that time formalized its fellowship program; developed the introductory course on press, politics and public policy; and expanded the Kennedy School's curriculum.[27]

On July 1, 2000, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Alex S. Jones was named director of the Shorenstein Center.[31] Since taking over, he has enhanced the fellowship program, launched initiatives to increase student engagement and broadened the advisory board. The Shorenstein Center is one of the most active programs at the Harvard Kennedy School, and has hosted more than a thousand speakers since 1986.[32]

On April 25, 2016, the former Senior Vice President and Deputy Publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Nicco Mele, was named the new director.[33]


In December 2013 the Harvard Kennedy School announced a gift of $5 million from Doug and Lydia Shorenstein to Harvard University.[34] The funds will be used to establish the Walter Shorenstein Fellowship in Media and Democracy, in honor of Walter Shorenstein. To recognize the commitment of the entire Shorenstein family, the center became the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. The new name also more accurately reflects the center’s focus on media in all its forms, from the traditional mainstream press into blogs and social-media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. In honor of Joan Shorenstein, the current Shorenstein fellowships will now be called Joan Shorenstein Fellowships.[34]

See also


  1. "Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy". Harvard Kennedy School. 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  2. "Shorenstein Center Calendar". 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  3. "IOP Panelists Simulate Oil Shock". 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  4. "Michael Ignatieff, the Intellectual Who Wanted to Be a Politician". Boston Globe. 2013-11-17. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  5. "In South Dakota Race, Gauging the Impact of a Senator's Health". New York Times. 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  6. "Suffocating Echo Chamber". New York Times. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  7. "Harvard's Thomas Patterson Takes the Media to Task". 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  8. "Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism". 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  9. 1 2 "Campaign Journalism in the Age of Twitter". New York Times. 2013-09-01. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  10. "Shorenstein Center Papers". 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  11. "Riptide: What Really Happened to the News Business". September 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  12. "Against the Riptide". Columbia Journalism Review. 2013-09-13. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  13. "Did Twitter Kill the Boys on the Bus?". August 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  14. "Digital Fuel of the 21st Century: Innovation through Open Data and the Network Effect". Fall 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  15. "Tight Budget? Look to the 'Cloud'". New York Times. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  16. "Goldsmith Awards Program". Harvard Kennedy School. 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  17. "ABC's Brian Ross Investigative Unit Named Goldsmith Prize Finalist". Media Bistro. 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  18. "2 Times Reporters Win Prize for Articles on Spying". New York Times. 2006-03-16. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  19. "Chicago Tribune reporters win Goldsmith Prize, Nicholas D. Kristof delivers keynote". 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  20. "Washington Post team wins 2009 Goldsmith reporting prize". 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  21. "Bob Herbert". New York Times. 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  22. "Theodore H. White Lecture". 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  23. "Salant Lecture". 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  24. "Harvard University Creates Institute of Politics; 10 Fellows Appointed to Unit in Graduate School, Which Is Renamed for Kennedy". New York Times. 1966-10-18. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  25. "About Us > History". Harvard Institute of Politics. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  26. "Jonathan Moore". John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  27. 1 2 3 4 5 "25 Years and Counting for the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy". Harvard Kennedy School. 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  28. "An Old-Time Kingmaker and His Political Legacy". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
  29. "Marvin Kalb, Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice, Emeritus Harvard Kennedy School". Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  30. "In Increasing Numbers, Critics Get an Early Start in Their Analysis of Campaign Reporting". New York Times. 1996-03-11. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  31. "Alex S. Jones Named New Director of the Shorenstein Center". Harvard Gazette. 2000-04-20. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  32. "Shorenstein Center Events Archive". Retrieved 2014-04-25.
  33. "Nicco Mele Named as New Director of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard Kennedy School - Shorenstein Center". Shorenstein Center. 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  34. 1 2 "HKS establishes the Walter Shorenstein Fellowship in Media and Democracy". Harvard Gazette. 2013-10-13. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
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