Five scholars examining subjects ranging from press coverage of the Central Intelligence Agency to the interplay of politics and media in the Czech Republic will study at the Kennedy School this year.
The seasoned collection of journalists and scholars will spend the semester conducting research and attending attend weekly seminars and other organized events as fellows at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, the center announced Monday.
“I think that this is a choice group and one that is going to be very interesting,” Shorenstein Center Director Alex S. Jones said.
The group of fellows, culled from 75 original applicants from around the world, in the past has included satirist Al Franken ’73 and broadcast journalist Connie Chung.
Ted Gup, a professor of journalism at Case Western Reserve University and a journalist of 25 years, will look into press coverage of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Gup has written a book on covert CIA operatives killed in the line of duty, and has also worked as a staff writer for The Washington Post and Time magazine.
Regina Lawrence is an associate professor at Portland State University and a specialist in media coverage of public policy issues. Her research this semester will focus on public health issues such as juvenile substance abuse, gun violence and the coverage of the anthrax outbreaks.
“The media focus on the individual-level behavior and sometimes obscure the social picture,” Lawrence said, adding that it may just be “easier” for reporters to write stories that “individualize” these widespread problems.
Lawrence said that previous Shorenstein Fellows, including her dissertation adviser, had praised the fellowships, which helped to pique her interest.
Tomas Klvana will focus on the media’s role in the recovery of civic society in the Czech Republic. He recently served as spokesperson and policy adviser to Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, and has also been deputy editor-in-chief of a leading Czech daily newspaper and a professor at the University of South Maine.
He described the Czech Republic’s transition from Communism as a “painful process.”
“Civic society was pretty much destroyed,” he said. “Everything had to reemerge after 1989.”
He called his new role a “welcome relief” in comparison to his work for the president of the Czech Republic.
“You focus on thousands of little things throughout the course of the day, so you can’t think of a long-term strategy,” he said.
James W. Carey is a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He will spend his fellowship writing a short history of journalism.