Friday, May 29, 2009

Nieman Foundation Suspends Conferences on Narrative Journalism

The Nieman Foundation at Harvard University announced today that it would suspend the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism and the Nieman Seminar for Narrative Editors during the 2009-2010 academic year.

"This will disappoint those who have participated in the conferences in the past and who anticipated attending another narrative gathering in the spring of 2010. This difficult step reflects the foundation's need to make a major reduction in spending for the next fiscal year, beginning in July," Robert H. Giles, Nieman Foundation curator, wrote in a memo obtained by Jim Romenesko.

The annual conferences, which were attended by hundreds of journalists and writers, were part of our strategy to establish the Nieman Foundation as a leader in supporting the value of long-form storytelling.

This is just another blow to the world of journalism, especially in a age where 140-character tweets are taking over. It's impact was best described by blogger, author and former Los Angeles Times staffer Scott Martelle.

... I moderated a couple of panels at the most recent conference this past March, and every time I've gone I've come away with a deeper understanding of how to make narrative work, and a broader appreciation for the folks who do it, and teach it, exceedingly well (Adam Hochschild, a friend and regular panelist, comes to mind).

This really is a loss to the art of journalism.

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