Project on Public Narrative

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The Project on Public Narrative was directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ron Suskind. The Project administered a fellowship program that hosted journalists who produced work of investigative depth and narrative sweep, and who contributed to the intellectual life of the University by attending seminars and other events. 

The Project's inaugural class of 2014-15 Fellows were:

Norm Alster
Sebastian Jones
Samuel Loewenberg
Brooke Williams

The Project, launched in the summer of 2014 in partnership with the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, was conceived of by Suskind after the publication of his latest book, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, brought the power of narrative into full relief as a subject in need of further study and understanding. Through the lens of science, technology, journalism, and ethics, the Project explored important questions such as how does applied narrative work, how can it be used effectively to achieve social change, and what can it tell us about ourselves?

2014-15 Project on Public Narrative Fellows:

Norm Alster has worked for Forbes, Business Week and Investor’s Business Daily. In recent years, he has been a frequent contributor to the business pages of The New York Times. A graduate of Columbia College and the Columbia School of Journalism, Norm feels fortunate that his editors have generally given him the freedom to tackle a wide range of subjects. He has, for example, done original reporting on industrial espionage, the impact of financial speculation on oil prices and the lobbying influence of the high tech and banking industries. Norm issued timely warnings in advance of both the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000 and the financial crisis of 2008. During his fellowship, he will examine how the inordinate influence of corporate interests led to errors of commission and omission at the FCC.

Sebastian Jones is a journalist and editor. Previously, he was a 2014 Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow and has worked for the Nation, ProPublica and the Washington Monthly. His articles have appeared in a variety of outlets including the Washington Post and USA Today. During his fellowship year, Jones will explore the intersection of public relations and policy-making in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Princeton University.

Samuel Loewenberg is a journalist who covers the intersection of global health, business, government and politics. He was the 2011-12 Nieman Foundation Global Health Reporting Fellow at Harvard University. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, The Times, Time, National Journal, Mother Jones, The Nation, The Washington Post, Slate, The Lancet, and on PBS. From 2001-02 he was a Knight-Bagehot Journalism Fellow in Business and Economics at Columbia University. In 2013, he held an appointment as an associate research faculty at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University. During his fellowship, he will be investigating the political, economic, and institutional barriers to reforming American foreign assistance programs for global health and hunger.

Brooke Williams is a veteran award winning investigative reporter who specializes in data-driven journalism. She is currently a contributor to The New York Times, and her work has appeared in many outlets such as the Center for Public Integrity, inewsource, the San Diego Union-Tribune, KPBS, ABC World News and the New Republic. She wrote a chapter in "The Buying of the President 2004," a national bestseller, and built the first nationwide database of allegations local prosecutorial misconduct in 2002 to help report and write "Harmful Error: Investigating America's local prosecutors." Williams work to hold the powerful accountable has prompted multiple investigations, including a federal criminal probe into contractors hired to haul away debris after wildfires ravaged San Diego County in 2007. She won the George Polk Award in 2004 and was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists in 2005 and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award in 2012. During her fellowship, Williams is investigating think tanks, building the first database to track money they receive from corporations and foreign governments and shedding light on how some partner to try and influence public policy and opinion. In the 2014-15 academic year, as a fellow with the Investigative Journalism Project at the soon to be launched Project on Public Narrative directed by Ron Suskind, Williams will continue her reporting on think tanks as well as launch a nationwide, data-driven investigation of federal prosecutors.