Nieman @80 — A Relevant Celebration

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The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard marked its 80th anniversary with a gathering of over 400 Nieman alumni, fellows and friends at Harvard’s Memorial Church. It was a particularly timely gathering, as journalism is facing unprecedented threats around the world, and the work of a free press is more vital than ever. Sargent Production Services and Harvard Events selected AVFX as the full-service production partner for the event.

A rear projection was used for the entire scenic treatment, freeing the creative team from any need for hard scenery.

Nieman Live!” featured a series of eight stories told by Nieman alumni and a performance of Phil Ochs’ “The Ballad of William Worthy’ by Alistair Moock. William Worthy was a Nieman fellow, journalist and political activist who had his passport confiscated by U.S. officials after his return from China in 1957 for violating a U.S. State Department travel ban. He was one of the first U.S. journalists to visit China following the 1949 communist takeover. Worthy then later went to Cuba to report on the revolution there and was arrested for re-entering the states without a valid passport upon his return home.

The storytellers included:

  • Ying Chan, a leading Chinese investigative journalist, and educator
  • Mexico’s Marcela Turati on the dangers journalists face in her country
  • New Yorker and Boston Globe cartoonist Christopher Weyant
  • Jenee Osterheldt from The Boston Globe, on race, culture, and journalism
  • Journalist, columnist and author Issac Bailey on newsroom diversity
  • Eli Reed, the first black photographer at Magnum Photos
  • Phillip Meyer, the father of precision journalism
  • And Ann and Bill Marimow, father and daughter Nieman Fellows, who discussed the changes they’ve seen at Nieman over time
  • Harvard’s Rev. Jonathan Walton closed out the event.

We used 12 Philips SL Bars and several LED lekos to light Memorial Church.

AVFX designed a simple and very effective LED lighting treatment for the church, transforming the formal white columns and ceiling into a moving palette of color, visible across Harvard Yard through the tall church windows.

Sargent Production Services and the Nieman Foundation were very pleased!

Thanks to Sargent Production Services
and Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for this great opportunity.


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