Philippa Thomas Online

Life and leadership coaching

A day in the life of a Nieman Fellow


(And an exercise in how easily trackable we all are online…)

Breakfast with (@Froomkin) Dan Froomkin of the Huffington Post and his boss Barry Sussman of @NiemanWatchdog. Eight of us met at the Harvard Faculty Club to talk Harvard, journalism, politics, and the US-China trade balance.

Coffee with Nicco Mele  ( at Peets Coffee House, with fellow Fellow Anne-Marie Timmins of the Concord Monitor. Talking Harvard, Nieman, New media.

Bumped into husband in Harvard Yard.  Spent an hour together sheltering from the rain in my favourite quiet corner, the Farnsworth room at the Lamont Library. Writing up our exercises for fiction writing class with author Anne Bernays.

Class on Digital Media, Power and Politics with @nicco in Harvard Kennedy School. A workshop on how to write for Wikipedia, as part of Nicco’s public policy partnership with the Wiki Media Foundation.

Rained out of my class with Clay Shirky (@cshirky) on Social Media and Public Action, since so sopping wet had to catch a bus home to change. But no day is perfect. And the upside of an hour at home was watching / tweeting live streaming video of Swedish prof and global guru (@HansRosling) speaking at Joann’s new global mobile high school TGS. (#tgsrosling,

Evening forum at HKS with panel of great speakers on the life of a foreign correspondent and the ways to finance investigative journalism today. Charles Sennott of @global post (, Martha Raddatz of ABC News (, and  Stephen Engelberg of ProPublica. (

And just in time to Harvard Book Store to hear and meet author Julia Glass on her new novel “The Widower’s Tale” (, as recommended by her friend and fellow Fellow
Joshua Prager. Also bought “Three Junes”, so two newly signed novels to take away.

And a glass of wine with Richard before the day was done.  OK, two.

I woke suddenly at 0300 and now its 0500 so Im writing this to ease some of the whirling thoughts out of my head. Could it be that I am overstimulated?

The boys are in bed, Mum and Dad sleeping in the guest room, and (I hope) all is right with my little part of the world.

Yesterday was one of those good days when I pinch myself in disbelief for the time and the people and the place, every aspect of the Nieman year.

Author: philippathomas

I've been a BBC newswoman for 30 years: reporting from around the world. Currently to be seen anchoring BBC World News TV. Main interests - politics, psychology, reading, trekking, and all things American. I began this personal blog as a 2011 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard. You can also find me talking daily news on Twitter at @PhilippaBBC, coaching @positivecoachi3, and life & travel on Instagram at @philippanews. Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “A day in the life of a Nieman Fellow

  1. Gosh, I am exhausted just reading about it. And quite jealous too. Rather out-does my joke about my typical day at Stanford: Nearly running over Mark Zuckerberg outside Steve Jobs’s house, rushing to get to my seminar with Condi Rice.

    Particularly jealous of the Shirkey class. My fave digital guru.


    • yep Cognitive Surplus is already making me feel somewhat guilty about a career path that seeks to tether people to a small screen. PS be very interesting to swap impressions with you sometime about the Nieman and the Knight!

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