Spring 2020 Fellows
Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellows
Don Baer has had a career that spans roles as a media and communications executive for a range of business, government, political and non-profit enterprises. Since 2014 he has been the Chair of PBS’s Board of Directors. He is also the lead independent director and member of the Board of Directors of the Meredith Corporation, a publicly held media company that owns magazines, television stations and online services.
From 2012-18, Baer was Worldwide CEO and Chair of the strategic communications firm Burson-Marsteller, and was Global Chair of its successor firm BCW from 2018-19. Previously he was White House Communications Director and Chief Speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, and helped lead his 1996 re-election campaign. Baer is also a former journalist covering national affairs and politics, a media executive at Discovery Communications, and a lawyer.
While at the Kennedy School, Baer will lead a series of study groups on the potential intersection between public media and the private sector in the national conversation, as well as participate in other activities at the Shorenstein Center, the Center for Public Leadership, and HKS. His fellowship is co-sponsored by the Center for Public Leadership.
Gwyneth Williams recently left the BBC, having been Controller of Radio 4 and 4 Extra since 2011. Before that she was Director of the World Service in English, Editor of the BBC Reith Lectures for many years, and Head of BBC Radio Current Affairs. She started her career at the BBC writing current affairs talks for the World Service and then worked at the Overseas Development Institute before returning to the BBC. She took five years out of formal employment in the 1980s to be with her children. She has published two books, one (co-authored) on Southern Africa, and another on Third World political organizations. Williams grew up in South Africa and was educated at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. While at the Shorenstein Center, Williams will host events that focus on how to get big ideas into the mainstream and make them part of the discussion.
Joan Shorenstein Fellows
Ann Cooper has more than 25 years of radio and print reporting experience. She also worked as executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists prior to joining the Columbia Journalism School faculty, where she retired in 2019 as CBS Professor Emerita of Professional Practice. Cooper’s voice was well known to National Public Radio listeners as NPR’s first Moscow bureau chief, covering the tumultuous events of the final five years of Soviet communism. She has continued to write about the glasnost era, the subsequent decline of press freedom in Russia, and Russia’s global media strategy. Cooper worked as NPR’s bureau chief in Johannesburg 1992-1995, where her coverage of South Africa’s first all-race elections helped NPR win a duPont-Columbia silver baton for excellence in broadcast journalism. Iowa State University, where Cooper majored in journalism, has honored her with its James W. Schwartz award for service to journalism and its Alumni Merit Award, given “for outstanding contributions to human welfare that transcend purely professional accomplishments and bring honor to the university.” While at the Shorenstein Center, Cooper is writing a paper on “Russian Media and the Legacy of Glasnost.”
April Glaser is an investigative journalist at NBC News, covering the technology industry and labor and workplace culture in Silicon Valley. Previously, she worked at Slate, Recode, and Wired, reporting on AI, disinformation and hate online, and social media platforms. Before journalism, Glaser worked at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and various other nonprofits focusing on technology policy. She has appeared on NPR, BBC, MSNBC, and elsewhere. While at the Shorenstein Center, Glaser will study new frameworks for approaching internet policy and keeping users safe online and will report on how data profiling, algorithmic targeting, and weak privacy protections harms specific communities of users.
Tara Westover, author of Educated. Tara Westover received her BA from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She then returned to the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. Her first book, Educated (2018), is a memoir of Westover’s life growing up with her survivalist family in rural Idaho and her journey to education. It debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has remained on the list for more than a year. It was a finalist for several national awards, including the L.A. Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and President Obama and Bill Gates both recommended Educated on their annual reading lists. The American Booksellers Association voted Educated the Nonfiction Book of the Year, and Time Magazine named Westover one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2019.
Kathy Pham, computer scientist, product leader, and researcher on ethics and technology. She has held roles in product management, software engineering, data science, and leadership in the private, non-profit, and public sectors. Her work has spanned Google, IBM, Harris Healthcare, and the federal government at the United States Digital Service at the White House, where she was a founding product and engineering member. She is a Fellow at Mozilla co-leading the Responsible Computer Science Challenge, and Affiliate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center where she leads the Ethical Tech working group. Most recently, she founded Product and Society, and The Ethical Tech Collective. While at the Kennedy School she is teaching and works closely with the Technology and Social Change Research Project.