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Robert Giles

Robert H. Giles served as curator of the Nieman Foundation from 2000 to 2011. Previously, he worked for nearly 40 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, most recently as editor and publisher of The Detroit News, which he joined in 1986 as executive editor. From 1977-1986, Giles was executive editor and then editor at the Democrat & Chronicle and the Times-Union, in Rochester, N.Y. His newspaper career began in 1958 at the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, where he held several reporting and editing positions before becoming managing editor and then executive editor.

As managing editor of the Beacon Journal, Giles directed coverage of the campus shootings at Kent State University, for which the newspaper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Before coming to Harvard in 2000, he was a senior vice president of the Freedom Forum and executive director of its Media Studies Center in New York City.

Giles is a graduate of DePauw University and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He was a Nieman Fellow in 1966. He received an honorary Doctorate in Journalism from DePauw in 1996.



How about getting some substance in those GOP presidential debates?
ASK THIS | October 05, 2011
Bob Giles says debate moderators until now have been letting the candidates get away with scripted answers. He urges Bloomberg and the Washington Post, partial sponsors of the next debate, to do better on issues, ideas, solutions, and follow-up, and he offers ten solid questions of his own for them to consider.

No need for the Chinese to censor if Facebook does it for them
COMMENTARY | March 14, 2011
The byline ‘Michael Anti’, a pen name used by a popular Chinese journalist, was good enough for the New York Times, for whom he worked for a decade, but not for Facebook, which removed his account and along with it more than 1,000 contacts he had made.

Let the Bush-era tax cuts expire…all of them
COMMENTARY | November 18, 2010
The lame-duck Congress is debating whether to keep the personal income tax cuts for the wealthy and the middle class or only for the middle class. Bob Giles suggests that President Obama take charge and announce that he would veto any extension, for anyone. It would be a call on Americans to sacrifice, as they have in past emergencies. And income tax rates wouldn't be any higher than they were under Bill Clinton.

Bob Giles on the U.S. refusal to allow entry to a Nieman Fellow
COMMENTARY | July 15, 2010
In the 60 years since international journalists have been awarded Nieman fellowships, Hollman Morris of Colombia is the first to be denied entry to the United States by our government. Nieman curator Giles says that if the denial holds, it would an alarming, major recasting of the doctrine of press freedom – opening journalists to charges of terrorist activities because they established contacts with and reported on terrorist organizations.

A new I.F. Stone medal
SHOWCASE | March 05, 2008
As part of its watchdog journalism commitment, the Nieman Foundation is establishing an annual award in recognition of journalistic independence and brave, provocative reporting.

Giles urges TV reporters to ask tougher questions
COMMENTARY | January 12, 2007
TV has an edge over print in that it can take viewers along for the interview. But too often, writes the Nieman Foundation curator, American TV reporters accept evasive, reluctant answers without pressing for more. Why not follow the British model of tough interviewing?

‘The emerging mind of community journalism’
COMMENTARY | April 14, 2006
Participants at an Alabama session on community papers (circulation under 50,000) focus on leaving aloofness behind and connecting with readers in a personal way.

Nieman Foundation to offer global health fellowships
SHOWCASE | January 30, 2006
Curator Bob Giles describes pilot program that will run for the next 3 years; funding is by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and work includes four months in a developing country after a year at Harvard.

Transparency benefits the practice of journalism
COMMENTARY | May 01, 2004
'The Nieman Watchdog Project ... is grounded in the belief that probing questions are essential to informed reporting'

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