“It was his love of the people, the culture, the food and ‘meze’ style dinners that attracted him to Turkey” and it was journalism that brought him back.
Robert was a journalist, filmmaker and news executive, who, later in life, taught Journalism at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul.
Early on, Robert knew journalism in Turkey needed a boost. He wanted to elevate the profession by encouraging more university students to pursue journalism as their choice of study. The classes he taught were small, less than ten students per class, which spoke to a weakness in the field that he believed needed to be rectified.
After his passing in 2016, Joan Rebecca Siregar-Long, Long’s widow, wanted to establish a program in his honor that encourages young people seeking careers in journalism. “I knew it was the right fit for Turkish journalists as my wish has been to honor Robert’s life-long ambition of empowering journalists” said Joan Rebecca.
TPF became the facilitator and did research on possible partnership opportunities with various universities. The outcome was to establish a Fellowship program in Robert’s name with Nieman Foundation at Harvard University for Turkish journalists. Fellowship recipients will audit courses at Harvard, MIT and Tufts, attend lectures, talks and seminars by experts in a variety of fields and join a tight-knit community of fellows from all over the world.
Nieman Foundation’s Curator, Ann Marie Lipinsky said “This is a critical time for journalism in Turkey and we are so honored to be able to offer this fellowship. We learned from Robert’s colleagues what a significant impact he had on their work and on journalism more broadly and we look forward to this fellowship having a significant impact on a new generation of journalists. We are grateful to Joan Rebecca for seeing the value in the Nieman experience and for entrusting us to help fortify Turkish journalists for the important work ahead.”
As Robert lived by the phrase ‘Always seek out the answers, do not be afraid’ the fellowship that bears his name is dedicated to helping journalists thrive and never be alone in their pursuit of truth.
When Joan Rebecca was asked what Robert would say today about the fellowship she simply replied “He would smile and his eyes would tear, knowing that his support to those in his profession would live on”. Joan Rebecca would say to him, “Through this initiative, I am channeling you”.
Be a part of the movement. Elevate the profession. Share this fellowship with a friend or apply yourself.
The international application deadline for the 2018-2019 academic year is Dec. 1, 2017.
The fellowship will be offered for the next three years. Interested candidates should apply online to Harvard University’s Nieman Fellowship program. Information about eligibility and the application process is available on the Nieman website.
Contributions to honor Robert L. Long’s name are also accepted at this time.