Bridge reporter Chastity Pratt wins Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University

Bridge Magazine reporter Chastity Pratt is one of 27 global journalists who were selected for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism fellowship program at Harvard University.


Bridge Magazine urban affairs reporter Chastity Pratt on Friday was named one of 27 global journalists selected for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism fellowship program at Harvard University.

Among the most prestigious fellowships, the program allows journalists to study and research topics at Harvard for two semesters, participate in Nieman seminars, workshops and master classes and conduct research with Harvard scholars.

Pratt, a decorated journalist who covered education for 20 years, plans to study how government destabilizes urban education and explore ways multimedia storytelling can amplify solutions.

She is part of Nieman’s Class of 2020 that includes journalists from 12 nations, nine states and Washington D.C. The class includes local reporters, foreign correspondents, newsroom executives, producers and Detroit Free Press reporter Matt Dolan.

Pratt joined the staff of Bridge in late 2013, and has won numerous awards for her coverage of education, politics, the Flint Water Crisis, immigration issues and urban affairs.

This week, she won a first-place award from the Detroit Society of Professional Journalists for an article about the planned Gordie Howe International Bridge’s impact on the Delray neighborhood of Detroit.

Pratt came to Bridge from the Detroit Free Press, where her reporting led to the firing and jailing of several officials and inspired the creation of the Detroit Blight Authority.

Pratt is a board member for the Society of Professional Journalists Detroit chapter and is often sought to provide training and moderate discussions for journalism organizations around the country as well as provide on-air analysis for local and national news outlets.

She currently is featured in a PBS series airing this month entitled, “Our Kids” based on a book by the same name authored by Robert Putnam, a retired professor and former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Before the Free Press, the native Detroiter was a reporter at Newsday in Long Island, NY, and The Oregonian newspaper in Portland. She started her career as an intern at The New York Times. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and communications from the University of Michigan.


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Fri, 05/03/2019 - 2:44pm

A well-deserved honor for a respected journalist and voice of the community!

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 10:12pm

We are all so proud of Chastity and her work. Harvard is fortunate to have her.

David Zeman
Bridge Editor

Al Churchill
Sun, 05/05/2019 - 8:14am

Well deserved Chastity----from all the folks at UAW Local 182

Fred J
Mon, 05/06/2019 - 6:12pm

Good job!

Fred J
Mon, 05/06/2019 - 6:13pm

Good job!

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 12:21am

Ms. Pratt has a very good style of writing, it flows in a way even a struggling reader such as myself enjoys the reading.
I think this will enhance Ms. Pratt's credential quite nicely, it will help her hone her skills and development into the new model of reporting, advocacy above informing readers. I have not found in her reporting a balance questioning or information offer insight into both sides of a story. She has written much on education in Detroit and its struggles, she consistently denigrates charter schools but I have not here ever inquire about successful ones and why they succeed, or about private schools and why they succeed, or public schools outside of Wayne County and why they succeed.
“No place has been more impacted by that than Detroit, where for 25 years there has been widespread school choice,” Pratt said. “Most kids there take advantage of it. But data show that we have the worst performing charter schools and traditional schools. So my question is, why haven’t you visited a school in Detroit to talk to families about that dichotomy?” Nothing here about why and how charter school provide a choice, nothing here about what alternatives to the current schools we need, just an interest in Sec. DeVos travels schedule and the way it was frame made it sound as personal agenda item rather than trying to gather information for readers.

Ms. Pratt's style seems more of aggressive attack on what/who she has in her sights but not an inquisitive interest to help readers make informed choices. Do we hear MSNBC and CNN calling and an East coast career?

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 7:18pm

I watch what my daughter and her kids experience [5 years].
And maybe there are some charter schools that do work, I know of one where the charter school would accommodate a granddaughters health issues while the regular schools in the district would not, and that culture of working with the individual child and parents extended to the classroom.
Maybe that is the exception but it proves the rule of choice and the value it provides. Oh, that child and her brother have gone from their academic success at that charter school to further academic success in middle school and high school [she is in the top 5% of a class of 850 in a highly competitive district].

I think is it better to ask where are the successes and how they are achieving their successes rather then simply making blanket condemnations to defend the status quo of the current public schools in Detroit and like districts.
I believe in the competition of ideas, the learning from a diversity of perspectives, and building on success not wallowing in the past and trying to recreate an old system because of nostalgia.
You seem to be like Ms. Pratt, attack out of fear that others may have a viable answer, and don't ask and listen so you can learn what they are doing and why. In reality the most important thing is asking the right question rather then trying to coerce other into believing you have 'the' right answer. Neither you nor Ms. Pratt care to ask the right question. My question is how do we get the students to change, to heighten their desire to learn. What is your question, what is Ms. Pratt's question? I do remember when Detroit's Cass Tech high school was a premier school in Michigan, but the kids changed and as Cass Tech fell as did all of Detroit public schools and until people, such as Ms. Pratt, learn the lessons from Cass Tech nothing will change no matter how much Ms. Pratt berates people such as Sec, DeVos or who sets in that chair next. Oh, the reputation of Cass Tech was that if you went there you would have to study more than any where else, even more than what a kid playing for a top high school football team would have to practice.