World Press Institute Announces 2006 Fellows
Editor in exile, award-winning reporters among 10 international journalists
St. Paul, Minn. — A Liberian reporting via the Internet from a refugee camp in Ghana, an investigative reporter who covers crime in Brazil, the Spanish author of a book on Muslim immigrants, and business editors from China, the Czech Republic and Myanmar are among the 10 international journalists selected as 2006 fellows of the World Press Institute, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.
Broadcast journalists from Australia and Senegal, the editor in chief of an independent daily in Georgia and a feature writer from Papua New Guinea complete WPI’s 2006 class.
WPI fellows spend four months together immersed in journalism issues and the culture of the United States. They also study U.S. politics, business and civil society through a demanding schedule of study, travel and interviews throughout the country. This year’s program, which begins July 31 and concludes Nov. 17, will focus special attention on health care and education in addition to transparency reporting.
Semantics King Jr. is the founder and managing editor of TheVisionOnline.net, an online bimonthly newsletter serving Buduburum, a huge refugee camp on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana. He plans to take the publication home to his “beloved country” in the foreseeable future and admits to having “a big dream — to educate people about their basic human rights.”
Solange Azevedo writes about crime, justice and human rights for the magazine Época in São Paulo. She notes, “ Brazil is the worldwide champion of homicides in total numbers, according to the World Health Organization.” Only six years into her journalism career, she’s already won three awards for her work, and since 2005 has been teaching investigative reporting.
Silvia Taulés is on the staff of El Mundo , Spain ’s leading daily, and claims social journalism as her beat. She defines it as “talking to people who deal with reality and who understand the world maybe better than politicians.” Taulés is especially interested in immigration and has written a book, “La nueva España musulmana,” about the new Muslim Spain.
Lu Hongyong writes mostly about business, finance and technology for the China Daily in Shanghai. He is particularly interested in how print media are to survive the impact of the Internet, and aims one day to become an independent publisher in China.
Jan Stuchlik covers international affairs for the largest business weekly in the Czech Republic. “I also cover American issues,” he says, “which is not easy without precise knowledge of the context.” This is what he hopes, as a journalist, to gain from the WPI fellowship: “a comprehensive picture of what is happening in the U.S.”
Because of the political situation in Myanmar , formerly Burma, a journalist’s life there is very different from that in other countries in the region says Kyaw Min Swe.
There is no systematic training and “we are all somehow self taught.” Swe is chief editor of Living Color Magazine, a business monthly, plus two weekly newspapers, The Voice and Khit Myanmar.
About his upcoming WPI fellowship he says, “I want to study how a democracy deals with conflict. What is the role of the media? How does the checks-and-balances system work in reality? I am especially interested in measuring the U.S. mood on Iraq.”
Australian Claire Gorman produces and reports for the leading drive-time talk-radio program in Canberra. She has traveled extensively and lived in numerous countries. Gorman decided to become a journalist at the age of 15 when she was living in Thailand and, as a result of a military coup, the newspapers frequently appeared with “huge blank spaces where the news had been cut by censors. That’s when I began to understand what it means to have a free media.”
Mamadou Thior is editor in chief in charge of political affairs at RTS, a public service radio and television station in the capital of Senegal. With 60 political parties in the country and a government of 40 ministers, all of whom expect their activities to be covered by the station, his is no small task.
“Managing an independent newspaper in the former Soviet republics, especially in Georgia, is not easy because we do not have freedom of speech and freedom of the press and therefore, to tell the truth and be accurate, unbiased and fair requires taking a lot of risks,” says Rusudan Tsereteli, editor in chief of Rustavi-Info. In addition to her work at the daily, Tsereteli has translated the World Press Freedom Committee’s basic training manual, “Handbook for Journalists,” into Georgian and last year launched a school of journalism in Georgia.
Described by colleagues as a gifted feature writer, Sam Vulum worked as a reporter, subeditor, book editor, general news and foreign desk editor before joining Colour sports magazine in Papua New Guinea as general manager. Not surprisingly for a journalist coming from a country with at least 700 indigenous societies and languages, he says he is “keen to learn about America as a successful multi-cultural and multi-racial society.”
“As in past years, the fellows will observe life in the United States through the lens of the First Amendment,” said John Ullmann, WPI executive director. “We also focus on the best U.S. journalists and our best journalism practices.”
WPI’s 2006 fellows are:
WPI was established at Macalester College in 1961 with initial funding from DeWitt Wallace, a St. Paul native, Macalester alumnus and creator of the Reader’s Digest. It is a private, nonprofit, educational organization supported by a wide range of foundations, national and local news organizations, multinational U.S. corporations, individuals and the college. WPI has 496 alumni in 94 countries.
Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,841 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.