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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

New Director Named at World Press Institute of Macalester College

McGillSt. Paul, Minn. – Douglas McGill, who has been a New York Times reporter, a foreign correspondent, a university lecturer, an author and an Internet innovator during a 30-year journalism career, has been named Executive Director of the World Press Institute effective Jan. 1, 2007.

McGill, 51, will succeed John Ullmann, who is retiring after seven years at the helm of WPI, a private, non-profit international journalism education program based at Macalester College in St. Paul.

“It was fortuitous that WPI could find a new executive director with such solid traditional journalism credentials bolstered by tremendous appreciation of the new digital world and how it can strengthen programs such as ours,” said Howard A. Tyner, WPI’s board chairman. “The timing couldn’t have been better.”

Macalester has been home to WPI since its founding in 1962. The program brings foreign journalists to the United States for four months of travel, classroom work, newsroom visits, public appearances and home stays to introduce them to this country and how its news media operate. The fellows come from all over the world and have backgrounds in print, broadcast and online journalism.

WPI also conducts journalism training programs in St. Paul and abroad.

McGill, a native of Rochester, Minn., and a graduate of Reed College in Portland, Ore., spent 10 years as a reporter for The New York Times on its metropolitan, culture, and business desks in New York City. In 1989 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study environmental issues in Japan in affiliation with the Asahi Shimbun newspaper in Tokyo, for whom he wrote a regular column in its Sunday magazine. He joined Bloomberg News in 1992 as an editor in Tokyo and subsequently worked as Bloomberg's bureau chief in London and Hong Kong. In the late 1990's he was the founding editor of two Web sites that delivered daily news about China written in English, China Online and Virtual China. 

In recent years he founded and has run two Web sites, The McGill Report (, which publishes articles about Minnesota’s international connections, and Local Man (, a discussion blog for journalists interested in global journalism ethics. A collection of his Minnesota-based journalism and essays, “Here: A Global Citizen’s Journey,” is due out later this month from Artpacks, Inc. of Rochester, Minn.

In 2005, NPR’s “On the Media” program dubbed McGill “Glocal Man” for pioneering “glocal” journalism, which runs the gamut from human interest and business stories to global investigative pieces. In 2003, McGill broke the story of an unknown genocide in Ethiopia by interviewing refugees who had fled to Minnesota, and by using cell phones to interview eyewitnesses to a massacre of 425 people as it was happening in a remote Ethiopian village. The story led to a major research report published by Human Rights Watch in 2005, and is now used as a case study in journalism schools and textbooks.

From 2003 to 2006, McGill was an adjunct professor of journalism and mass media at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. In 2004 he taught a graduate level course on the media and public affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in Minneapolis. He is a founding board member of the Twin Cities Media Alliance, a non-profit group that sponsors events and public conferences about citizen journalism and that publishes The Twin Cities Daily Planet (, a Web site of ethnic, immigrant, and community news. Since 2005, he has taught a six-week citizen journalism class each spring and fall at the Resource Center of the Americas in Minneapolis.

“What is terrifically exciting is that thanks to the digital communication revolution we are living through, WPI has an unprecedented chance to explore innovative, global community-building ways to extend its basic journalistic mission during these historically challenging times,” McGill said. “So innovate we will.

“Lots of digitally-focused online journalism groups are popping up now and they are attracting lots of financial support. But precious few of them as yet have WPI’s global viewpoint, not to mention our long international history and experience. This is exactly where we are needed and can make our mark.”

The World Press Institute is at

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,895 students.  Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, diversity and civic engagement.