Global Press Institute Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

By: Press Release

Bay Area, CA – The Global Press Institute is excited to celebrate their fifth anniversary throughout the spring of 2011. Founded in March 2006 by Cristi Hegranes, GPI’s first training program began that September in Chiapas, Mexico. After completing the original, ethics-based training program, the first class of GPI reporters uncovered important stories of AIDS, clandestine abortion, poverty and community development. News offices also operate in Nepal and Kenya with reporters from 19 countries running independent news desks, contributing to the GPI Newswire daily.

Hegranes, 30, founded the Global Press Institute-originally the Press Institute for Women in the Developing World-after working as a foreign correspondent in Nepal.

“Although I spoke Nepali and had an extensive network of local sources from years of work and travel in the region, I realized that no matter how familiar I was with Nepalese culture, I would always be an outsider in the society, a foreigner who would always face an unbridgeable gap in the social, historical and political context of reporting,” Hegrane said. “It seemed obvious that those persons most qualified to be reporting the news were the locals, not a woman from the West.”

During that trip, Hegranes met Pratima C., a woman living in a tiny, remote village in Eastern Nepal. Although Pratima had dropped out of school after the fourth grade, she was literate and highly respected in her local village. As the community matriarch and mediator, she had access to exceptional sources and fascinating stories about the region’s struggles with civil war, disease and crushing poverty.

“Women like Pratima were savvy, inspired and passionate about their communities and should be at the forefront of news reporting,” Hegranes realized. “If women like Pratima were given the opportunity to be trained in the principles and practices of ethical journalism, the news they could produce would not only change their lives and that of their families, it would also change the world.”

And through the unique training-to-employment model that offers rigorous, traditional journalism training with long-term employment opportunities for women in developing countries, the Global Press Institute strives to do just that.

Women reporting for the Global Press Institute earn a strong living wage and reporters in Nepal, Kenya and Kosovo have had their work featured in 13 different publications around the world as well as received awards for their writing.

“The last five years have been an unbelievable gift. I have no words to explain the thrill of watching this vision turn into a powerful reality. I am endlessly in awe of GPI reporters who are igniting social change with the power of their journalism in two dozen countries across the globe,” Hegranes said. “And I am endlessly grateful for people who read our news, share our stories and support our efforts. We are very fortunate to have grown so much during these difficult economic times. I am so proud that every dollar given to GPI has been used purposefully to advance our mission and empower women around the world to use their voices in the fight for change.”

Events celebrating the fifth anniversary of GPI will take place around the United States, raising awareness and funding for news desks around the world:

April: In honor of this milestone anniversary, GPI has been invited to participate in Global Giving’s April Challenge! Global Giving is a prestigious platform that spotlights some of the world’s best charities. This month Global Giving is featuring a new GPI program that will train 16 women in our News Desks in Haiti, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Kenya to report on the human realities of climate change. The goal is to raise $4,000 from 50 donors in 30 days. If GPI makes the goal, the organization will earn a permanent place on Global Giving. Also, every cent raised in April will be generously matched by The Boston Foundation.

May 5: Silent Auction & Fundraiser for the Global Press Institute’s Chiapas News Desk at MATTED LIC Gallery (46-36 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, NY)

About Cristi Hegranes
Hegranes has recently been honored as an Unsung Hero by a local Jefferson Award and was named to the Top 40 Under 40 by the North Bay Business Journal. She has also received the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism, the Clarion Award for Investigative Journalism and a Lifestyle Journalism Prize, among others. She holds a master’s degree from New York University, served as a fellow-in-residence at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg and received a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where she is often a lecturer in the English department. Cristi also teaches News Entrepreneurship at San Francisco State University.

About the Global Press Institute
Dedicated to bringing responsible, investigative news from the developing world to communities throughout the globe, the Global Press Institute has trained over 100 women and the GPI Newswire receives 10,000 hits per month, a number that the organization aims to double with a new content syndication initiative which will allow PI content to be available through other news outlets.

During the past five years, the Global Press Institute has expanded its programming and also provides ethics seminars and media trainings within the United States, operates a Social Investment Center and runs numerous global partnerships in order to reach more people around the world.

GPI currently has content partnerships with UPI, Republica, AllAfrica.com, MediaGlobal, Topix, Womens Enews, The Jim Luce Stewardship Report, IPPF, Newstex, Miller-McCune, and Women News Network.

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