Journalists from Baltic States visit St. Louis Pro Chapter

Journalists from Baltic States visit SPJ in St. Louis

Twelve journalists from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania gather for a portrait after meeting with members of the St. Louis Pro Chapter on Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Webster University campus in the Old Post Office Building in downtown St. Louis. The journalists were guests of the U.S. State Department and visited several media outlets in the St. Louis area. Much of the 90-minute meeting Thursday focused on their questions about press coverage of the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., which has received considerable attention overseas. The journalists in turn described the tension in their countries with neighboring Russia and how they have attempted to cover that story despite the political and social conflicts in the region. Their visit was organized by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, part of a nonprofit, nonpartisan network of councils in the United States that seeks public engagement in international affairs. (Photo by David Sheets)

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Journalists from Baltics to visit St. Louis, discuss Ferguson

Map of the Baltic States (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)What do 12 journalists from the Baltic States and the Society of Professional Journalists have in common?

Ferguson.

The journalists — four each from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — will visit with members of the St. Louis Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, to discuss press freedom and the risks of practicing the craft of journalism amid the political and social unrest generated by recent events in Ferguson, Mo.

At home, the journalists endure a different stress: Their nations face a threat of invasion from neighboring Russia.

All 12 are guests of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The World Affairs Council is coordinating their trip to St. Louis and will host the visit with SPJ in the council’s offices in the Old Post Office building downtown. The visiting journalists are:

Estonia

  • Juri Nikolajev, editor, Narva Radio, Estonian Public Broadcasting
  • Jelena Solomina, news editor and TV news anchor, Pervyi Baltiiskii Kanal
  • Julia Tisler, news editor, Delfi
  • Roman Vikulov, reporter and columnist, Viru Prospekt

Latvia

  • Konstantins Gaivoronskis, editor, Vesti Segonja
  • Aleksejs Gusevs, reporter, Latvian Radio 4
  • Andrejs Hramcovs, reporter, TV5, TV3 and TV6
  • Jana Rubincika, correspondent, Latvian Television

Lithuania

  • Paulius Gritenas, reporter, World News, Lrytas
  • Oleg Jerofejev, editor-in-chief, Delfi
  • Vykintas Pugaciauskas, senior international news editor, Lithuanian Radio and Television
  • Agne Skamarakaite, moderator and host, Lithuanian Radio and Television

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania lie along Russia’s western border and are known collectively as the Baltic States. Each is considered at risk of being invaded since Russia adopted a nationalist policy to exert authority over ethnic Russians in other countries.

Since March, Russia has twice invaded neighboring Ukraine, where an estimated 6 million ethnic Russians live, and attempted to annex a portion of Ukraine known as Crimea. Earlier this month, an official with the Russian Foreign Ministry said his nation has a right to take the same approach with the Baltics, home to about 1.3 million Russians.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania obtained sovereignty from the Russian Empire after World War I and declared themselves independent nations in 1918. They were absorbed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and remained until regaining independence in 1991.

This year, SPJ has also met with journalists from Iraq and Syria through other IVLP meetings coordinated through the World Affairs Council.

 

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Webster SPJ grad wins Chronicle prize

Dan Bauman image

Daniel Bauman (Photo by Daniel Bauman)

A former SPJ student member at Webster University in St. Louis and recent Webster graduate has won a $3,000 reporting prize for his work as an intern.

Daniel Bauman received the 2014 David W. Miller Award for Young Journalists given by The Chronicle of Higher Education while working there as a finance and policy intern this summer. The award was based on three articles he wrote for the Chronicle — one on colleges and universities receiving surplus military equipment from the Department of Defense, one on the growth in philanthropic gifts by foreign donors to U.S. higher education institutions, and one on the marketing practices of student loan debt-relief companies.

The award goes to one Chronicle intern each year. In addition to Bauman’s reporting, his eagerness to tackle complex stories, his ability to find and disseminate public records, and his multimedia skills were mentioned as key personal and professional qualities by the awards committee, the Chronicle said.

Bauman graduated with degrees in journalism and economics from Webster this spring. He currently works as a fellow at the Medill Justice Project, where he is working on a project related to shaken-baby syndrome. He told the Chronicle that he hopes to find a job as a data journalist after his fellowship ends in December.

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St. Louis chapter appoints new officers

New officers have been appointed to lead the St. Louis Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for 2014-2015.

David SheetsDavid Sheets, former Region 7 director and former chapter president, returns to the chapter presidency for a second term. Sheets is a freelance content manager and a New York Times correspondent based in St. Louis. He is a board member of the Gateway Media Literacy Partners and the St. Louis Media History Foundation. Before starting freelance work, Sheets was a writer and editor for 15 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

 

Tammy MerrettOutgoing president Tammy Merrett remains on the board as chapter treasurer. Merrett is a mass communications instructor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and serves as program director of The Alestle, the twice-weekly student newspaper serving the university. Merrett was chapter president for two years, starting in 2012.

 

 

Carlos RestrepoCarlos Restrepo becomes the new chapter secretary and public relations director. Restrepo is a communications specialist for Room at the Inn and La Posada Providencia homeless shelters, two nonprofit organizations sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence. Before that, Restrepo was a reporter for the Marshall Democrat-News and wrote for Patch.com. He was the first president of the SPJ student chapter at Webster University.

 

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