Women trained to report on the world

The Global Press Institute (GPI) is giving women in developing countries the chance to become reporters and bring important news stories to their communities.

GPI was founded in 2006 by executive director Cristi Hegranes. Since its creation, GPI has trained more than 100 women, representing 23 countries, to be reporters.

“The stories these women are writing are challenging gender barriers but also creating substantial social impact on a global level,” Hegranes said.

Hegranes said that, first and foremost, GPI seeks to “empower women internationally.” Some of the qualities GPI looks for in potential reporters are the ability to articulate the need for journalism, an understanding that “increasing access to information can be a tool to live freer lives,” a desire to create and change, and women who are brave and courageous. Hegranes also said they look for women of various backgrounds.

GPI has a 91 percent retention rate. During a recent recruitment to fill five openings, about 300 women applied.

David Drimer, director of content syndication at GPI and a resident of Hollis Hills, explained that the organization provides ongoing training from basic to advanced journalism, including ethics. Photography classes are also available, and GPI is now creating additional training programs.

“It’s transformational in their lives,” Drimer said of what GPI means to the women it works with. “It’s important for the communities and it’s important for these women.”

Drimer, the owner of Matted LIC Gallery and Frame Art, described the work the women are doing as “important stories that go unreported.” According to Hegranes, the organization also seeks to provide “content-rich journalism.”

Hegranes explained that one of the goals of GPI is to now syndicate its content and get “more eyeballs on our stories.” So far, she said GPI has already gotten an “incredible response from organizations around the world wanting our news coverage.”

In addition to working to improve their content and continually raising the bar, Hegranes also said that GPI wants to expand to other countries.

“We hope to be in as many as 50 countries in the next five years,” she said.

On Thursday, May 5, Matted LIC Gallery, located at 46-36 Vernon Boulevard, will hold a fundraiser and silent auction from 6 to 9 p.m. to benefit GPI’s Mexican bureau. Funds will be used to modernize and expand it.

For more information about the Global Press Institute, including ways to get involved, visit www.globalpressinstitute.org.

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