VIENNA, January 25, 2013 – The North American Committee of the International Press Institute announces the appointment of veteran journalist John Yearwood as its new chairman.
Yearwood replaces Ryan Blethen, director of new product strategies at The Seattle Times. Yearwood also immediately replaces Blethen on the IPI executive board of directors. He is expected to receive full confirmation for a three-year term at the IPI annual World Congress and 62nd General Assembly in Amman, Jordan from May 19-21.
“It is with great pleasure that I pass the torch on to John Yearwood, world editor of The Miami Herald,” said Blethen in a letter to IPI Chairperson Galina Sidorova, chairperson of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Foundation 19/29, Russia. “John is smart, dedicated and enthusiastic about IPI and press freedom. I believe it will also be good for the North American Committee to have as its chair the foreign editor from one of the country’s leading newspapers. I will continue to serve on the board of the North American Committee as an active member.”
The Vienna-based International Press Institute is the world’s oldest global press freedom group. It comprises a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of press freedom, the strengthening of cooperation within the media, the promotion of the free flow of news and information and the improvement of the practices of journalism.
IPI was formed in October 1950 by 34 leading editors from 15 countries – brought together by Lester Merkel of The New York Timesand Le Monde founder Hubert Beuve-Mery – at Columbia University in New York, in the aftermath of the Second World War, on the belief that a free press would contribute to the creation of a better world.
Today, IPI has grown into a global organization with members in more than 120 countries drawn from prestigious media organizations such as CNN, the BBC, Global Post, ITV News, the Oklahoman, the Associated Press, Deutsche Welle, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, Neue Zuercher Zeitung, Nation Media Group (Kenya), The Post (Zambia), and The Hindu, to name but a few.
Said Yearwood about his new position, “I’m humbled and honored to have been asked to build on the great work that Ryan and others have started. The North American Committee has tremendous potential. It also has the biggest microphone within IPI. I intend to turn up the volume in the months ahead. I believe strongly that NAC must engage fully in the fight to preserve press freedoms here at home, expand it in totalitarian regimes abroad and nurture the next generation of press freedom fighters.”
Yearwood will act as a host of the first annual Foreign Editors Circle Conference and Luncheon in New York City on Feb. 5. The IPI North American Committee and Associated Press-hosted event will bring together the most respected foreign editors from all over the United States to discuss issues such as how to ensure global news coverage in light of the media’s ongoing financial crisis, how to work with correspondents on the ground, journalists’ safety, and other pertinent topics. The luncheon speaker for the invitation-only event will be U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
An award-winning multi-media journalist, under Yearwood’s leadership at The Miami Herald, his department has won numerous awards. Yearwood’s coordination of The Herald’s Haiti earthquake coverage contributed to the newspaper being named a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News.
Before joining the paper, Yearwood was National/International Editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas. Before the Star-Telegram, he spent two years in the Caribbean as founding publisher/editor of Ibis, a general lifestyle magazine. While publisher of Ibis, he was elected president of the San Juan (Trinidad) Business Owners Association.
Prior to this, he spent 10 years at The Dallas Morning News, where he reported from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Yearwood also was a correspondent for the Associated Press in Connecticut and Oklahoma, a national correspondent for Focusmagazine and the News/Public Affairs Director for WHUS Radio in Connecticut.
Yearwood has served on the executive boards of Unity Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. He co-chaired NABJ’s World Affairs Task Force for four years, helping to send dozens of journalists on overseas assignments. He is a member of the Vienna-based International Press Institute’s Foreign Editors Circle.
Yearwood was named one of the 40 most influential African-Americans under 40 in South Florida and one of the 100 most successful Caribbean-Americans in South Florida. He is recipient of a Miami-Dade County Pillar Award and the Haitian Women of Miami Leadership Award.
For more information, contact Anthony Mills, IPI deputy director, at email@example.com
You can follow John Yearwood on Twitter @John_Yearwood or on his blog, Worlddispatch.wordpress.com. You can find out more about IPI at www.freemedia.at or follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/InternationalPressInstituteIPI or via Twitter@globalfreemedia.