According to Cristi Hegranes, founder of the Global Press Institute (GPI), three interrelated issues plague international journalism today: quality, diversity, and cost. A flawed model that sends foreign correspondents to report on countries that they know little about drives the quality problem. Most correspondents don’t speak local languages, have little familiarity with the local culture, and lack access to real people and sources. The result is often reporting through a lens of bias and stereotype. Most newspapers have closed their foreign desks, and the few that remain are expensive and limited in their capacity to write about anything other than international crises. Her premise is simple, and flips today’s model on its head: Train those within countries who have access to the stories to be professional quality journalists and build pipeline that features their across the globe; and do so at a fraction of the current cost.
At the core of the Global Press Institute is a rigorous training program that equips women with the tools and support network to produce high-quality and objective news pieces suitable for the most discerning news platforms. Women who complete the training are then given jobs and pursue a range of stories, many of which shed light on important social and political issues, and most which feature overlooked issues, angles, or perspectives. As Cristi says, when you change the storyteller, you re changing the stories too. Today, GPI operates news desks in 25 countries and employs close to 150 women around the world. GPI stories are accessible to over five million people monthly.