About Us

History  |  Who we are  |  What we do  |  Partners  |  Mission & Principles 

 

WHAT WE DO

UPI Next is unequaled as a media development organization because it is affiliated with a global news agency and distribution channel, United Press International, founded in 1907.  We create a career path for journalists through skill-based mentoring that leads to publication on UPI.com, which averages 6 million site visitors per month. UPI Next's network has mentored hundreds of stories from journalists around the world to publication with UPI.com.

Mentoring

Our online platform is a one-stop destination with training tools and mentoring for students as well as professional journalists. Our mentors are experienced international journalists from all types of news medium, who draw on their expertise in topical reporting to offer practical advice.

Measuring

We rigorously evaluate and assess the content produced, based on well-researched and field-tested standards and measures, so reporters always know where they stand and where they are headed -- and so donors can easily track the impact of the projects they fund.

Connecting

We promote and boost distribution of good journalism.

For training organizations

Are you interested in measuring how much your workshop participants learn? Our assessment tool can provide data that will help you prove your training works. Moreover, once you’re finished with your workshop sessions, you will be able to use our innovative website, in collaboration with our team of mentors, to extend the learning process remotely.

For universities

We specialize in practical skills and we can tailor our sessions to fit your needs. Participants get feedback from our mentors, who have worked at some of the world’s top news outlets. With our innovative assessment tool you can compare your students’ work with that produced by students in other journalism schools and measure how much your students have improved.

For news organizations

Do you want your content to be part of an international news agency? Organizations that partner with us see their stories on UPI.com. We can also evaluate your content to determine quality, reach and impact with our tailored assessment tools and audience analytics.

UPI Next BY THE NUMBERS

  • Average size of UPI.com audience: 6 million per month
  • Number of countries from which stories were submitted to UPI mentors in 2011: 30
  • Number of stories by students and new journalists that were mentored to publication on UPI.com publication: 200+
  • Number of stories mentored on UPI’s dedicated platform in four years: 4,200
  • Number of years of business experience UPI brings to its media development division: 180

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HISTORY 

United Press International has provided essential news and information to media outlets, governments and researchers worldwide since 1907. In 2008, UPI launched its global training division (then named UPIU) as a mentoring and publication platform for journalists in the United States and around the world. The division initially worked with university journalism students and expanded to mentor freelancers with the goals of building skills, incorporating new voices in its reporting and raising professional standards worldwide. The revamped division, UPI Next, is now using sophisticated content analysis, program assessment and audience metrics to solidly measure its program’s impact.

In UPIU’s four years of journalism training work, about 5,800 students and new journalists registered on the dedicated UPIU website. More than 4,200 of their stories were published on UPIU, and all the journalists who wrote these stories were mentored. Almost 200 of those stories were published on UPI.com, reaching an audience of millions.

UPI has worked closely with 42 universities around the world, including Peshawar University in Pakistan, Peking University, and universities in the United States such as Ohio University, the University of Tampa and Michigan State University. Projects ranged from mentoring a 225-student Journalism 101 class at Rhodes University in South Africa to an advanced conflict reporting fellowship with students from five countries across Asia. In mentoring sessions carried out in the United States, UPI mentors have addressed ethics, multimedia, podcasting and data journalism. They have also held tutorials on basic reporting and writing skills for journalists in North America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

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WHO WE ARE

UPI Next’s team is composed of seasoned professionals in journalism, media development and business.

Bronwyn Curran is UPI Next's senior mentor. She has reported from Afghanistan, Australia, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia and Pakistan in a career spanning more than two decades. She has been a news editor and correspondent for the Agence France-Presse, Australian Broadcasting Corp., Voice of America and The National newspaper. She was based in Pakistan and Indonesia for 10 years, covering Indonesia’s transition to democracy in the first post-Suharto years, Timor-Leste’s violent passage to independence, and the early post-Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks era in Pakistan and Afghanistan, reporting on terrorism, democratization, sectarian conflict, South Asian tensions and nuclear proliferation.

As news editor with AFP, she led and mentored a team of 15 reporters and stringers in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has also worked as a spokeswoman and media relations expert for U.N. agencies and the Asian Development Bank in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Indonesia. She has been working as a mentor for UPI’s media development division for several years.

Follow her on Twitter @BronwynUPINext and find her on LinkedIn. Her email is: bcurran@upi.com.

Steve Hirsch is the senior editor for UPI Next. He has reported on a variety of topics, largely international and international business news, for newspapers, magazines and online news services. He is based in Washington but has also reported from Europe and various places in Asia, from Paris to Baku to the Myanmar-China border. He has covered subjects as diverse as CIA recruiting after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Myanmar political developments and U.S. trade policy. He is a former editor of U.N. Wire and former assistant foreign editor of The Washington Times, and has done freelance reporting for news organizations ranging from the International Herald Tribune to National Journal magazine to Radio Free Asia to the Phnom Penh Post.

Find him on LinkedIn. His email address is: shirsch@upi.com.

 

Evaluation Specialists

Harumi Gondo is UPI Next's media development and evaluation specialist. She received her master’s degree in religion from Harvard University and served as the 2005 Minority Scholar at Bergen Community College in New Jersey, where she taught courses in religion. After a brief stint in Tokyo’s corporate world, she joined UPI in 2008 and helped establish UPI’s journalism training division. She initiated partnerships with universities in Africa, the Asia Pacific region and the United States, and developed mentoring programs for journalism students to complement the theory and lectures offered in university classrooms. She developed and managed the use of a story evaluation tool with her team of mentors in the Asia Pacific region. She serves on the editorial advisory board of the Asia Pacific Media Educator journal and lives in Tokyo with her husband and two daughters.

Follow her on Twitter @hgondo and find her on LinkedIn. Her email is: hgondo@upi.com.

 

Our Mentors

UPI Next mentors have an average of 20 years of journalism experience and are among the most successful in their field. They are working journalists whose print, broadcast and online stories -- covering topics ranging from Pakistani elections to whaling festivals have appeared in outlets spanning the globe. Foreign correspondents and media development professionals, they have worked in countries ranging from Indonesia to Pakistan and South Sudan.

UPI Next mentors work individually with reporters of all skill levels to build concrete reporting skills. Our mentors are skilled educators who have a real impact on the quality of reporters' work in key areas, including accuracy, diversity of viewpoints and completeness of information -- and we have the numbers to prove it. Our mentors are based in different time zones, allowing them to mentor journalists around the world and around the clock.

 

Advisory Committee

Nicholas Chiaia, the president of United Press International, has worked in the video, photo and print news-gathering industry for the past 18 years. With him as UPI’s leader, the company is evolving in step with today’s hyper-dynamic news media environment, balancing revenue generation with the best journalism practices. He persists in meeting the ongoing financial challenges confronting news-gathering operations. He is passionate about the future of journalism and continually works to develop and implement financially sustainable journalism education strategies, especially in regions facing political and cultural obstacles. He spearheaded the creation and implementation of UPIU, which has become UPI Next. He also practices law.

His email is: njchiaia@upi.com

Wally Dean has worked with several thousand journalists at more than a hundred news organizations in the United States and abroad over the past decade on issues involving the gathering and presentation of news and information. He has been a journalist for more than 40 years during which he anchored one of the country’s highest rated local TV newscasts, was assignment manager of the CBS News Washington Bureau and led the Project for Excellence in Journalism team that produced the definitive analysis of local television news content in the United States. 

As training director for the Committee of Concerned Journalists, he has been the primary facilitator of a training curriculum based on “The Elements of Journalism” (by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel) that examines the purpose, principles and techniques for producing accurate and useful information for citizens.

He is co-author of “We Interrupt this Newscast” (2007, Cambridge University Press), which examined 34,000 stories on 2,400 newscasts in 50 markets over five years and is the most extensive analysis of local TV news ever. He was a senior associate at PEJ and shared the 2004 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism Research and the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism for the first of PEJ’s annual State of the Media reports.

His email is: wdean@concernedjournalists.org.

Dr. Eric Loo, Ph.D., has worked as a financial journalist, features editor, production editor and media educator in Malaysia, Australia and a short stint in the United States. He currently writes a column for the Malaysian political news website Malaysiakini. He has conducted journalism training in Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, and Laos. Eric is founding editor of the refereed journal Asia Pacific Media Educator. He has written and co-edited books in international journalism and cross-cultural communication. He currently lectures at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, and conducts research on best practices of journalism in Asia.

His email is: eloo@uow.edu.au.

Doug Mitchell is a nationally recognized media trainer, project strategist and career coach. He is a former Knight International Press Fellow and William S. Fulbright Scholar to Chile and spent more than 21 years as a producer and director at NPR, where he still consults on diversity-related projects. While at NPR, he created and managed a professional development program called “next generation radio” and built NPR’s “Intern Edition.” Currently, he is co-director of a start-up camp funded by The Ford Foundation to develop journalists of color as tomorrow’s media chief executive officers. He likes to create substantive, progressive media projects from scratch.

His email is: doug.mitchell@fulbrightmail.org

Phylissa Mitchell has had extensive experience in most facets of television news production as a line, segment and field producer; show producer; and writer/editor. She’s worked in tiny television markets, regional non-profit organizations and network newsrooms. She’s also written for small community weekly and daily newspapers. For the past decade, she’s taught media law, international press law, the press and politics, race and religion in media, and an array of journalism skills courses. She’s served on the faculties of Washington and Lee University in Virginia, the University of Richmond in Virginia and West Virginia University. In 2008, she was awarded a Fulbright grant (law) in Ukraine, and assigned to the Institute of Journalism of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, where she taught journalism skills (radio news production) and press law. Her grant was renewed for an additional nine months in 2009. Though based at the Institute, Mitchell traveled extensively, lecturing on American First Amendment law, international press law (comparative libel and privacy analyses) and journalism skills.

Her email is: phylissa.mitchell@fulbrightmail.org.

Diane Nottle, a member of the UPI Next mentoring team, is an independent writer, editor and educator based in Manhattan. Her 35-year newspaper career included 20 years as an editor at The New York Times, specializing in the arts. Before joining the Times in 1988, she was an editor at The Boston Globe, The Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., and The Roanoke Times in Virginia. She has written hundreds of articles published in the Times, the Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and many other newspapers nationwide, as well as The Sondheim Review, Dance Magazine, China Daily USA and The National, Abu Dhabi’s English-language newspaper. She is working on two travel memoirs and has taught journalism at the University of British Columbia, Colorado State University and Emerson College in Boston, and English as a second language at universities in New York, Poland and China. She currently coaches international students at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she founded the English for Journalists blog, and is developing a course in “English for the Media.”

Her email is: dnottle@gmail.com. 

Peyman Pejman is an award-winning journalist with about 30 years of overall communication and public information experience in more than two dozen countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Now a communications and public information officer with the United Nations, he has served as chief of public affairs for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague, Netherlands, and head of outreach units of the public information section for U.N. peacekeeping operations in Liberia and South Sudan. He also has been a media and strategic communication consultant, lecturer, and associate professor of journalism and communication. Among others, he has worked with The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, The Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Voice of America radio and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

His email is: peymanpejman1@gmail.com.

Dan Reimold, Ph.D., is a college journalism scholar who has written and presented on the student press throughout the United States, Southeast Asia and in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. As the Student Press Law Center Report notes, “Reimold’s work allows him to track the pulse of America’s college papers and identify student press trends.” He is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Tampa, where he also advises The Minaret student newspaper. He maintains College Media Matters, a leading student journalism industry blog affiliated with the Associated Collegiate Press, the country’s largest and oldest student press organization. He is also the “Campus Beat” columnist for USA Today College. His first book on college media, “Sex and the University: Celebrity, Controversy, and a Student Journalism Revolution,” was published in fall 2010 by Rutgers University Press. He is the author of the textbook, “Journalism of Ideas: Brainstorming, Developing, and Selling Stories in the Digital Age,” published in 2013 by Routledge.

His email is: dreimold@gmail.com 

Maureen Taylor, Ph.D., is the Gaylord Chair of Strategic Communication in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma. She is a media monitoring and evaluation specialist who has worked on traditional and new media projects in places around the world, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Bosnia, Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Liberia, Libya, Serbia and West Bank Gaza. She has experience training non-governmental organizations, media, judiciary, small and medium-sized enterprises, and government organizations. As a researcher, she integrates the traditional methods of social science, including survey research, randomized design, network analysis, content analysis, focus groups, interviews and participatory methods, into her consulting projects.

Her email is: mtaylor@ou.edu.

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CURRENT PARTNERS

National Taiwan University
Peking University
Quaid-i-Azam University

PAST MENTORING LOCATIONS

Australia:
University of Technology Sydney
University of Wollongong

Canada:
Queens University

China:
Beijing Foreign Studies University
Chinese University of Hong Kong 

Denmark:
Danish School of Media and Journalism

India:
Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media
Jamia Millia Islamia
Panjab University

Indonesia:
University of Indonesia

Iraq:
American University in Iraq – Suleimani 

Kenya:
United States International University
Daystar University 

Kyrgyzstan:
American University of Central Asia

Lebanon:

Lebanese American University

Malaysia:
Tunku Abdul Rahman University
Monash University

Namibia:
Namibia Polytechnic
University of Namibia 

Pakistan:
Peshawar University
Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies

Philippines:
University of Philippines 

Singapore:
Nanyang Technological University

South Africa:
Rhodes University
Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Taiwan:
National Taiwan University

United States:
Arizona State University
Columbia College Chicago
Grand Valley State University
Indiana University
Kansas State University
Michigan State University
Rutgers University
San Diego State University
Santa Clara University
St. Thomas University (Florida)
Southeastern Louisiana University
University of Memphis
University of Mississippi
University of Tampa
University of West Virginia
Ohio University

Zambia:
ZamCom

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