2009 Was a Strong Year for the OPC

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Saul Schwarz won The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award for his work in Kenya.

The Overseas Press Club approaches 2010 with strength and optimism. We have had a terrific year in spite of the economy with strong programs throughout the season, a highly successful fund-drive and equally spectacular 70th Anniversary Awards Dinner featuring Jim Lehrer, Christiane Amanpour and Ruth Gruber.

Now, as the economy continues to falter, the OPC Board of Governors and I remain resolute in our efforts to keep the club moving forward.

Please mark your calendars for April 22 for the annual awards dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This one, with Andy Rooney of CBS accepting the President’s Award, could be the most fun ever. To make the cocktail reception more enjoyable, the hotel this year is giving us the additional floor housing their cocktail lounge with its floor-to-ceiling windows as well as the upstairs entrance to the ballroom. We also anticipate having our first awards after-party, called: “Meet the Winners.”

Our programs in 2009 were sensational, some of which included Christopher Dickey’s book "Securing the City" and talk with New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on February 2. We held a panel discussion on March 30 to discuss new ventures in international news with Marc Rosenwasser of “World Focus,” Charlie Sennott from www.globalpost.com and Washington Post New York Bureau chief and veteran foreign correspondent Keith Richburg.

On June 30, we held Roxana Saberi’s first U.S. news conference after her release. We held a delicious vodka sampling accompanying our book night with Linda Himelstein, author of: "King of Vodka" on September 14. OPC Secretary Jane Ciabattari and OPC Board Member Klara Glowczewska brought us a co-sponsored event with the Polish Cultural Institute: a two day extravaganza celebrating Ryszard Kapuściński and the Art of Reportage on October 6 and 7. And on November 9, we brought together a world-class panel of journalists that included Roger Cohen, Tim Aeppel, David Burnett, Michael Meyer and Elizabeth Pond to discuss the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

In August, we welcomed new board members to serve on your Board of Governors: Diane Brady, Adam B. Ellick, Rana Foroohar, Travis Fox and Toni Reinhold; and also welcomed back George de Lama, Dorinda Elliott, Calvin Sims and Minky Worden.

While we do not plan to have another fund-raising drive in 2010, our consultant Jeanne Sigler has prepared our report to the foundations that gave us a matching grant and will soon be giving board members a lesson in fund-raising. On August 6, we surpassed our fund-raising goal of $25,000, 90 minutes before our deadline, which was a victory and a marvelous vote of confidence in the OPC.

Your OPC directors have been busy this year with the Freedom of the Press Committee with “Boots” Duque firing off missives to various would-be deterrents and miscreanants who want to strangle the free flow of information by impeding and imprisoning journalists. Our most recent letters went to Morocco, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia.

The website committee and a new documentary committee trying to create a fervor for video-based international journalism also have been cranking up. Please check out www.opcofamerica.org and you will see it already is far more robust than ever. And even though we have experienced several hacker attacks, our webmistress and Bulletin Editor, Aimee Rinehart, has security consultants beavering away to rebuild and protect www.opcofamerica.org.

Finally, our sympathy and love goes to longtime OPC friend, James Fry, who died October 19. Jim was the beloved husband of our Executive Director, Sonya, and devoted father to their children, Rebecca and Jamie.

Allan Dodds Frank is the President of the Overseas Press Club of America.

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Aimee Rinehart's picture
Aimee Rinehart (not verified) on 7 December 2009 - 4:40pm
Start a discussion in the forums on the most memorable OPC event from 2009. Check out the forum OPC Events From 2009 and create your own category.