2010: Letter From the President

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Allan Dodds Frank

Allan Dodds Frank

At the Overseas Press Club of America, we are marching through our 71st year insisting that fact-based, hard-news reporting from abroad is more important than ever. As we salute the winners of our 20 awards, I am proud to say their work is a tribute to the public’s right to know.

As new forms of communication erupt, the incessant drumbeat of the 24-hour news cycle threatens to overwhelm the public desire for information by swamping readers and viewers with instant mediocrity. Our brave winners – and the news organizations that support them – reject the temptation to oversimplify, trivialize and then abandon important events as old news. For them, and for the OPC, the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the shifting fronts in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, the drug wars of Mexico and genocides and commodity grabs in Africa need to be covered thoroughly and with integrity.

The OPC believes quality journalism will create its own market. In spite of the decimation of the traditional news business, worthwhile journalism can and will survive. Creators of real news will get paid a living wage and the young who desire to quest for the truth will still find journalism viable as a proud profession and a civic good.

We back that belief with our OPC Foundation, which awards 12 scholarships a year to deserving students who express their desire to become foreign correspondents while submitting essays on international subjects.

Throughout the year, the OPC has highlighted superb foreign correspondence. Kati Marton enlightened us about the Russian repression of Hungary; Seymour Topping treated us to his insights on China as Mao emerged and the U.S. Cold War with the Soviets. John Maxwell Hamilton taught us the history of foreign correspondents. We had great times at our holiday party, a vodka book night and “Tchotchke Night,” when we were entertained by tales of exotic souvenirs lugged back from the far corners of the earth. We also hosted Roxana Saberi’s first press conference after she was freed by Iran.

Finally, our Freedom of the Press Committee has been more active than ever. Please take a moment to check it out on our revitalized website: www.opcofamerica.org. Go ahead and post a blog.

Allan Dodds Frank
President, Overseas Press Club

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