MIAMI – A seasoned local journalist is settling in as head of the North American arm of a press freedom group and has been making appointments to the board.
John Yearwood, World editor at The Miami Herald, was named chairman of the North American Committee of the International Press Institute (IPI) in January.
Yearwood replaces Ryan Blethen, director of new product strategies at The Seattle Times, as chairman and also on IPI’s executive board. He is expected to be confirmed on the board for a three-year term during the annual IPI World Congress and 62nd General Assembly slated for May 19-21 in Amman, Jordan.
The Vienna-based IPI is the world’s oldest global press freedom group. It comprises a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists dedicated to furthering and safeguarding press freedom, strengthening cooperation within the media, promoting the free flow of news and information and improving the practices of journalism.
The Institute was formed in October 1950 by 34 editors from 15 countries, brought together by Lester Merkel of The New York Times and Hubert Beuve-Mery, founder of the French publication Le Monde at Columbia University in New York. In the aftermath of the Second World War IPI was founded on the belief that a free press would contribute to a better world.
IPI has since grown into a global organization with members in more than 120 countries drawn from
several prestigious media organizations.
The North American Committee is one of several committees and covers the United States and Canada.
The committee has announced the names of four new board members. They are Robert Beatty, publisher, South Florida Times; Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief, The Los Angeles Times; John Daniszewski, vice president and senior managing editor for international news, the
Associated Press (AP); and Rochelle Riley, columnist, Detroit Free Press.
Yearwood described the committee as having “tremendous potential” and also “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 said.