I am happy to announce my recent election to the Board of Directors of the Foreign Press Association ("FPA")! I also will be serving as Treasurer for FPA - a role I formerly played at the Queens Legal Services Corporation for a few years, and also for the New York State Bar Association's Corporate Counsel Section (before I eventually served as Chairman for 2016).
Founded in 1918, the Foreign Press Association (“FPA-USA”), is the pre-eminent non-governmental organization representing international journalists in the United States. With members from most regions around the world, the Foreign Press Association offers orientation and networking opportunities; news-making and educational events that bring members together with political, business, and other leaders; and a range of valuable member benefits and services. The Foreign Press Association of the United States partners with corporations, non-profits, national as well as international media organizations, and communications companies on events that meet the needs of its members.
In the modern era of instant gratification and news from major print papers and video networks, as well as a never ending multitude of independent gonzo journalists with an Internet account from all around the world, it might be hard to imagine the need or reason for any organization of foreign journalists. However, there was a time, when few foreign correspondents regularly reported in the Americas, and also when quite frankly, they were not very welcome here by domestic papers, leaders or readers.
From our best records, it may be the first official foreign correspondent in the United States was Mr. William Howard Russell, who had checked in to the Willard Hotel, Washington D.C., to cover the tiny American spat known here as the Civil War. Fresh from the Crimean War, Mr. Russel traveled to American battlefields by rented horse or Union troop train, and irregularly filed his stories - by steamboat - back to Britain. Yes, you read that correctly. Until the trans-Atlantic cables were laid (arguably 1866 - the first one laid prior to the Civil War failed shortly after its operation), steamboat (and clipper ships I guess) were the only practical ways of transmitting news across the Pond.
However, it wasn't really until World War I, when President Wilson gathered together foreign correspondents to brief them on American war contributions to Europe, that foreign reporters really began gathering and reporting in the United States. The journalists themselves grouped together in mid-November 1917, and for better contact with the Federal Government formed an organization provisionally called The Association of Foreign Press Correspondents in the United States. When the Great War (to end all wars) ended, so nearly did the FPA, but it after some debate it trundled on, and 100 years later it still going.
The FPA also operates the FPS Scholarship Fund, an affiliate arm, that over the past 24 years - thanks to the generosity of supporting companies - has awarded eighty-eight scholarships to foreign graduate journalists committed to pursuing their master’s level studies in the United States. By providing scholarships to these international graduate journalists, the Foundation positions education as the cornerstone of professional journalism.
I am looking forward to celebrating the 100th anniversary of this worthy organization, and proud to be part of its continuing mission.
For more information, feel free to visit the website: