"If only Pratima were trained in the principles and practices of ethical journalism, the news she could produce – if just given an opportunity – would change her life, her family and her community. Her stories could change the world."
– Cristi Hegranes, founder
As a young foreign correspondent in Nepal in 2004, Cristi Hegranes had an epiphany: She was the wrong person to be reporting the news. In many ways, Hegranes was an ideal foreign correspondent: She spoke Nepali and had an extensive network of local sources from years of work and travel in the region. But it occurred to her that no matter how familiar she was with Nepalese culture, she would always be an outsider, a foreigner facing an unbridgeable gap in the social, historical and political context of her reporting. It seemed obvious that the people most qualified to be reporting the news were the locals themselves.
Hegranes’ realization occurred in 2004 when she meet Pratima C., a woman living in a tiny, remote village in eastern Nepal. Although Pratima had dropped out of school after the fourth grade, she was literate and highly respected in her local village. She was the community matriarch and a mediator, with access to exceptional sources and fascinating stories about the region’s struggles with civil war, disease and crushing poverty. Hegranes realized that if savvy, inspired women, like Pratima, had the opportunity to be trained in the principles and practices of ethical journalism, the produced news would not only change their and their families’ lives, but it would also change the world.
Hegranes began brainstorming a journalism that empowered women and communities, that drove community development and that encouraged human connection. Hegranes saw journalism as a development tool, capable of elevating a global awareness of the human condition, increasing tolerance and promoting justice. From this vision, Global Press Institute was born.
Since 2006, GPI has trained and employed more than 130 women from underprivileged, underrepresented communities in 26 countries around the world to become powerful, conscientious journalists. They report on social, economic, political and environmental issues that directly affect their people. GPI stories publish daily on the GPI Newswire and dozens of other news outlets via content marketing, drawing more than 5 million readers each year.
Pratima C. died in 2005 from complications of uterine prolapse, a condition that might have been treatable if Pratima and her family could have afforded the procedure. GPI is dedicated to Pratima and every woman around the world whose potential has gone untapped.