In 2015, over the course of my senior year at the University of Oregon, I traveled to Cuba and Latvia alongside fellow student journalists and professors. Working with the UNESCO Crossings Institute, I produced several podcasts relating to those travels. In Cuba, we told stories of artists and dancers adjusting to the (then) recent announcement by President Obama that relations between the two countries would normalize. In Latvia, we attended World Press Freedom Day and discussed conflict-sensitive reporting and much more with renowned journalists from around the world. Below is a sampling of the work I did in those two countries.
Reuben Unrau and Casey Minter speak with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir in Riga, Latvia during World Press Freedom Day events. Mir is an intrepid journalist who believes in the power and the right of free speech. This belief has awarded him a life of bullets and bombs, yet his conviction is strong.
He speaks on the situation in Pakistan, his familial connection to writing and truth-telling, and the chilling effect that a growing form of censorship – killing journalists – is having on the region and the world.
Just days before four University of Oregon students fly out of Eugene, OR to Riga, Latvia for World Press Freedom Day, Andris Razāns, the Latvian ambassador to the United States visited Portland, OR to deliver an address at Portland State University. Crossings Reporters Emerson Malone and Casey Minter attended the ambassador’s address and spoke with him afterwards about the similarities between Portland and Latvia, Willamette Valley’s wine, Latvian breweries, and how the country is handling Russian propaganda.
On March 11, 2014, Galina Timchenko was the editor in chief of Russia’s most popular news website – Lenta.ru. The next day, she was jobless. According to a statement issued by 73 of the 81 journalists who worked at Lenta, Timchenko had been sacked so the Kremlin could install a more… malleable editor.
A year later, Timchenko and a cohort of ex-Lenta journalists set up shop in Riga, Latvia and started the Meduza Project. Now, they report their motherland’s news from across the border, less threatened by harassment, censorship and danger. We spoke with Timchenko and Ivan Kolpakov during World Press Freedom Day events in Riga.
Alberto Rivero grew up poor in the countryside of Cuba, and throughout his varied life became an interpreter/translator for a myriad of Cuba’s most well-known people. Here he talks about the philosophy behind translating language, his experiences covering Cuba’s controversies and more.