October 17, 2018

Event Coverage Highlight

OPC Elects Pancho Bernasconi as President as Well as Officers and Governors

Left to right: Newly elected OPC President Pancho Bernasconi, Executive Director Patricia Kranz and outgoing President Deidre Depke. Photo: Chad Bouchard

During the OPC’s Annual Meeting on Sept. 4, members elected Pancho Bernasconi, vice president of Global News at Getty Images, as the club’s next president.

As a career photo editor, Bernasconi takes the helm as the club’s first visual journalist to be elected president, and is also the first foreign-born OPC president. Bernasconi was born in Chile, and his father was a working print and radio journalist in Chile, as well as a professor of journalism. His family moved to Washington, DC when he was seven years old, because “being a journalist in the early days of the Pinochet regime was not an easy task,” he said. In Washington, his father worked in the press office of the Organization of American States. Bernasconi said he looks forward to supporting the club’s mission to protect press freedom.

“What we are in the middle of today, both in this country and everywhere else, is something that demands all of our attention and effort, and demands that we make space to help.”

Bernasconi started his journalism career as a photo editor at the Washington DC bureau of Agence France-Presse. Before joining Getty Images in 2004, he was a photo editor at The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

Earlier in the meeting, outgoing OPC president Deidre Depke announced the re-formation of the OPC’s Press Freedom Committee, and called for volunteers to serve on a group that will monitor press freedom news, pressure world leaders to improve protection for journalists and call out those who attack the press.

“The White House is doing its best to undermine the work that we do every day, and other governments are finding shelter in this president’s remarks and his example,” she said.

The OPC also elected officers, nine newly elected or reelected Active board members and three Associate board members. Deborah Amos of NPR was elected First vice President. After a run-off vote to break a tie during the meeting, Christopher Dickey of The Daily Beast was elected Second Vice President, and Scott Kraft of the Los Angeles Times was elected Third Vice President. Liam Stack of The New York Times is Treasurer, and Paula Dwyer of Bloomberg News is Secretary.

Active members elected or reelected to the board are: John Avlon of CNN, Miriam Elder of Buzzfeed, Alix Freedman and Michael Williams of Reuters, Douglas Jehl of The Washington Post, Jim Laurie of Focus Asia Productions, Adriane Quinlan of HBO’s Vice News Tonight and Gary Silverman of the Financial Times.

Associate board members elected or reelected are Pete Engardio of Boston Consulting Group, Sarah Lubman of Brunswick Group and Kem Knapp Sawyer of The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

Board members still serving out their terms are listed in the masthead on the back page of the Bulletin.

Depke thanked governors who are leaving the board due to term limits: Rukmini Callimachi, Bill Collins, Emma Daly, Charles Graeber, Anjali Kamat, Rachael Morehouse, Abigail Pesta, Roxana Saberi, Lara Setrakian, and Calvin Sims.

The OPC Foundation’s executive director, Jane Reilly, announced that Stephen Adler, the editor-in-chief of Reuters, will be next year’s keynote speaker at the foundation’s luncheon, and that the organization will offer a new award in the name of legendary AP reporter Richard Pyle, who died last September. William Holstein spoke about progress in the A Culture of Safety (ACOS) alliance, a coalition of groups working to improve safety for freelance journalists in the field. The OPC Foundation administers the finances of ACOS. The group is hammering out the details of a possible insurance scheme for freelance journalists.

Executive Director Patricia Kranz announced several programs coming up this fall, including a play and panel on Sept. 20 about reporting in Russia, with a performance of Intractable Woman, A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya. Tickets for that event are sold out. On Oct. 18, there will be a panel on video journalism with Priscila Neri of Witness and Erica Anderson of News Lab at Google, among other speakers. On Oct. 30, the OPC William Holstein will moderate a panel on the future of Taiwan with several China and Asia policy experts.