UPI's Media Development Division Hires New Director

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Former broadcaster and marketing expert to lead United Press International's media development division.

UPI Next has chosen Luisa Piette as its new director, a move that will continue to bolster the division's rapid growth and presence in media development efforts in developing nations and emerging democracies. Piette replaces Michelle Betz, who is relocating overseas. 

She brings more than two decades’ experience to her new role. A seasoned journalist, international media coach and marketing communications leader with expertise in corporate management and human rights, she recently worked in Africa as a media development officer for UNESCO.

"We welcome Luisa onboard and thank Michelle for her contribution. We are excited about Luisa’s private sector background, her knowledge of the UN system and the African continent, which will add to our recent successes in central Asia”, said Nicholas Chiaia, UPI's President. “UPI Next has made tremendous strides since it was launched last year, having made critical advancement of its highly effective media development approach with its evaluation tool and particularly its program in Pakistan. Luisa will further strengthen our role in developing and supporting the best journalistic practices, consolidating our positive role in mentoring journalists around the world."

Chiaia launched UPIU, UPI’s first media development division, in 2008. UPIU worked with students in 32 countries before its re-launch as UPI Next in 2012 to include a new emphasis on evaluation and technology. Chiaia praised outgoing director Michelle Betz. "At UPI Next and throughout her career, Michelle has played a leading role in this important field,” he said. “We will continue to collaborate with her."

Media development is increasingly recognized as a key step in building stronger media and democracy. UPI Next fosters international journalism standards in areas such as accuracy, attribution and completeness, factors that can help to increase accountability, improve governance and assist with development decisions, including efforts to eradicate poverty.

"UPI Next’s groundbreaking approach demands a committed team and a dynamic leader,” said Lisa Schnellinger, the strategist behind UPI Next and Pakistan program manager. “We are the only media development organization that creates a career path to get journalists anywhere in the world published by an international news agency. Luisa understands UPI Next’s value and she has the business-minded experience from both the entrepreneurial and non-profit world that will take UPI Next forward. She also has the integrity and stamina to lead the team as we work in complex and sometimes hostile environments around the world."

“I am thrilled to be joining UPI Next,” Piette commented “It is a strong and focused organization set to make a difference around the world, beginning with our programs in Asia and Africa. Using measuring tools, strategic partnerships and keen intelligence, our online platforms and mentors provide universally recognized standards of journalism, and this takes media development to a whole new level.”

Luisa started her journalism career in the early 1980s with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service, in London. She later joined Radio France International in Paris and, in the early to mid-90s, she worked as an international radio broadcaster for the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She is the founder of the Rural Mobile and Broadband Alliance (RuMBA) USA, and the founding Global PR Director for the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum. She holds a Master’s degree in International Human Rights Law and a BA in French and Government from Essex University, U.K.

About UPI Next
UPI Next is the media development division of United Press International. UPI Next is dedicated to helping student and professional journalists produce quality stories and gain the skills they need as professionals. Our work builds on the values we share as journalists. Our platform provides one-on-one mentoring which has benefited hundreds of users submitting stories from 30 countries. Our unique position as a division of an international wire news service with an estimated 7.5 million visitors and 19 million page views per month offers student and professional journalists participating in our programs unprecedented access to an existing distribution channel.

About UPI
United Press International (UPI) is a leading and trusted source for news, analysis and insight for readers around the world. Our digital focus, through UPI.com, allows us to reach a fast growing online audience. UPI's distribution partners provide our content to thousands of businesses, policy groups and academic institutions worldwide. Our audience consists of millions of decision-makers who depend on UPI's insightful and analytical stories to make better business or policy decisions. UPI has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide since 1907. Our headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., with satellite offices in Beirut, Hong Kong, London, Santiago, Seoul and Tokyo.

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UPI Next
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