Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Spring 2005 issue of Iowa Journalist, a student publication of the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has a piece about a faculty members' visit to Ukraine last fall, written by Erin Pfaff, a UI graduate student.

As always, it's absolutely amazing to see how foreign and mysterious we, Ukrainians, probably appear to someone who does not necessarily seem too foreign to us...

Journey highlights freedom of the press
Educating Ukraine about U.S. journalism teaches Berry more than the language

It's Oct. 31, 2004, and the future of Ukraine depends on the outcome of today's federal election. Assigned to cover a voting district, 21-year-old journalist, Hellen Pany Ly Shyn arrives at her post close to midnight. She waits outside for results as election officials have just finished counting the votes and are putting them in bags.

Yelling erupts from behind the closed door. Curious about the commotion, Ly Shyn walks into the room and witnesses "thugs" trying to steal the election bags. A gun shot is fired. The officials drop the bags and the thugs run off with them.

A short while later Ly Shyn receives a call telling her that she has seen too much and warning her to leave town. So the young journalist flees town, afraid for her safety if she stays and afraid for her life should she publish her story.

This is just one of the many personal accounts that University of Iowa journalism associate professor and Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter, Steve Berry, was told during his two-week free press mission in Ukraine.


What kind of name is Hellen Pany Ly Shyn - and Ly Shyn? Chinese?

It must've been Steve Berry's journalistic handwriting - DanyLyShyn, Olena Danylyshyn, a reporter with a Kirovohrad newspaper Nasha Gazeta (it's Kirovohad, not Kirovohrad, in the piece, but compared to how the reporter's name is misspelled, it's nothing)...

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