The perfect season and a perfect event for my first visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York: Worldpress.orgâ€™s luncheon for their International Editor of the Year, Mrs. Shukria Barakzai, a Kabul-based editor. The gingko trees are covered with soft new-green leaves, and their branches seem to undulate into the air. I’m told that the gingko is an ancient tree; their grace makes me wonder what a primeval forest was like.
But New York is all about the present. I went to the lunch because I am an admirer of the World Press magazine, which ceased print publication about a year ago. Its editor,
Teri Schure, has moved the operation to the web and is providing a tremendous service there, a unique collection of content from magazines and newspapers around the world. I talked to two long-time subscribers, one from Florida and another from Oregon, who told me how much they missed it (in print) and how important it was. What an unusual thing, to be in a gathering in the United States where everyone wanted to know more about the rest of the world! And certainly encouraging to us, with our focus on the world and especially with our forthcoming Global Perspectives on the U.S., a two-volume reference we are doing with Congressional Quarterly Press. David and I are the general editors, working with an international board of editors and of course contributors from many countries.
“Since 1975, World Press has presented its International Editor of the Year award to an editor outside the United States in recognition of enterprise, courage and leadership in advancing the freedom and responsibility of the press, enhancing human rights and fostering excellence in journalism.”
The 2004 award was presented to Mrs. Shukria Barakzai, Kabul-based editor of Aina-E-Zan (Womenâ€™s Mirror), after a surprising nice–but not Afghan–meal in a room overlooking the East River. The small world principle was at work: I sat next to a woman who had had a studio in Camberwell, south London, my old neighborhood.