UPI Hires New Director

LuisaRuMBAUPI Next, the media development division of UPI, has hired a new director to to “bolster the division’s rapid growth and presence in media development efforts in developing nations and emerging democracies.” It’s Luisa Piette, who replaces Michelle Betz, who, according to a release, is moving overseas.

Who is Piette? She’s described as a  “seasoned journalist, international media coach and marketing communications leader with expertise in corporate management and human rights, who most recently worked in Africa as a media development officer for UNESCO.”

Like most news organizations who make new hires, they are very excited about the hire.

“We welcome Luisa on board 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 made sure to praise the outgoing director, 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.”

Lisa Schnellinger, the strategist behind UPI Next and Pakistan program manager, offered a quote that’s slightly more exciting: “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,” she said in the release.

In her past…Piette’s journalism career began in the early 1980s with the BBC 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.  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 has a Master’s in International Human Rights Law and a BA in French and Government from Essex University, U.K.