Magazine article Editor & Publisher

United States-Style Press Club in Moscow

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

United States-Style Press Club in Moscow

Article excerpt

A UNITED STATES-style press club in Moscow has signed up 460 members, its director said, even though completion of $1 million in facilities still is at least a month away.

The International Press Center & Club, modeled after the National Press Club in Washington, also has become a key forum where Russian and former Soviet newsmakers are quizzed by Russian and non-Russian newspeople.

In addition to newspeople, members range from former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to a group of 28 journalism students from Moscow State University. Others are embassy personnel and business and public relations people working in Russia.

Harry Bodaan, president of the press center and club, said the organization's bylaws require that the majority of members be newspeople. More than 100 members are Russian journalists, despite a currency crisis that makes the $200 annual membership fee far above the capability of most local journalists, he said. The club now allows foreign journalists who join for $800 to designate a gift membership for a Russian journalist.

Bodaan was general manager of Washington's National Press Club for nearly 11 years and he is continuing its tradition of bringing newsmakers before the membership, sometimes with as many as three events a week. U.S. visitors have included Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, the House majority leader, and Rep. Robert Michel of Illinois, the minority leader.

In addition to Gorbachev, who spoke March 5, Russians and speakers from other parts of the Commonwealth of Independent States have covered a full range from vice premiers to legislators. Boris Fyodorov, Russian finance minister and deputy prime minister, was grilled about the political and economic situation.

The newsmaker sessions result in extensive coverage in the local and foreign press.

The press center's mission statement calls upon it to foster excellence in journalism and the expansion of a free and open press in Russia and the other C. …

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