Journalists Share Local, International Experiences and Explorations

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome Anastasia and John Stanmeyer to campus Tuesday, March 24, through Thursday, March 26, as this spring semester’s Hardman Journalists-in-Residence. John Stanmeyer, a photojournalist with National Geographic, and Anastasia Stanmeyer, managing editor of Berkshire Magazine, each will present a talk, on March 24 and 25, respectively. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

John Stanmeyer will discuss his “Out of Eden” project with National Geographic at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, in the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation Auditorium (room 121). Then, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, Anastasia Stanmeyer will discuss the role and coverage of regional publications in Murdock Hall’s Sammer Dennis Room (218).

Hardman scholars Dr. Joseph Ebiware and Dr. Zack Finch of MCLA’s Department of English/Communications said they are pleased to welcome the Stanmeyers to campus as this year’s Hardman Journalists-in-Residence.

“They will offer our students an inspiring example of two people who have really forged their own paths as journalists and creative artists within a world where our professional pathways are no longer as predetermined as they once were,” Finch said.

John Stanmeyer and writer Paul Salopek are in the third year of their “Out of Eden” project. They are retracing humankind’s collective footsteps that began some 60,000 years ago in Africa, as they follow the migrations of the human race throughout the world.

Already, they have walked through Ethiopia, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Turkey. Their experiences in Turkey are featured in this month’s edition of National Geographic magazine. Next month, they will begin part four of the project, in Armenia.

As Berkshire Magazine’s managing editor since its inception three years ago, Anastasia Stanmeyer sees herself as the collective voice of the publication, working closely with the creative director, publisher, and freelance writers and photographers.

“Connecting readers, one issue at a time, is the goal. Equally important is what happens in-between issues through social media, regular online news feeds, a weekly online newsletters and a regularly updated website,” Anastasia Stanmeyer said. “Regional magazines play an important role for seasoned and new journalists to showcase their writing and photography.”

Each spring, journalists visit the English/Communications Department at MCLA to participate in classes and workshops with students. In this position, the visiting journalist facilitates journalism and broadcasting students in their storytelling practices. This involves print, online and broadcast aspects of journalism.

Across the three-day residency, the Stanmeyers – each of whom has a background in international journalism – will visit eight different classes, including journalism classes such as “Writing and Reporting the News,” “Magazine Writing and Editing” and “Publication Design.”

“They’re also going to visit some fine and performing arts classes. For instance, Anastasia will meet with Professor Diane Scott’s ‘Arts Finance’ class to talk about how to run a magazine and make it financially viable,” Finch said. “In addition, they will visit an interdisciplinary class called ‘Intro to Leadership,’ where they’ll talk about their own unconventional experiences with leadership. They will do something different in each class setting.”

In addition, the Stanmeyers will meet with students on an individual basis, and conduct a series of interviews with campus media, including MCLA’s student-run newspaper, The Beacon, as well as the College’s television and radio stations.

John Stanmeyer is a humanist dedicated to social and political issues that define our times. As a photojournalist, he travels the world on various assignments. Over the last decade, he has worked nearly exclusively with National Geographic magazine, producing more than 12 stories for the magazine and resulting in 10 covers.

Between 1998 and 2008, John Stanmeyer was a contract photographer for Time magazine, during which time he photographed the war in Afghanistan, the fight for independence in East Timor, the fall of Suharto in Indonesia, and other significant world news events. His years with Time resulted in 18 covers of the magazine.

In 2001, he co-founded, along with six of the world’s leading photojournalists, the VII Photo agency. By 2005, VII was listed in third position in American Photo’s “100 Most Important People in Photography.” VII now represents 20 of the world’s preeminent photojournalists whose careers span 35 years of world history.
In January, John Stanmeyer became a VII Distinguished Member. The same month, he brought his 10 years of stories with National Geographic to National Geographic Creative while his historic archive of 20-plus years of visual history remains at VII.

He is the recipient of numerous honors, including the prestigious Robert Capa Award (Overseas Press Club), Magazine Photographer of the Year (POYi), and numerous World Press, Picture of the Year and NPPA awards.

In 2008, his National Geographic cover story on global malaria received the National Magazine Award. In 2012, he was nominated for an Emmy with the VII documentary film series, “Starved for Attention,” and, in 2014, he was the recipient of the World Press Photo award for his photograph from Djibouti titled, “Signal.”

John Stanmeyer has published a number of books, including “Island of the Spirits,” a journalistic/anthropologic look at Balinese culture documented during the five years he lived on the island. His latest book, a VII Photo Agency collaboration titled “Questions without Answers” (Phaidon), was released in 2012. It chronicles the last 30 years of social conflict and change around the world.

In 2013, he opened Stanmeyer Gallery and Shaker Dam Coffeehouse in West Stockbridge, combining photography and education around his passion for coffee, wrapping the two around ethically procured, human rights-based direct trade coffee with the social issues represented in his photographs.

Anastasia Stanmeyer has been a journalist for more than 25 years. She became editor of Berkshire Magazine in April 2012, while it was still in its planning stages. The first issue hit newsstands that July. She works closely with a number of freelance writers and photographers in putting together this magazine, which is published eight times a year—monthly from May to October, and winter and spring issues.

She writes for the publication regularly, along with guiding the entire editorial content. She also is the voice of Berkshire Magazine’s social media content.

Anastasia Stanmeyer has led a number of youth and adult writing workshops in the Berkshire community and has held panel discussions related to articles in Berkshire Magazine. She is a member of the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Otis Cultural Council, and is active throughout the county.

Before coming to the Berkshires, she spent 12 years (1996-2008) living in Hong Kong and Indonesia. She wrote and edited for a number of publications, which included Time, Asiaweek, Newsweek and Stern magazines. She also has contributed to various daily newspapers, including the Dallas Morning News, Christian Science Monitor and San Francisco Chronicle.

Early in her career, she was a writer with the Tallahassee Democrat and Tampa Tribune, both in Florida. While at the Tribune, she wrote extensively about the Haitian refugee crisis and traveled to Haiti and Guantanamo Bay. She received her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Kansas-Lawrence.

One of Anastasia Stanmeyer’s projects while in Hong Kong and Indonesia was a multi-year investigation on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its spread across Asia, reporting and writing from more than 10 countries in the region. She also produced in-depth reporting on refugees in various parts of the region.

During her travels to India and throughout Africa in the early 1990s, she met and wrote about the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, and reported on the civil war and famine in South Sudan.

Anastasia Stanmeyer authored the introduction to the “Island of the Spirits,” a five-year anthropologic photo/art book on Balinese spirituality.

The Stanmeyers moved to the Berkshires in mid-2008, where they own a 40-acre former horse and cattle farm in West Otis. They live there with their three children, ages 7, 11 and 15, and two dogs.

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