Professional Bio

[Also view: Personal bio and favorite stories, the “Life Changers”]

Helen Holter

Helen Holter

 People have repeatedly called me an “international award-winning journalist and communications professional,” passionate in staying ahead of the latest media trends to connect with viewers (TV/online news), consumers (commercial and health), and those in need (global health).  I guess that’s right.

Whatever it takes to communicate, I’ve embraced the method and the medium: from typewriters, MS-DOS computers, and TV news recorded on ancient tape to online, digital, and mobile instant news and information.

I had a hunch that the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries would be significant in my lifetime, so I studied languages to communicate closely – unfiltered – as a journalist.  Formal studies in Russian, Serbo-Croatian (former Yugoslavia), Old Church Slavonic, French, and some Turkish and Uzbek have taken me to exotic countries, giving me newsworthy and personal interactions I could only dream about as a young girl growing up in Montana.

Breaking Up with the U.S.S.R.

The first week in my job at KIRO-TV – the CBS affiliate in Seattle – Soviets shot down a Korean airliner, claiming it was on a spy mission.  Knowing Russian and familiar with Soviet geography, I was immediately put to work on this breaking news international story – thankful for all I’d studied, and could share with my new news colleagues.

I'm with Uzbekistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, Murad Askarov

I’m with Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Murad Askarov

 The U.S.S.R./Russia continued to be in the news – and my beat – for my entire broadcasting career.  I was so was grateful to win a pioneering international award to work as a senior TV correspondent reporting in Russian to audiences up to 70 million from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Moscow, Russia – where people opened their hearts, homes, and stories to me.

I was one of the first Western journalists to interview Uzbekistan’s President Karimov, as well as report from Chernobyl, where firsthand knowledge of the devastating effects of that nuclear accident profoundly seeded my passion for global health.  I later freelanced for ABC News in Moscow, Russia, covering that country’s first democratic election as well as the first Clinton/Yeltsin summit.

Community, Wherever It Is

In addition to my love for Russia, Siberia, Central Asia, Turkey and the Balkans, I’m passionate about medical and health issues.  At KIRO-TV I headed the station’s medical news unit and also created a weekly medical/health show – “HealthSmart” – for which I won one of several Emmys.  I also created and produced live nightly news specials on the Persian Gulf War and military issues, with live interviews from around the world.

Even on a chilly day of –15°, I loved working at the ABC News bureau in Moscow, Russia. (1993-94)

Even on a chilly day of –15°, I loved working at the ABC News bureau in Moscow, Russia.

I adored it all: booking guests, writing breaking news, producing live newscasts and taped specials, ghost-reporting for anchors, and then “real” reporting – my passion.  In all my work – TV news, CD-ROM, online, digital – I’ve worked with or headed diverse teams of anchors, producers, and news teams, often under unforgiving deadlines.

I'm interviewing my heartthrob, Dustin Hoffman, in "Death of a Salesman" - my favorite American play (New York City)

I’m interviewing my heartthrob, Dustin Hoffman, in “Death of a Salesman” – my favorite American play (New York City)

As methods and mediums have changed, so have I – working in cutting-edge media in places like Microsoft, Medio Multimedia (with Paul Allen funding), and medicine with versatile, deadline-driven storytelling and content marketing.  I create and oversee content and content strategy for all media platforms; manage creative teams; and work in both proprietary and consumer content-management systems (CMSs).

With my extensive international academic and professional experience, I’m told I offer thoughtful insights into cross-cultural communications and strategic messaging.  Growing up in Montana – a culture of oral history traditions – I’m a storyteller at heart.

Gratefulness, and Ripon College

Journalism awards include Emmys, Society of Professional Journalists awards, Associated Press, National Council of Christians & Jews, and the Alerdinck Foundation Award from The Hague, Netherlands to report in Russian for Soviet TV.  An unforgettable highlight was as an invited speaker at a first-ever international conference on new media in Moscow, Russia, and helping train Russian journalists in a new medium called the “internet.” I was named top presenter at that gathering.

In June 2013 – one of the precious highlights in my life – I received the Ripon College Distinguished Alumni Citation from my beloved Wisconsin alma mater. [Read my thank-you speech, “Ripon College, Recalculating.“]

Voice of America-Uzbekistan interviews me in Seattle, 2011

Voice of America-Uzbekistan interviews me in Seattle, 2011

In addition to an M.A. in Slavic Languages & Literatures from Indiana University, a B.A. in Russian language and Soviet studies from Ripon College, and  a B.A. (in one year) in Communications-Broadcast Journalism from the University of Washington, I’ve also studied in U.S.S.R./Russia, Yugoslavia, and Turkey.

 {Voice of America’s Navbahor Imamova interviews me in Uzbek @ 2:40-5:10 in story} (video-click here)

I’ve recently taken classes in global health, microbiology, statistics, anatomy/physiology, nutrition, chemistry, and emerging infectious diseases to better understand complex global health issues, and to promote solutions – for the world’s neediest.  That’s why I’ve created a web site, Global Health Lessons as well as several YouTube videos on global health, cobbled together in my backyard.

Whatever the method or medium, I truly believes such communication can help illuminate problems, point to solutions, and instill communities – in our backyards, in our world – to take action.  And, in that action, share hope.

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