The Participants

Brett Abel

A journalism student at the University of Nevada, Reno, Brett Abel is in his fourth year of working as a reporter. He began at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., writing for the student newspaper The Advocate, including a year as its editor in chief. During his time there, Abel also covered high school sports for the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune and covered the 2009 World Series of Poker for Bluff Magazine. After three years at CCC, Abel transfered to UNR and will begin his second year there in the fall. Follow him at


Alicia Abercrombie

Alicia Abercrombie began free-lancing for print publications at the age of ripe old age of 16. Currently attending University of Wisconsin-Madison, she wrote for The Badger Herald for three semesters and also co-hosted a student radio show on WSUM. In addition, Abercrombie volunteered as Advertising and Publications Chair for the Midwest BLGTA College Conference 2010 and worked at Fair Wisconsin as a Communications Intern in Spring of 2010. She hopes to continue to work as an online journalist and web consultant, teaching publications how to improve their Web sites and social media presence.


Morgan Brinlee

Morgan Brinlee is a 23 year-old journalism student from San Francisco State University, with a focus on print media and an interest in both online and multi-media. A member of The San Francisco Omicron chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, she plans to graduate in December of 2010 and hopes to attend graduate school at The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. With a small amount of freelance work behind her Brinlee looks forward to further breaking into the field of journalism. In her free time she loves devouring books, getting lost in the woods, backpacking through foreign countries and roller skating.


Elizabeth Culley

Elizabeth Culley was born in San Francisco, California. A singer, model, actor, voice-over actor and writer, her interests include entertainment, architecture, wine, food and all that is San Francisco. Culley is on the freelance staff for Juxtapoz Magazine which is located in San Francisco. Her band is called " Liz and The Lifted." Find her on "Twitter" : 'listentoliz'


Lindsay Harte

Lindsay Harte is a senior at San Francisco State University majoring in Journalism and minoring in International Relations. Just recently entering the journalism field, Harte has been published on and has a personal blog. With her eyes set on being an international reporter, Harte joined The Perpignan Project to test the field on reporting with language barriers and gain the essential skills not always taught in journalism school.


Ashley Kascak

Ashley Kascak graduated with honors in print journalism in 2010 from SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She has received two awards, including the Alberta Newspaper Association Award, for her educational achievement and dedication to the journalism industry. As a lover of all things art, Kascak was the Arts and Entertainment Editor for her student newspaper during the majority of her studies. She also interned with, one of the city’s top newspapers. Kascak presently freelances for a News and Entertainment Weekly. She is in Perpignan while while pursuing a career in multimedia and film. Follow her on Twitter @ashleykascak.


Melodie Miu

Melodie Miu is an art and creative writing major at Mills College, a women's university in Oakland, and is the Online Editor for its student news organization, The Campanil. She enjoys drawing, reading and writing. Interact with her on Twitter @mldmiu.


Nicole Reyna

Nicole is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. This is her first time in Europe and she is already trying to make plans to return.


Christine Tjandra

Christine Tjandra was born and raised in Indonesia. Hoping to be a foreign correspondent one day, Tjandra is currently pursuing a degree in journalism at San Francisco State University. In her spare time, Tjandra enjoys reading and writing. She also likes doing outdoor activities. Her main interests are varied and one of them is politics.


Gillette Vaira

Gillette Vaira first began reporting by using flashlights and lint rollers as microphones to practice her news delivery skills. Now, she is a graduate student of broadcast journalism at the University of Montana. There, she joined classmates in reporting about the medical marijuana movement in Montana through a student documentary, Cannabusiness, which aired on MontanaPBS. She also helped develop a UM class website and project, Rethink08, which focused on the political involvements of young people. Originally from Lambert, MT, Vaira graduated magna cum laude from Montana State University Billings in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication and a minor in International Studies. She has interned with KULR-8 Television and the March of Dimes in Billings, MT, as well as the National 4-H Council in Washington, D.C. Vaira has reported for Montana Public Radio and National Native News, and she has won radio awards through the Society of Professional Journalists.


Renee Wunderlich

Salut! I'm an aspiring backpack journalist who goes to the University of Illinois, lives in Pittsburgh, and absolutely loves Nutella. Despite having a French grandmother, my language skills are limited to asking questions about food, clothing, and the location of the nearest bathroom. When I'm not traveling the world, I'm on WPGU 107.1 as a DJ, attempting to train for a 5K, or working on my newest crochet project. Thanks for reading!


Natalie Yemenidjian

Natalie Yemenidjian is most recently a student at Pierce College's Media Arts Department. She fell in love with multimedia journalism while being editor of her school's student-run magazine, The Bull. She was also editor of her school newspaper, Roundup and the student founder of Pierce's first Internet radio station, Yemenidjian hopes the Perpignan Project will make her a better multimedia journalist.


The Faculty

Laird Harrison

Laird Harrison is the reporting/blogging instructor for The Perpignan Project. Over the past 20 years, he has written for some of the nation’s best-known magazines, Web sites and newspapers including TIME, PEOPLE,, MSNBC, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Chicago Tribune. He has produced video for Smithsonian Magazine Web site and Over the past twenty years, Laird Harrison has written for some of the nation’s best-known magazines, Web sites and newspapers, including TIME, PEOPLE,, MSNBC, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Chicago Tribune. He has produced video for Smithsonian Magazine Web site and, a Web site for dental professionals, and audio for WUNC radio. Previously he held the position of associate editor at WebMD. He has taught journalism at San Francisco State University, Media Bistro and the University of California Extension.

Rachele Kanigel

Rachele Kanigel is director of The Perpignan Project. She is an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University, where she teaches Newswriting, Reporting, Introduction to Online Journalism and other courses and advises Golden Gate [X]press, the student newspaper. She was a newspaper reporter for 15 years for daily newspapers, including The Oakland Tribune and The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, and was a freelance correspondent for TIME magazine. She has also written for Health, Organic Style, People, Reader’s Digest, Prevention and other national magazines. Her book. The Student Newspaper Survival Guide, was published by Blackwell Publishing in 2006.

Ken Kobre

Ken Kobré heads the photojournalism program at San Francisco State University and is the video instructor for The Perpignan Project. His textbook,“Photojournalism: The Professionals’ Approach,” published by Focal Press-Elsevier, has been the widest-selling text on photojournalism in the world since 1980. It is now in its sixth edition. He is also a co-author of the 7th and 8th editions of “Photography” (Prentice Hall) the world’s leading basic photography textbook. His other books include “How to Photograph Friends and Strangers,” published by Curtin & London. He is the inventor of the Lightscoop, a universally acclaimed camera accessory that instantly and inexpensively improves pop-up flash photographs. Ken maintains an active freelance career that has included assignments for Newsweek, Time and The New York Times. He has worked widely in developing countries including Malaysia, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ken is a winner of the respected Robin F. Garland Educator Award from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and for four years directed the University of Missouri/NPPA Pictures of the Year Awards.

Jennifer Ward

Jennifer Ward is the multimedia instructor and webmaster for The Perpignan Project. She has been working in online media since the mid ’90s, doing everything from creating interactive projects to writing basic HTML. Her recent focuses include training print journalists in the new tools of the trade, creating multimedia on a shoestring and a deadline, and working with open source software and hardware. As the former assistant managing editor for interactive media at, she led the Web site to win several online awards, including a Digital Edgie in 2007 for multimedia use and a finalist position for best overall news site in 2008. In 2009 she was a Poynter McCormick Change Leadership Fellow. She started writing code in 6th grade, became serious about newspapers in college and finally combined the skills to earn a B.S. in journalism with a computer science minor.