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Wisconsin native helps foreign press cover major U.S. events, including Republican National Convention

As director of the Foreign Press Centers for the State Department, Ryan Roberts helps visiting journalists get into communities to learn about American culture for themselves.
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Posted at 9:33 AM, Apr 09, 2024

MILWAUKEE — The team behind the Republican National Convention peeled back the curtain for another look at how downtown Milwaukee will look for this summer's big event.

To learn more about the process, we spoke to a person who works to make sure America's stories are told to the world and has ties to southeast Wisconsin.

“As my team works to facilitate access for journalists and help them to tell American stories, I really rely on those fundamental skills that I learned here in Milwaukee,” said Ryan Roberts, Director of Foreign Press Centers, U.S. Department of State.

Roberts knows the importance of getting it right the first time.

“Our mission is to support foreign journalists who come to the United States to report on our policy, our society, and our values,” said Roberts.

As director of the Foreign Press Centers for the State Department, Roberts and his team work to help get visiting journalists into communities to learn about American culture for themselves.

“Our real goal is to help foreign journalists to tell the story of our democracy and our elections,” said Roberts.

The Greendale native is pretty familiar with Wisconsin news.

After graduating from MATC, Roberts began his career working as a production specialist at TMJ4.

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Ryan Roberts, Greendale native who now works for the State Department as the Director of the Foreign Press Centers. He’s responsible for coordinating all the foreign media outlets as they prepare to cover anything in the U.S., including the RNC.

He says his experience working behind the scenes at the station helps him to this day.

“While I am not a journalist now, it really informs my work with journalists and really informs my understanding of visual communication, of what a good story looks like, and what journalists are looking for,” said Roberts.

For the RNC, his teams will be stationed at the Baird Center, Panther Arena, and Fiserv Forum, working to support the foreign press.

 “It's not easy for foreign journalists to understand our process, to understand the intricacies or even to know how to cover it. So, we hope to facilitate some of that access and give them information about how they might cover various aspects of our democracy,” said Roberts.

Roberts says he's excited to help the hundreds of foreign journalists share as much as they can about our country in all corners of the world.

“In the end, the more people around the world understand about our country and its nuance and its context and its complexity, the more safe and secure we will be,” said Roberts.