Retired Duluth newswoman shares decades of experience with Kazak - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Retired Duluth newswoman shares decades of experience with Kazakhstan newsrooms

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She may be retired now, but you can't take the journalist out of Barbara Reyelts.

The veteran Duluth news woman is now sharing her four decades of news knowledge with television stations, half a world away. 

"Storytelling is my life. It has been my life for the last forty years. It's in my blood," said Reyelts.

Reyelts recently took that passion overseas, after taking all of 30 seconds to make the decision.

Located in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is home to 18 million people and two national television stations located in the country's capitol of Astana.

Reyelts was invited by the U.S. Embassy and International Journalists Association to consult the two stations.

"They wanted them to see how American television does what it does."

From morning editorial meetings to live shots, Reyelts took a hands on approach with the help of a translator. 

Reyelts said Kazakhstan is a decade behind American TV news.

The biggest difference? Government influence.

"They have obligations to the government. They need to tell the government stories when they're asked to tell them," said Reyelts.

In between shortening stories and working on on-air performance, Reyelts also took in the country's culture.

"They have a different approach to life than we do. In western culture we're always on the go, they sort of embrace the moment."

The trip wasn't Reyelt's first time to this part of the world. She traveled there in the late 1980s.

"KBJR sent me to the soviet union, ostensibly to cover International Association of Sister Cities. They were having a gathering in Uzbekistan."

Reyelts was in the right place at the right time.

"I was there at the time the congress of peoples delegates was meeting in Moscow to talk about the break up of the Soviet Union.  It was sort of a bonus."

Reyelts' most recent trip follows a years-long partnership with the International Journalists Association.

During her tenure as news director, Reyelts invited foreign journalists into her Duluth newsroom. 

"I wanted our people, in our newsroom, to be exposed to that. To understand that journalism is something we kind of take for granted here. Across the world it isn't always like that."

Now, Reyelts sees her work overseas as a way to give back. 

Reyelts is considering a trip to Pakistan to consult television newsrooms there.

She says it's a risky visit given the unrest in the country.

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