Michael Wines and Sharon LaFraniere:
“Breaking World News from The Louisville Times to The New York Times” – October 21, 2015

Michael Wines in Grozny
Michael Wines in Grozny, February 2002, after the Russian invasion of Chechnya a few months earlier. The Russian air force had effectively leveled the city, which once housed 400,000-plus people; there was hardly a house than had not suffered damage.

Louisville native and former New York Times Beijing Bureau Chief Michael Wines and award-winning New York Times journalist Sharon LaFraniere met when they both worked at The Louisville Times. They went on to live all over the world breaking major news stories, including Russia’s invasion of Chechnya to the Iran Contra affair.

Join Kentucky to the World on October 21 for this rare moment when they return to Louisville for the first time in 19 years and bring the public a glimpse into the fascinating world of their intersecting private and professional lives.

Michael Wines

After many decades of international assignments for The New York Times, including bureau chief in Moscow, Johannesburg, South Africa and Beijing, Michael Wines has been back in the US since 2012 as a national correspondent covering environmental and other issues.

Michael says
“I was predestined to be a journalist, which has been both a blessing and a curse.

I started my first newspaper at age five, in my native Shively — you go, south end! — with an ancient Underwood, typing paper and carbon sheets. I started a newspaper in my elementary school, edited my high-school and college newspapers, worked summers at newspapers in Louisville, Rochester and New York city. After a brief flirtation with law school, I worked at the Lexington Herald-Leader, then moved quickly to the late and much-lamented Louisville Times. I left Louisville in 1980 to go to Washington, where I managed to land a job with a policy magazine called National Journal, which led to a job in the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times, which led to a job in the Washington bureau of The New York Times in 1988.

I came to The New York Times’ attention because of my reporting on espionage issues in the dying days of the Cold War, and because of a scandal that most folks have forgotten, called Iran-Contra. I’d broken a number of stories in both areas. I think The Times may have thought I was deeply plugged into the American intelligence community. I wasn’t, but I managed to reinvent myself as a reporter on other topics, from presidential campaigns to Congress, and eventually was offered a chance to go to Moscow in 1998. From there I covered the demise of Boris Yeltsin and the rise of Vladimir Putin, then went to South Africa in 2003, and to China in 2008.”

Sharon LaFraniere

Sharon LaFraniere
Sharon and Nikolay Khalip, from The Times Moscow bureau staff.

Sharon LaFraniere is a national investigative reporter at The New York Times. Ms LaFraniere began writing for The Times in 2003, covering southern Africa.

She moved from Johannesburg to Beijing in early 2008 to report on China. For the past two years, she has been based in New York city.

Before joining The Times, Ms LaFraniere was a reporter and editor for The Washington Post for 20 years. Her last assignment was to the Moscow bureau, where from 1998 to 2003 she covered the Russian region, including war zones in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

Ms LaFraniere is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Gerald Loeb Award in 2013 for international reporting, The Michael Kelly Award in 2006 for her coverage of women in sub-Saharan Africa and The Overseas Press Club Award for business reporting in 1999.

Born in Detroit, she received a BA degree from Brown University and an MA degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Ms LaFraniere is married to Michael Wines and they have three children.


Event Details

The event will be held on Wednesday, October 21, on the Fourth Floor of the Henry Clay Building (604 S. 3rd Street).  Due to popular demand we are moving our events to a more spacious room at the Henry Clay.

Reception is at 5:30 PM followed by the program at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $25, and the price includes appetizers by Wiltshire Pantry. There is a cash bar.

No tickets will be sold at the door.


Introducing Our Moderator – Pam Platt

Pam PlattPam Platt has been a journalist for almost 38 years, working as a reporter, an editor, a columnist, an ombudsman and an editorial director (twice) – most recently at The Courier-Journal. She left her job there earlier this year. Her beloved career has allowed her to interview everyone from astronauts to the Village People, although not at the same time, and has nurtured her as a lifelong learner.

She also has served as president of the international Organization of News Ombudsmen and as a judge for the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism. Her favorite role is still that of mother to her daughter (who might not say the same thing!).



Stay tuned for more!  Sign up for the Kentucky to the World email updates to be the first to know the news.


Support the series – find out more.



Share this story: