Staff



Press Start was created by Transitions, a leading journalism trainer in Central and Eastern Europe and publisher of a respected news magazine on the post-communist region. After training thousands of journalists over nearly 20 years, we know what it’s like for reporters who struggle against repression on a daily basis, and we’ve designed a platform precisely tailored to their needs.

The Press Start team is an international group of experienced journalists, social media experts, and free press advocates.

Press Start is operated by Transitions LLC, which is registered as a limited liability company in the state of Delaware. Transitions LLC is, in turn, fully owned by Transitions, a nonprofit organization in Prague, Czech Republic.


Jeremy Druker

CEO/Founder jeremy@pressstart.org

I was one of those Americans who came to Central Europe in the early 1990s – and then basically stayed. After about 20 years in Prague, I feel almost half-Czech, though still with a Brooklyn accent and a devotion to the New York Yankees. A group of us founded Transitions (TOL) in 1999, which operates a nonprofit news site about the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe, and a journalism training center. The inspiration for Press Start comes partly from the frustration of training thousands of journalists only to see them face huge political and financial obstacles to actually putting the training to use and practicing quality, independent journalism. I take a break from my day job and teach at the Prague campus of New York University on social media's impact on society. And I owe a big thanks to Ashoka, a worldwide network of social entrepreneurs. I've been a fellow since 2011 and Press Start was lucky enough to pass through an Ashoka incubator program called Globalizer – not once, but twice. I'm a graduate of Harvard (BA) and Columbia (MA) and sit on the board of the Fulbright Commission in the Czech Republic and the Czech journalism prizes.

Jaroslav Valuch

Project Leader jaroslav@pressstart.org

In my first year in marketing school I realized that selling soap was not for me. Instead I went off and became an environmental activist in a small town in the Czech Republic. Later, I worked with some humanitarian NGOs and got really excited about the use of new communications technologies in complex emergencies, conflicts, and activism. After some time working on projects all over the world, I have ended up as head of communications in the Czech government office that deals with hate crimes and hate speech.

Sarka Truxova

Community Manager sarka@pressstart.org

I'm a native Czech who ages ago studied marketing and management at the University of West Bohemia. I began my career as a clerk for government agencies, which was – sarcasm alert – a really fun period of my life. Looking for adventure, I went to study in the UK, where I also worked as a volunteer for Sue Ryder, a charity that provides hospice, medical, and psychological care to those with terminal or life-changing diagnoses. Working with nonprofits, I was happier and more productive, and I discovered an interest in equal opportunity and human rights issues. For more than decade, I've been part of the Transitions team in Prague.

Boryana Dzhambazova

Communications Manager boryana@pressstart.org

Здравейте (or “Hello” in Bulgarian) from the Press Start team member with the unpronounceable last name. I’m a freelance journalist in Sofia, Bulgaria, writing on subjects including economics, politics, social issues, and human rights.I’m not one of those people who's known since childhood that she wanted to be a journalist. Rather, I chose it over studying law in my last year of high school, as I saw journalism as a powerful tool to fight injustice. Still, I remember how excited I was to have my first story published back in 2005, and since then, my passion for telling stories has only grown. In 2012, I earned a master’s degree in new media as a Fulbright scholar at New York University, and two years later returned to the Balkans, where I participated in the three-month Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence. My articles have appeared in The New York Times, Businessweek, Fast Company, and Global Post, and some of my most interesting assignments so far have taken me to Congo and Southeast Asia. As a freelance journalist in a country and region that have been struggling to build their independent media, I know the challenges local reporters face trying to do solid work on subjects largely ignored by mainstream media. I'm eager to help fellow journalists from around the world make the most of the Press Start platform and produce the types of stories they've always wanted to do.

Barbara Frye

Lead editor and copywriter barbara@pressstart.org

I would like to have been a rock star (so naturally I took up the clarinet). Fortunately, though, journalism offered a place for a nosy, verbal person like me. In 2002, I had been in the profession for years when I got a buyout from the Tribune Company in Baltimore. Shortly afterward, I was hired by The Prague Post (now defunct) and with the promise of about one-fifth of the income that we had in the States, my husband and I headed east, intending to stay for a year, maybe a year and a half. That was 14 years ago. During that time, I reported for Transitions, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and others, from Armenia to Albania. For several years, I was managing editor at Transitions, resigning in 2015 to prepare for a return to the States (which actually nothing can prepare you for). My adult life has been shaped in part by the demise of the traditional media, and while new media offers exciting possibilities, I agree with David Simon that it is no substitute for dogged local reporting – the kind that Press Start aims to support.

Ernad Halilović

Technical Lead ernad@pressstart.org

I was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I have studied humanities and computers in Prague, Israel, the United States, and Italy. My goal is to understand and study the place of technology in our world, particularly its effects on communication and behavior, although I try not to keep it all theoretical by working as a software engineer by day. I believe that many who develop technology and have made their fortunes on it tend to make inflated claims for it, eclipsing the role of humans in whatever revolution it is meant to bring about. While Press Start relies on a world more tightly connected thanks to that technology, it is fundamentally about the talents and aspirations of people, which was a powerful motivation for me to join the project in the summer of 2012.

Dino Aganović

Multimedia Designer dino@pressstart.org

I grew up in Sarajevo, where I received a degree in economics at the University of Sarajevo. While still a student, I began experimenting with audio and visual arts as a hobby that soon became a full-time job. I worked on several projects as a graphic designer and helped with marketing and design on a lot of local youth projects. I’m also a successful electronic music producer, starting my own record label and project called Submarine Vibes in 2014.

Hana Curak

Multimedia Producer hana@pressstart.org

I grew up in Sarajevo, where I recently finished my bachelor's degree. Studying political science and international relations, I realized that the world was most easily reachable online. I am spending my early career years as a political activist both in the field – dealing with cities, sustainable development, and teenage girls – and on the web – looking at how social media are shaping our realities. Press Start was an amazing opportunity to put my eclectic skills to use.