Merrill Abroad took a trip to Vienna, Austria on Tuesday, Jan. 6.! We went to Vienna for an informative visit to the International Press Institute (IPI), the premier global non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting press freedom around the world. Thirty-four editors from 15 separate countries founded IPI in 1950 and now the organization has grown to over 120 countries, according to the IPI website. Steven M. Ellis, senior Press Freedom Advisor for Europe and North America, gave a lecture to Merrill Abroad about the history of IPI and discussed the present status of the media in Slovakia and Hungary before opening it up to questions from Merrill Abroad members. Ellis rated the media in Slovakia as free but was less positive about the state of the press in Hungary where journalists are trying to cope with an increasingly authoritarian governmental influence in their operations by the Viktor Orbán administration. Ellis and Merrill Abroad also ultimately turned back to the fact that the financial viability and economic pressures on the media is still perhaps the most difficult problem news organizations must grapple with. After leaving IPI, Merrill Abroad took in the many magnificent sights of Vienna! We took a to visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, an 11th century Gothic architectural masterpiece and the Belvedere Palace, the immense 18th century Baroque style summer palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Belvedere is a major landmark of the city and housed an art museum that Merrill Abroad took advantage of seeing! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram using #merrillabroad.