In October, IP reported on the Howard G. Buffett Foundation's $4 million grant to the International Women's Media Foundation. That was a lot of money, given how infrequently funders throw big support behind this focus area. But it turned out that Buffett wasn't done: He's now tossed another $10 million into the pot for women journalists. Wow.
What's more, IWMF has hit the ground running since that first gift in October and has big plans for promoting women in journalism in 2015 and far into the future.
With the latest $10 million in Howard G. Buffett support, the IWMF is implementing three areas of programming:
The Courage in Photojournalism Award: Killed earlier this year in Afghanistan, photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus was significant to Howard G. Buffett. Seven years ago, he funded Niedringhaus' fellowship in photojournalism at Harvard University. In Niedringhaus' honor, Buffett has given $1 million to IWMF to support annual financial awards for remarkable women pursuing photojournalism in the name of human rights.
The African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative: $5 million of Buffett's IWMF money will go toward developing in-country journalistic capacity among women in Central and East Africa, and deploying foreign correspondents to the region to inform the international press. That Buffett would want to focus in this area isn't surprising, since he's deeply involved in trying to bring peace to Congo and surrounding areas.
The Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists: The remaining $4 million of Buffett's IWMF grant will support educational opportunities, investigative reporting, and media development initiatives for women in news media. The IWMF reports that this fund represents a dramatic expansion of its support for women journalists.
The pay and opportunity disparities affecting women in journalism have persisted for decades, and we need hardly mention that quality international reporting has long been in decline, including from crucial zones of strife like Congo. Buffett's big gift helps address both issues, and it will be interesting to watch how the influx of $14 million to IWWF will affect media in 2015, and—beyond that—what long-term effects Buffett's prioritization of female journalists will have have on the news we actually consume.