Back in October, my colleague Joan Shipps wrote a post noting that the Howard G. Buffet Foundation dropped another $10 million into the International Women's Media Foundation. As she noted, it represented a lot of money for an often ignored area of journalism funding. Equipped with the cash infusion, the IWMF implemented three areas of programming: The Courage in Photojournalism Award, The African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative, and the Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.
Now here we are, seven months later, and the IWMF has announced the inaugural grantees of the latter fund. Nine trailblazing women journalists were selected from a pool of 650 applicants representing media projects based in over 100 countries, and $2.3 million will be allocated through 2024.
Before we look at the winners, I'd like to step back and reiterate the importance of this fund. First, there's an inherent irony at play. Journalists, by definition, are tasked with exposing injustice and advancing a more equitable world. Yet pay and opportunity disparities affecting women in journalism continue to persist across the globe. (Click here for more analysis around the IWMF's work in addressing these challenges.)
Secondly, as I noted when the IWMF started accepting nominations for 2015's Courage in Journalism and Lifetime Achievement Awards, journalism is increasingly dangerous work. Reporters Without Borders noted that the number of kidnapping cases skyrocketed dramatically in 2014, with 119 journalists reportedly abducted. That's a 37 percent increase year-on-year.
And so the Howard G. Buffet Fund for Women Journalists, which supports educational opportunities, investigative reporting, and media development initiatives for women in news media, comes at a critical time. Here are the winners:
- Lily Casura is awarded a $19,500 grant to complete a multimedia project examining homeless female veterans in the U.S.
- Priyanka Dubey is awarded a $1,800 grant to help her complete her book on the crisis of rape in India.
- Rahima Gambo is awarded a grant of $8,400 to pursue a multimedia web project about students in Northeastern Nigeria who have been impacted by the Boko Haram insurgency.
- Iris Kuo and her team are awarded a grant of $9,500 to create a multimedia research tool and web app, LedBetter, to increase access to information on gender in corporate leadership.
- Victoria McKenzie is awarded a grant of $2,500 to pursue an investigative reporting project on water access in rural Colombia.
- Pascale Müller and her team are awarded a grant of $10,000 to implement a skills-building workshop for female journalists in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Katie Orlinsky is awarded a grant of $15,000 to complete a photography project exploring climate change and environmental issues in Alaskan communities.
- Alice Su is awarded a grant of $3,000 grant to complete Hostile Environments & Emergency First-Aid Training (HEFAT).
- Tennessee Jane Watson and her team are awarded a grant of $36,000 to complete an audio documentary examining childhood sexual abuse in the United States.
Three additional funding rounds will be completed in 2015, and a total of $230,000 will be awarded to applicants this year. The next application period will be open from June 15 through July 27, 2015.