The fellowship was created in memory of Elizabeth Neuffer, a correspondent for The Boston Globe and winner of the 1998 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award. Neuffer died while reporting in Iraq on May 9, 2003. In collaboration with Neuffer’s family and friends, the IWMF started this program to honor her legacy, while advancing her work in the fields of human rights and social justice.
“We’re thrilled that Audrey Jiajia Li was selected for this honor. We believe her determined reporting on social justice issues from China – in the face of censorship in a restrictive press environment – carries forward Elizabeth Neuffer’s spirit,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, the IWMF’s executive director. She added, “We’re looking forward to seeing the evolution of her work through the Neuffer Fellowship.”
Beginning in September, Li will spend her seven-month fellowship as a research associate in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies. She will also complete journalism internships with The Boston Globe and The New York Times. Li will pursue coursework and projects to better understand the use of government propaganda on social media and its impact on the rise of ultra-nationalism in China.
“An award-winning foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe, Elizabeth Neuffer was dedicated to journalism and social justice,” said Linda Henry, Boston Globe Managing Director. “The Boston Globe is proud to continue Elizabeth’s legacy through the IWMF fellowship as we work to inspire the next generation of courageous women journalists to hold the powerful accountable and champion press freedom.”
Li covers current affairs in China, with a focus on politics, human rights, social justice, and freedom of speech. She first kicked off her career in journalism as a business news reporter in Shanghai, where she investigated cases of human rights violations resulting from China’s rapid economic growth. She produced and hosted an award-winning, nationally-televised program for nearly two years, where she interviewed guests about sensitive political and human rights issues. Li was also selected by the U.S. Department of State’s Media Co-op Program to create her documentary “LA, Say Goodbye to Smog,” to inform her Chinese audience about the importance of civic engagement.
Li has recently resigned from her position at an official TV station to become a freelance columnist and independent filmmaker. During a time of increased censorship in China, Li strives to provide objective coverage to her audience.
“In my observation, two real Chinas exist in parallel at the same time. One is a super power with rapid economic growth and a quick rise of living standards, while the other is a vast nation where a sizable number of people still suffer from inequality, injustice, and a lack of individual liberty. Journalists have the obligation to raise awareness about these important yet ignored issues to make my country a better place,” Li said.
Li is the 13th journalist to win the fellowship. Jacey Fortin, last year’s Neuffer fellow, was hired full-time by The New York Times at the culmination of her fellowship. Since 2004, 12 journalists representing 10 countries have been awarded the fellowship. For more information about the fellowship, visit www.iwmf.org/neuffer.
About the IWMF
Since 1990, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has worked to unleash the potential of women journalists as champions of press freedom to transform the global news media. We seek to ensure that women journalists worldwide are fully supported, protected, recognized and rewarded for their vital contributions at all levels of the news media. As a result, consumers will increase their demand for news with a diversity of voices, stories and perspectives as a cornerstone of democracy and free expression. Through our programs and grants, we empower women journalists with the training, opportunities, and support to become leaders in the news industry.
Learn more at www.iwmf.org