Each year, the award will recognize an outstanding female journalist of color whose work carries forward Ifill’s legacy of mentoring and supporting other women journalists. Ifill, who passed away in November 2016, was a friend of the IWMF, and served as co-anchor of the PBS NewsHour alongside IWMF founder Judy Woodruff.
Michele Norris is the Founding Director of The Race Card Project and Executive Director of The Bridge, the Aspen Institute’s new program on race, identity and inclusion. For more than a decade, she served as a host of National Public Radio’s (NPR) “All Things Considered.” In 2010, Norris created The Race Card Project to capture, cultivate and archive the unheard conversations around race in America after the publication of her family memoir, The Grace of Silence. From 1993 to 2002, Norris was a Washington correspondent for ABC News. Earlier in her career, she also worked as a staff writer for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.
“We couldn’t be more delighted to recognize Michele Norris with our first Gwen Ifill Award,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the IWMF. “Beyond being an exceptional journalist whose work has educated and illuminated minds across the U.S., she’s been a stellar mentor to countless other women journalists, including young women of color.”
Candidates for the award were evaluated on criteria that included their record of outstanding achievement in journalism, and the extent to which they represent the values Ifill embodied, including in the areas of mentorship, leadership and commitment to diversity in journalism.
Norris has received numerous accolades for her work, including a 2013 Peabody Award in electronic communications for The Race Card Project, for turning a pejorative phrase into productive dialogue on a difficult topic. She has also been named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and earned both an Emmy Award and Peabody Award for her contribution to ABC News’ coverage of 9/11.
Norris will accept the Gwen Ifill Award at the IWMF’s Courage in Journalism Awards ceremonies taking place in New York City on October 18, and in Washington, D.C. on October 23.
The IWMF is also developing a corresponding program around the Gwen Ifill Award to support journalism students and women journalists of color working in the news media.
Now in its 28th year, the IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards celebrate women journalists who set themselves apart through extraordinary bravery. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors one woman who has set new standards for journalists and encourages future generations of reporters to find their voices.
In addition to honoring Norris with the Gwen Ifill Award, the IWMF’s 2017 Courage in Journalism Awards will honor: Deborah Amos (USA), Middle East reporter for National Public Radio (NPR) News; Saniya Toiken (Kazakhstan), a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; and Hadeel al-Yamani (Yemen), the first woman to become an Al Jazeera Arabic (AJA) television correspondent in Yemen. Andrea Mitchell, a leading reporter at NBC News for nearly 40 years, who currently serves as the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, will be recognized with the IWMF’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Stephanie Sinclair, winner of the 2017 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Awards will also be recognized at the Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
Funds raised at the events sustain IWMF programs and grants that empower women journalists with the training, opportunities and support to become leaders in the news industry, including direct support for the IWMF’s Emergency Fund, which supports female journalists in crisis.
More information on the IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards and a complete list of past winners can be found here. Follow event announcements on social media via #IWMFcourage.
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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. Follow IWMF on Twitter: @IWMF; Facebook: @IWMFpage; and Instagram: @theIWMF.