Lady Gaga Lends Instagram Account to IWMF in Support of Black Journalists
Star uses platform to feature the Black Journalist Therapy Relief Fund’s support of mental health for frontline reporters
[WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 7, 2020] – On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) will take over international superstar Lady Gaga’s Instagram account to promote the organization’s Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund (BJTRF) to her more than 44 million followers. Amid ongoing protests for racial justice in the U.S., Lady Gaga’s Instagram will feature content from the BJTRF, which provides mental health resources for Black journalists, and calls for action and advocacy on the critical gaps that exist in the space.
In May 2020, journalist Sonia Weiser launched the BJTRF in recognition of the burden newsrooms place on Black journalists to report on racism, often in their own communities, while rarely providing mental health resources. In June 2020, the BJTRF joined the IWMF – the global nonprofit dedicated to breaking barriers for journalists – to expand the fund’s impact and reach.
“The lack of Black journalists in the news industry isn’t a coincidence, and it isn’t a pipeline problem: It’s systemic and it’s institutional,” says BJTRF recipient and journalist, speaker and author A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez. “There are many forces that stop Black journalists from telling our stories. Having support from the BJTRF allowed me to access sessions that made it possible for me to combat that stress.”
Since its founding, the BJTRF has raised more than $230K through individual donations as well as the generous support of Democracy Fund, who recently pledged $150K in support of mental health for Black journalists, a community of news media workers who remain vastly underrepresented in the industry. Even today Black journalists comprise less than 7 percent of newsroom staff and leadership, according to the 2019 ASNE Newsroom Diversity Survey. Black women are particularly underrepresented, making up less than 3 percent of the overall journalism workforce.
“When we discuss civil unrest, systemic racism and police brutality, we need to include the voices of Black journalists,” says IWMF executive director Elisa Lees Muñoz. “At the same time, we have to ensure that Black journalists covering these issues have mental health resources so they can process trauma and continue their critical work. We are forever grateful to Lady Gaga for sharing her platform in support of this mission, and the BJTRF.”
Support for the Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund can be made in two ways: donations can be completed at bit.ly/BJTRF-Donate, and the application for Black journalists of all genders, ages, experience levels and backgrounds can be accessed and shared at bit.ly/BJTRF-Apply.
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About the International Women’s Media Foundation
Founded in 1989, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global non-profit organization that offers emergency support, safety training, reporting opportunities and funding avenues offered specifically for women-identifying journalists. We are making more women’s bylines possible and work tirelessly to ensure a greater diversity of voices represented in the news industry worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, and Instagram on @TheIWMF.
Director of Communications