Stories Driving Diversity

2023 Impact Report

A word from our executive director

It seems that every year we say our work is more needed than ever. In the last five years alone, four in five people worldwide have reported a decline in press freedom - just as 44 countries ratify policies targeting freedom of expression online.

From physical and online violence to state-sponsored threats, armed conflicts and natural disasters, real risks endanger reporters everywhere, and women and nonbinary journalists are disproportionately impacted.

For democracy to thrive, we need journalism to survive. Large newsrooms have resources to protect journalists operating in challenging environments. But ahead of the 40+ elections worldwide in 2024, including the U.S. presidential elections, it's local news media that needs our support.

The good news: the IWMF is on it.

Across 74+ countries including the United States, the IWMF has equipped 840+ journalists with tools, training, and grants that advance press freedom and support diverse reporting.

As one of the largest non-profit providers of safety training, we offer global, identity-informed support for newsrooms and journalists adapted to local and individual contexts. The IWMF's “wrap around” approach addresses digital and physical safety as well as mental health.

Among our many achievements in 2023, we are proud to have:

Your support drives the IWMF's impact.

We must work together to make journalism relevant and trusted, again. When women and nonbinary journalists can operate safely in challenging environments, and when we invest in diverse reporting, we are supporting press freedom and democracy. And we're all better for it.

From us all at the IWMF, thank you for being a part of this journey.

Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director

More than ever,
malicious voices are working to silence journalists and obstruct democratic principles. With your support, the IWMF has been an unwavering partner in breaking barriers so women and nonbinary journalists can do their jobs.

Let's review our footprint in 2023:


Emergency Funding

In 2023, the IWMF provided


in emergency funding to 194 journalists from 34 countries.

I appreciate your support and commitment to assisting journalists in times of emergency; both the training and the programs are a great contribution to our work. Personally, they make me feel like part of a community, and thanks to your contribution, I have been able to continue working and training."

Cristina Chiquin, Freelancer from Guatemala who received support through the Emergency Fund.

Advocacy spotlight

We demanded the immediate release of:

Xueqin (Sophia) Huang

A Chinese freelance journalist and the IWMF's 2022 Wallis Annenberg Justice for Women Journalists Award winner. Sophia was forcibly detained by the Chinese government in Sept. 2021.

Victoria Roshchyna

A Ukrainian freelance journalist and 2022 Courage in Journalism Award winner. Victoria was last seen on Aug. 3, 2023, reporting from a Russia-occupied territory.

We applauded:

The release of Iranian journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi after 17 months of wrongful detention for their reporting on protests following the death of 22-year-old Iranian activist Mahsa Amini.

Journalists Lost in Gaza

The Israel-Gaza war marks modern journalism's deadliest conflict. Since Oct. 7th, 2023, and as of April 23rd, 2024

97 journalists have been killed

in the Israel-Gaza war: that's one in 10 reporters in the region. Losing their voices means losing frontline witnesses.

Since the war's start, we've demanded the protection of journalists and press freedom, alike. And we won't stop until journalists can report from Israel and Gaza without their lives on the line.


Democracy cannot survive without quality local news – and local news cannot survive without journalists at the fore.

But to get there, journalists need to feel safe to do their jobs.

News Safety Cohort

In partnership with 16 media organizations worldwide, the IWMF's nine-month News Safety Cohort training equipped newsroom staff to prepare for and deal with online attacks.

We want to make sure we're prepared to combat online surveillance and targeted attacks on members of the media from both the government and online fascist communities. The risks are escalating for everyone, and we need a more holistic approach.

Brandon Quester, Founder, Executive Director/Editor, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Rappler Trainings

Philippine-based Rappler's in-depth reporting on political affairs and social issues goes where most newspapers in the country won't: Taking critical stances on the President's war on drugs and documenting human rights abuses. As Rappler staff share, in the Philippines, unearthing the truth is a dangerous job.

That's why the IWMF and global foundation Luminate trained 43 Rappler newsroom staff and freelance journalists to protect and prevent on- and offline attacks that attempt to silence their journalism. Rappler continues to investigate the country's political and social affairs - solidifying its place as a credible new source in today's digital age.

Newsroom Safety Across America

We're bringing the IWMF's groundbreaking journalism safety training to local newsrooms across U.S. swing states.

The program, launched ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential election, offers newsroom staff customized training on risk assessment, personal security, legal protection, mental health care, and more.

The scenarios you created were extremely realistic for journalism and smartly rendered. I feel like we covered a week's worth of in-depth training and it has stuck with me. I'd recommend your courses to anyone looking for a comprehensive training program for their newsroom.”

News Safety Across America Participant


Since 2014, the IWMF has organized

50+ HEFATs

(Hostile Environment and First Aid Trainings)

reaching 890 journalists.

learn more about the IWMF’s singular, groundbreaking safety training for journalists worldwide

Mental Health

In 2023:

The IWMF partnered with the Dart Center to support the Journalist Trauma Support Network:

27 journalists across 7 states engaged in 20 free therapy sessions each.

100% of participants stayed with their therapists, from intake to their final session.

I absolutely would not have been able to afford six months of weekly therapy without JTSN. I was able to deal with immediate work stress and learn strategies that will help me in the future.


Translated our mental health guide into Farsi to support journalists in Iran.

Released the Coalition Against Online Violence (CAOV) Mapping Report, detailing the and offering future recommendations for digital safety strategies used by CAOV’s 85 (and growing) member organizations.

With the CAOV, funded several key initiatives to combat online abuse, with the support of Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
These initiatives include:

These projects reflect our commitment to addressing and mitigating the impact of online violence through strategic support and partnerships.


by the numbers 2023

We're increasing our footprint - showing up where, when, and how journalists and newsrooms need us the most.

In 2023, we provided:

$2.4M+ in direct support to 480+ journalists
$810K+ in reporting grants to 270 journalists
$382.7K+ in emergency funding to 194+ journalists

We expanded how we recognize, train, and mentor journalists:

143 fellowships
6 awards
814 journalists and 38 newsrooms received vital safety training
85+ international organizations added to CAOV

But it's our fellows and grantees we're most proud of:

270+ stories
140+ global, national, and local news outlets
814 national and international awards

And, in 2023, we increased our disbursed grants to


up from $637K+ in 2022.

press spotlight

Our organization's voice is also being noticed:

25+ live engagements

Major outlets covered the IWMF's 2023 Courage in Journalism Award, including:

  • MSNBC's Morning Joe, featuring Courage Award recipients, Iranian photojournalist Yalda Moaiery and the Washington Post's Siobhán O'Grady, alongside IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz.
  • The Washington Post, recognizing the outlet's journalists awarded for their reporting in Ukraine.
  • Ms. Magazine, including an article with statements from Elisa, and an IWMF-bylined post honoring each award recipient.
  • The New Arab, spotlighting Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who received the award posthumously.
  • The Telegraph, highlighting Iranian political activist and photojournalist Yalda Moaiery.
  • CNN, showcasing photographs by photojournalists who had received the award from 2005 through 2023.

Other milestones that have, and continue, to make an impact:

  • Partnered with Ms. Magazine to launch the "Feminist Journalism is Essential to Democracy" microsite.
  • Ran an ad in The Washington Post demanding the release of Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, Iranian journalists who were sentenced to death and later released on bail. The digital ad garnered 12.5K views, making it the most popular advocacy statement on the WaPo's Press Freedom Partnership feed, to date.
  • Secured a placement in Voice of America, featuring IWMF Deputy Executive Director Nadine Hoffman calling on online platforms to “do a better job” in clamping down on online attacks against journalists.
  • Enabled 120 journalists in Latin America to report on gender and sexual diversity, thanks to funding from Foundation for a Just Society for the IWMF's ¡Exprésate! LGBTQI+ and Women's Rights Reporting Initiative.

The Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists (FWJ)

Change won't happen in echo chambers.

That's why we invest in local, diverse journalists so they can take the time to develop comprehensive investigations that hold power to account.

Investigating the Human Cost of Empire

Alongside The New York Times Magazine, and through the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists, we invested $40,000 to bring award-winning international correspondent, freelancer, and NYC-based IWMF alum Sarah Topol's stories of “the human cost of empire” to life.

The result?
  • 2 scheduled stories in the NYT Magazine; Sarah's first story, “The America That Americans Forgot” (July 2023), presents a heartfelt, investigative feature about the U.S. expanding its military presence in Guam and other Pacific territories at the expense of its most ignored citizens. Sarah's second story will run in 2024.
  • 1 article read during NYT The Daily's Sunday Read.
  • 250K+ views on the @NYTimes's Twitter/X post promoting the story.
The America That Americans Forget screenshot
The NYT The Daily's Sunday Read screenshot

Exposing Racism in Maternity Clinics

In South Africa, and with the IWMF's support, Zimbabwean journalist Kimberly Mutandiro investigated healthcare clinics denying immigrant women prenatal and maternal healthcare. Her reporting first ran in GroundUp News, with major African-based outlets, including AllAfrica, News24, and the DailyMaverick republishing the piece.

The story landed on the desk of the South Africa Department of Health (DOH); in the time since, the DOH has adapted policies to ensure no country clinics turn any woman away from their maternity centers.

Exposing how extractivism endangers Indigenous peoples' lives and lands

In Bolivia, agro-extractivist projects threaten Indigenous people's livelihoods, their lands, and their natural reserves. Co-Founder and Executive Director of Bolivia-based magazine Verdad con Tinta Mercedes Bluske Moscoso set out to unearth the story.

Through the IWMF's support, Mercedes developed three stories to expose harmful land practices, while centering the needs and priorities of Indigenous peoples across three Bolivian contexts - Santa Cruz, home to the Chiquitania tribe; La Paz, in the Uchupiamonas town; and Tarija, home to nature reserves that oil companies seek to explore, all with the government's blessing.

Mercedes' reporting moved grassroots advocates to magnify the findings within the public domain, with activists issuing statements against government sanctioning of deforestation.

IWMF has helped me to conduct more in-depth research; IWMF's support backs me up to other organizations so that they also trust my work.”

Mercedes Buske Moscoso, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Verdad con Tinta

Award-Winning Journalism

From El Salvador to Sri Lanka, IWMF-funded stories center the diversity of experiences beyond the mainstream narrative. We're proud of the recognition our journalists continue to receive.

Imelda is Not Alone

IWMF fellow Paula Heredia captures the story of Imelda Cortez and a citizen movement defending women who are persecuted by the total ban on abortion in El Salvador.

Fellow: Paula Heredia

Outlet: Unitel Pictures

Winner: Audience Award at Florida Film Festival, Best Short Documentary Award at Cine las Americas, Silver Remi Award at 45th Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival Sozialak Award at Cine Invisible Festival Internacional.

Imelda Is Not Alone shows the triumph of the passions of many feminist organizations and their relentless dedication to women's rights.”

I loved my job but didn't want to work under the military regime.

Myanmar's refugee doctors battle growing needs

IWMF fellows Makepeace Sitlhou and Ninglun Hanghal report on the plight of Myanmar refugees in Mizoram, India, following the 2021 military coup in Myanmar. Refugees face a healthcare system overwhelmed by the influx from Myanmar, where thousands have fled military violence. The medical needs of the refugee population in Mizoram, particularly in border areas like Zokhawthar, are dire. The report underscores the critical role of community support and makeshift clinics in attempting to fill the vast healthcare gap.

Fellows: Makepeace Sitlhou and Ninglun Hanghal

Outlet: The New Humanitarian

Winner: Mumbai Press Club Red Ink Awards

the match

IWMF Grantee Bhavya Dore's investigative reporting follows the journeys of Europeans adopted from Sri Lanka as children who return to seek their birth mothers. Dore delves into personal stories of reunion and the often harrowing paths to finding one's roots, set against a backdrop of broader systemic issues and historical context of adoption practices in Sri Lanka.

Fellow: Bhavya Dore

Outlet: Fifty Two

Finalist: SOPA (Society of Publishers in Asia) Awards

He often wondered what his life would have been like had he stayed in Sri Lanka. In his teens, the questions gnawed at him further: who was he, and where had he come from?

Something just broke inside of me.”

Walking Reminders of Atrocities

In Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko seemed to be losing his grip on power. And for the first time since Lukashenko's 1994 election, people in Belarus “dared to believe that change was possible.” But as IWMF fellows Olga Loginova and Ottavia Spaggiari report, that hope was violently crushed the day Lukashenko won reelection.

Fellows: Olga Loginova and Ottavia Spaggiari

Outlet: Al Jazeera

Shortlisted: Fetisov Journalism Award (Contribution to Civil Rights)


Global Health Reporting: Africa & Latin America

In 2023, the IWMF's Global Health Reporting Initiative (GHRI) expanded in scope; alongside public health experts, GHRI journalists debunked disinformation around vaccines and immunizations, beyond COVID-19. Because we know: If local news is the seed of democracy, then health reporting is the foundation of a healthier society.

By the numbers:

  • 33 journalists trained across 24 African and Caribbean countries
  • Connected trainees to 30 local and global public health sources
  • 25 articles published
  • 23 stories focused on HPV vaccines

The IWMF grant allowed me to write a story that probably would have never been written and gave dialysis patients an opportunity for their voices to be heard. It allowed me to delve into health reporting, something I've never done before but would love to do again.”

Natalee Legore, Freelance Journalist, Trinidad and Tobago

Reproductive Rights Reporting

The IWMF equips journalists worldwide to stay the course: Holding governments accountable and keeping citizens informed in the fight for reproductive rights.

We supported:


"Imelda is Not Alone," a film by Emmy Award-winning director Paula Heredia, documenting the battle for reproductive justice in El Salvador.

  • 5 film festival screenings
  • 4 awards won


Three Texas Tribune reporters - Eleanor Klibanoff, Pooja Salhotra, and Sneha Dey - to publish three pieces elevating stories of rural Texans affected by the state's abortion ban, limits on contraceptive products and information, and maternity care deserts. The stories garnered 168K+ total views on The Texas Tribune as well as third-party outlets that circulated the features.

Last week, I read a story about the local county hospital joining the 60% of rural Texas hospitals that no longer deliver babies. Mothers in rural areas now face hour-long drives for basic services. We should not leave this session without a firm commitment to reversing this trend.

Speaker of the Texas House, Rep. Dade Phelan

Women & Politics

Violence and threats on- and offline disproportionately target women journalists. These efforts have one goal: Drive women out of the public space.

We've got one response: Not on our watch.

In partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), we convened women in politics and women in news media to combat violence through safety planning, training, and coalition building. In 2023 (the program's third year), the IWMF and NDI:

  • Expanded the program to include Guatemala and Liberia
  • Facilitated 8 trainings across Guatemala, Liberia, and Sri Lanka
  • Provided 29 storytelling grants that led to 18 stories about the intersection of women and politics in Guatemala and Liberia

We, as journalists, downplay [the threats and risks] a lot. Misinformation and disinformation is very prevalent, especially around elections.”

NDI Liberia Participant

IWMF on the Global Stage

In 2023, we presented at 11 global convenings:

  • Asian American Journalists Association Conference
  • Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum
  • UN Commission on the Status of Women
  • International Journalism Festival
  • Italian Embassy in the United States
  • Online News Association Conference
  • RightsCon
  • The United States State Department
  • The Meteor Live
  • Vital Voices Global Headquarters



Laurence Geai

French Photojournalist


Yunghi Kim

Korean American Photojournalist

Honorable Mention

Veronique de Viguerie

French Photojournalist

Honorable Mention


IWMF Courage in Journalism
Award Winners

For this year's Courage Award winners… their existence as truth tellers amid a sea of disinformation and public, state-sanctioned efforts to silence their voices is a true act of bravery. The IWMF is honored to recognize these women working tirelessly, and collaboratively, to reveal truths otherwise untold.

Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director, IWMF

María Teresa Montaño Delgado

Mexican Investigative Journalist

Shireen Abu Akleh

(posthumous award)

Palestinian-American Broadcast Journalist


The Washington Post was the first American news organization to establish a Ukraine bureau – with women journalists reporting at the frontline of the Russia-Ukraine war:

Wallis Annenberg Justice for Women Journalists Award Winner

Yalda Moaiery

Iranian Photojournalist


IWMF Gwen Ifill Award

Karen Grigsby Bates

Founding Member, NPR reporter and best-selling author

Over her 20+ years at NPR, Karen Gigsby Bates reported on race and identity, amplifying stories of Black women and marginalized communities. Prior to NPR, Bates worked as People Magazine's West Coast bureau - covering stories from the Columbine, CO massacre to 9/11's West Coast victims - and served as a correspondent for TIME Magazine and a contributing columnist to the Los Angeles Times. Bates co-authored “Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times,” a best-selling etiquette book focused through an African American lens.

My advice to young women of color in today's journalism industry? Don't leave a single stone unturned.

Karen Grigsby Bates


Kari Howard Fund for Narrative Journalism Grantees

Storytelling editor Kari Howard believed that narrative journalism combined the poetry of fiction with journalism's strongest power: Speaking truth to power. The Fund's inaugural grantees reflect the spirit of Howard's work.

Romita Saluja

Through her writing, independent journalist Romita Saluja explores themes of gender, development, health, labor, and human rights. Saluja's work has run in The Washington Post, BBC, The Guardian, and Foreign Policy, among other global news outlets. She is based in New Delhi, India.


Jess McHugh

Author and freelance journalist Jess McHugh writes about culture, history, and identity. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Paris Review Daily, TIME, and The Guardian, among others. McHugh is based in Paris, France.

learn more about Jess McHugh

2023 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow

Gabriela Sá Pessoa

Brazil-based Gabriela Sá Pessoa a freelance journalist, reporting on stories about human rights violations and environmental crimes in and around the Amazon. As part of the Elizabeth Neuffer fellowship, Sá Pessoa reported on Ukraine for The New York Times.


Women and nonbinary journalists out there: apply for the fellowship. I wish you the same opportunity to learn in revolutionary ways.”

Kim Wall Memorial Fund Grantees

The IWMF announced the 2023 Kim Wall Memorial Fund grantees on what would have been Swedish journalist Kim Wall's 36th birthday.

Mahima A. Jain

Freelance reporter and editorial consultant Mahima A. Jain reports on inequality and social injustice, elevating narratives of underrepresented groups. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, BBC, Foreign Policy, The Caravan, among other international and Indian publications. Jain is based in Bengaluru, India.


Erin O'Brien

Freelance journalist and editor Erin O'Brien documents the impact of violence and conflict. She writes for a range of publications including Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, War on the Rocks, and The New York Times. O'Brien is based in Istanbul, Turkey.


The Lauren Brown Fellowship

Arin Yoon

Korean American freelance photojournalist, documentary photographer, and visual artist Arin Yoon centers her reporting on the U.S. military, families and women, and representation and identity. Her work has appeared in publications including the National Geographic, Reuters, ProPublica, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the 19th News.


Deepa Shivaram

NPR political reporter Deepa Shivaram covers domestic and international breaking news, and has reported on stories about climate change, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's resignation, the Afghan refugee crisis, the Tokyo Olympic games, and Asian American representation on screen.


Inés Rénique

Inés Rénique is a freelance audio journalist, with focus areas in immigration and gender issues. Previously she was a producer at VICE, producing El hilo, a weekly Spanish-language podcast covering global news with a focus on Latin America.


Lillian E. Agosto Maldonado

Lillian E. Agosto Maldonado is an award-winning independent journalist, digital strategist, and university professor. She is the founder and editor of Mundos Paralelos, a digital magazine that portrays Puerto Rican identity in the world.

learn More about Lillian E. Agosto Maldonado

In Memoriam

Liliane Pierre-Paul

During the 1980s, Liliane Pierre-Paul earned a reputation as one of the most outspoken critics of the Duvalier regime through her work as a reporter for Radio Haiti International. Pierre-Paul was the first IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner from Haiti.

Leda Hartman

Leda Hartman was an award-winning journalist who edited for IWMF's Round Earth Media (REM) program and documentary specials for NPR, one of which received a Peabody Award.

Alicia “Lisa” Shepard

Lisa Shepard was an award-winning media critic, journalist and former NPR ombudsman. Her career also included time at the San Jose Mercury News, the BBC, The American Journalism Review, and The Newseum, as well as authoring a book on the Watergate Scandal. Lisa supported the IWMF as a staff consultant in 2019.

Joachim Wall

Joachim Wall was a Swedish photojournalist and father of journalist Kim Wall, who was killed in 2017 while reporting in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wall and his wife Ingrid, in addition to other family members, set up the Kim Wall Memorial Fund to support brave women journalists worldwide.

Stephen Douglas

Stephen Douglas was an award-winning Canadian journalist and author. His career began photographing South African apartheid and the Rwandan genocide. In 2009, Douglas moved to Sierra Leone to ensure free and fair press. He dedicated himself to coaching reporters and students and volunteering at local newsrooms. As an IWMF Grantee Stephen participated in the Global Health Reporting Initiative in Sierra Leone.

Board and Financials

Thank you to our Board of Directors!

Suzanne Malveaux


Malveaux Global Media, LLC

Linda Douglass


Jennifer Reingold

Co-Vice Chair

World 50, INC.

Jessica Oppenheim

Co-Vice Chair

Bank of America

Eric Harris



Greta Williams

Legal Counsel

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Andrea Mitchell


Cindi Leive

The Meteor

Craig Newmark

Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Hannah Allam

The Washington Post

Ingrid Ciprián-Matthews

CBS News

Jim Brady

Knight Foundation

Kerry Smith

ABC News

Kristine Coratti Kelly


Lauren Williams

Capital B

Matt Winkler

Bloomberg News

Norah O'Donnell


Rafat Ali


René Jones

United Talent Agency

Stephanie Kauffman

Melanoma Research Alliance

Tara Kangarlou

Award-Winning Journalist, Author and Humanitarian

Versha Sharma

Teen Vogue

New members in 2023 — welcome!

Jim Brady

Knight Foundation

Tara Kangarlou

Award-Winning Journalist, Author and Humanitarian