May 16, 2016 – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is proud to announce the first group of 2016 grantees for Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.
Fifteen women journalists were selected from a strong pool of 400 applicants representing media projects based in over 95 countries.
IWMF Grantees of the Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists, 2016 Round 1:Sabra Ayres is an American freelance journalist whose reporting focuses on Europe and the former Soviet Union. Ayres has reported from Afghanistan, India, Europe, and the United States; her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera America, the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The New Republic, and more. Ayres was a 2015 Kathryn Davis Fellow at Middlebury College’s Davis School of Russian and a 2005 Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Germany.The IWMF has funded Ayres’s current project reporting on Kremlin soft power tactics used in Europe and Russia’s perceived sphere of influence.
Meredith Hoffman is an American freelance journalist whose reporting focuses on immigration and multimedia storytelling. Hoffman is a regular contributor for VICE and has also written for the New York Times, Slate, Tablet Magazine, and World Policy Journal. The IWMF has funded Hoffman’s collaboration with Sarah Kuck, a filmmaker and journalist whose reporting focuses on ideas of culture and place, global mobility, and community. Hoffman and Kuck will be traveling to Honduras to shoot a documentary about women and children who have recently been deported after migrating to the U.S. to seek asylum. Their project will call attention to the ongoing refugee crisis facing tens of thousands of families who have recently fled gang violence and skyrocketing murder rates in the Northern Triangle and been met with detention and deportation by the U.S. government.
Nishat Kurwa is an American radio journalist and Senior Producer for Digital at Marketplace, where she develops content and strategy across the Marketplace website and distributed media, podcasts, and partner sites. The IWMF has funded Kurwa’s independent creation of Talk Story, a weekly newsletter that highlights selected media and literary gems and features her interviews with “dynamic women who rule”. The newsletter will be principally focused on talented women of color entrepreneurs, artists, and leaders around the U.S. and the world.
Fabiola Torres López is a Peruvian investigative journalist whose reporting focuses on digital journalism and data. López is co-founder and editor of OjoPublico, an independent, non-profit newsroom based in Lima. In 2014, López led OjoPúblico’s data team in conceiving Cuentas Juradas (Sworn accounts), the first news app to analyze the evolution of assets of public officers based on their affidavits. She is co-founder of Hacks/Hackers Lima. The IWMF has funded López’s current project, The Stolen Memory Project, which is the first journalistic investigation into the International Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods based on big data and will employ a mix of investigative journalism, programming and data analysis.
Anja Matthes is a German photojournalist based in New York whose reporting focuses on documentary photography of marginalized groups. Matthes’s work has been published in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Bombay Times, and Platform Magazine, among many others. Her multimedia exhibition about LGBTQ youth of color, Out-Sight-In In-Sight-Out, was exhibited at Open Source Gallery. The IWMF has funded Matthes’s current project, ‘The House of Bangy Cunts’, which explores the underground NYC Kiki Ballroom scene through a self-organized community of LGBTQ youth of color.
Dalia Mortada is a Syrian-American independent journalist and producer whose reporting focuses on the intersection of Syria’s devolving conflict, the resulting humanitarian crisis, and food. The IWMF has funded Mortada’s current project, Savoring Syria, which will explore the stories of Syrians and Syria through the lens of food: the project uses meals as a means to access tales of bonds and fractures, celebration and mourning, war and displacement and the rebuilding of lives far from home.
Beatrice Obwocha is a Kenyan journalist and Online Subeditor for the Nation Media Group. Previously, she previously worked with Standard Group Limited as a reporter and online subeditor. The IWMF has funded Obwacha’s current project that will educate women journalists in Kenya on online journalism, which will involve in-depth training on writing for the web, multimedia, and social media.
Marine Olivesi is a French independent radio producer whose reporting has focused on upheavals in Tunisia, Libya, and Syria. Olivesi has reported for PRI’s The World and the CBC. Her portrait stories and on-the-ground dispatches have earned her several awards, including the top radio prize at Bayeux War Correspondent Awards in 2013 and the 2014 Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club of America. The IWMF has funded Olivesi’s daily Arabic classes at the Yemen Institute for Arabic Language.
Raven Rakia is an American freelance journalist whose reporting focuses on the U.S. criminal justice system and the environment. Rakia’s work has been published in Vice Magazine, The Nation, Gothamist Grist, Al Jazeera America, and more. The IWMF has funded Rakia’s current project writing a three-part series on the relationship between environmental justice issues and US prisons.
Amanda Rivkin is an American photojournalist. Rivkin’s work has been published in Foreign Policy, Le Monde, The London Sunday Times Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek, TIME and elsewhere. Her recent work, “Sustenance: Chicago and the Food Chain,” has been exhibited at the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, the American Corner in Trieste, and during “Hunger Week” at Loyola University in Chicago. The IWMF has funded Rivkin’s current project documenting the survivors of municipal police torture under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge through portraits and testimonies.
Sarah A. Topol is an American freelance journalist. Topol’s work has been published in the Atlantic, Businessweek, BuzzFeed, GQ, Harper’s, the New Republic, the New York Times, and Politico, among others. Sarah won the 2012 Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism for her coverage of the civil war in Libya. Her writing was featured in Best American Travel Writing 2013. The IWMF has funded Topol’s Spanish studies for two weeks in the Dominican Republic.
Brenda Wambui is a Kenyan journalist whose reporting focuses on creating positive social change through digital media, women empowerment, and entrepreneurship. Wambui is the co-founder and CEO of Brainstorm Africa, an online media organization whose mission is to address the need for critical thought in Kenya and throughout Africa. The IWMF has funded Wambui’s current project, Otherwise?, which is a weekly podcast discussing Kenya’s most important recent news and impact.
The IWMF will open a second round of funding early June. At least $2.3 million will be awarded to grantees over the next 10 years. The opportunities this Fund will empower are critical to transparency, democracy and embracing the diversity of voices reporting across all media platforms. The only prerequisite is that grantees are female journalists working full-time either for a specific media outlet or as a freelancer.
The Fund was established by the IWMF in 2014 with the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to promote the work and advance the contributions of women in the media working around the world.
Learn more about the Fund, sign up for updates, and submit proposals during the application period for future funding rounds here.
Follow the progress of IWMF grantees on Twitter @IWMF, #IWMFfund, #IWMFgrantee.