Janine di Giovanni


Janine di Giovanni has witnessed more than 15 conflicts and humanitarian disasters and shared them with the world. Her first war reporting was out of the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank during the first Palestinian Intifada, where she documented the impact of war on civilians. Since then, di Giovanni has covered conflict zones in Syria, Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Liberia, Chechnya, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Burundi, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Guinea, Palestine, Iran, Libya, Jamaica, Pakistan, India, Yemen, and more. “I saw a photograph that changed my life completely. It was a photograph of a Palestinian youth being buried alive by Israeli soldier with a bulldozer full of sand. I realized then there were things happening in parts of the world that I knew nothing about. ‘[While I was in Israel] I interviewed a human rights lawyer, Felicia Langer, who basically changed my life. She showed me that in some ways, as a reporter you have an obligation to bear witness to events that are happening, especially those of intense human rights violations, and crimes against humanity against civilians.” Di Giovanni’s coverage of the effects of conflict on noncombatants has included reporting on women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, war crimes, child soldiers, illegal detention, and crimes against humanity. When reporting, di Giovanni embeds with locals and often works independently without support. This lends itself to her empathic, rooted coverage of her trademark topic: the human cost of war. Di Giovanni’s commitment to civilians experiencing conflict—especially those forgotten by much of the Western world—is stark. In 2000, she was one of the few foreign reporters to witness the fall of Grozny, Chechnya. She travelled with the Kosovo Liberation Army during the war in Kosovo. She was one of the only journalists in Freetown, Sierra Leone, when it fell to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). And the list goes on. “Journalism is still one of the most noble professions that you could possibly do. You won’t earn a lot of money, you’ll often have great frustrations and crises along the way but it is an extraordinary field where you’re really able to shine a light into the darkest corners of the world.” Currently, Janine di Giovanni is the Middle East Editor of Newsweek and contributing editor of Vanity Fair. Di Giovanni is also a Pakis Fellow at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy. She is the author of The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria (2016), Ghost by Daylight: A Modern-Day Correspondent’s Memoir of Love, Loss, and Redemption (2013), and Madness Visible: A Memoir of War (2005). She has won four major awards: the National Magazine Award (United States), two Amnesty International Awards (Sierra Leone and Bosnia), Grenada Television What the Papers Say Foreign Correspondent of the Year Award (United Kingdom), and now, the 2016 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award. Follow on Twitter: @janinedigi

IWMF Awards
Reporting Locations