Foreign reporting experiences can boost journalists’ careers.
Two-thirds of journalism school graduates are women. While many go on to enjoy successful reporting careers, few make it into leadership positions. In 2014, Nieman Reports found that fewer newspapers were being led by women than ever before, and the number of female supervisors — 37 percent — had not budged since the eighties.
Reporting internationally presents its own set of challenges, as journalists navigate security, language and cultural barriers, often in countries with dismal civil rights and legal protections. Nervous editors pass over women reporters for overseas assignments, or may offer them to freelance reporters who lack the same access to training and security resources.
Meanwhile, regions like Latin America and central Africa are home to compelling, career-making stories. That’s why the IWMF runs regular reporting trips there, exclusively for women journalists. Each year, dozens of women are selected from hundreds of applicants for our Adelante or African Great Lakes Reporting Initiatives and gain experience in everything from navigating bureaucracies to accessing the people who make stories rich. Reporting side-by-side with their peers is regarded as one of the many rewarding aspects.
As resources and funding for newsrooms continue to decline, we are working to make sure that female journalists receive the support they need to pursue diverse and underreported stories around the world. Our Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists and Reporting Grants for Women’s Stories offer flexible grants for special projects, and our Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship funds one woman annually to study at MIT and intern at the New York Times and Boston Globe. Supporting women journalists with funding, skills, and opportunities to pursue the stories they want is not only our mission but our passion. A diversity of voices and stories benefits us all and is critical for a truly free press.
“The IWMF fellowship pushed me to sharpen my reporting, second-guess my prejudices, and expand my horizons — all while being supported by the intelligence, leadership, and kindness of IWMF’s facilitators, fixers, and fellow journalists.” Sarah Mojtehedzadeh, IWMF Mexico-U.S. border reporting fellow, April 2016