Meet Global Press - Filling Global News Gaps from the Ground Up With Female Reporters
This innovative journalism network trains, publishes and protects reporters in many of the world's least-covered, most troubled regions
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Our Columbia Climate School Friday news review focused on the work and output of Global Press, a world-spanning journalism network with approaches to training and safeguarding its far-flung reporters that should be the norm everywhere.
Watch my conversation with Cristi Hegranes, the founder, publisher and chief executive officer, and Laxmi Parthasarathy, the chief operating officer. We were joined by Dale Willman, who runs our Resilience Media Project and has done journalism training around the world, most recently at the Center for Excellence in Journalism in Pakistan earlier this spring.
Global Press is a Washington-based organization training, publishing and supporting dozens of female journalists writing and photographing stories in, and for, some of the least-covered communities in the world - from Argentina to Mongolia to Zimbabwe.
The mission is simple:
Global Press exists to create a more just and informed world by training and employing local female journalists to produce ethical, accurate news coverage from the world’s least-covered places.
The methods, honed over 16 years, are exemplary, from the basic journalism training the organization runs for reporters (most of whom are recruited in the regions they file from) to the investment in a "duty of care" program sustaining the physical, legal, digital and emotional security of the team. This is particularly vital for these women, who work where they live and can't be evacuated if trouble erupts.
That innovation just won Global Press a spot as one of 10 finalists in Fast Company's awards for mature businesses with world-changing ideas. Not bad to be on a list with Ford's F-150 Lightning electric pickup and the How to Fight Misinformation Online course built by the United Nations and WikiHow.
My favorite Global Press innovation is the newsroom Style Guide, which is a living document aiming to bolster impact with audiences by guiding usage to maintain the dignity of sources and precision of writing:
Clarity for readers and dignity for sources are prioritized when journalists use precise words and phrases. This clarity allows readers to understand complex global realities.- Global Press Style Guide
As I tweeted recently, the term "style guide" actually doesn't come close to describing the value of this resource. The dynamic aspect of this iterative lexicon helps foster a deeper understanding of the importance of word choices and the harms words can produce if carelessly used.
Two of my favorite examples are the entries for developing and refugee:
Their style guide is one of the inspirations for the "Watchwords" post series I launched recently, in which I'm building conversations and deeper understanding around words in sustainability discourse that have multiple meanings or are used to deceive or divide more than engage.
Global Press is now also offering training in its methods to other newsrooms and organizations - including on how to develop a diversity and inclusion style guide. Find out more here.
If you have time, you can also watch the Sustain What conversation I hosted with Global Press in the early months of the pandemic:
And Global Press Journal just posted an illuminating conversation explaining the reporting and editorial process that produced a compelling recent feature story by Avigaí Silva: The Village That Ditched the Drug Trade for Tourism.
I'm also a huge fan of Earth Journalism Network, which has trained and connected thousands of environment-focused journalists around the world since it was founded in 2004 and also helped nurture the field of mapped and collaborative "geojournalism":
Organizations like Report for America are doing related work in the United States, adding reporters to otherwise-shrinking local newsrooms. One reason I chose to write on this Meta Bulletin platform was the early commitment by the company's news team to invest substantial resources in the many local journalists writing here.
There are many others, including another favorite of mine - If Not Us Then Who, which boosts the storytelling and networking capacities of indigenous and local communities in regions at risk. This is not journalism, but as I've long asserted, journalism is a shrinking wedge of a growing pie of ways to share and shape information and ideas.
Fostering a cooler human relationship with the planet and each other requires all of the above and more.
I'd love to host a future Sustain What webcast to foster some crosstalk and sharing of best practices!
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