International Women’s Day Featured Partner – Global Press
During weeks of upheaval and crisis around the world, we’ve seen the critical role of free and independent press to shape the public’s understanding of the world around them. What is also deeply consequential are the choices made every day of the stories that are told and who is telling them. On this International Women’s Day, we are honored to share the work of Global Press, a newsroom building an innovative business model, robust duty of care practices, and grounded in a commitment to women in journalism telling the stories that affect the lives of their communities.
Humanity United (HU): Can you tell us about Global Press?
Global Press (GP): Global Press is building a more informed and inclusive world by building and maintaining women-led news bureaus in some of the world’s most challenging places.
Global Press operates independent news bureaus in more than 40 communities across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Our journalism is transforming access to accurate information for people who live in news deserts, under authoritarian regimes and in places where mis and disinformation are on the rise, like the U.S. Our global reporting team, all local women who are from the communities they cover, work exclusively for Global Press Journal, our award-winning, multilingual publication. Here, reporters decide which stories are most important to tell. They work with editors, fact checkers, translators and copy editors to produce accurate, world-class features and investigative journalism. Thanks to a robust distribution strategy that offers local language and English versions of stories to our network of local and international partners, our stories reach our target audiences of underserved, underrepresented, and hard-to-reach people all over the world.
HU: Why is it important that your journalists are women telling the stories inside their own communities? What makes the Global Press model of journalism unique?
GP: We know that there is an evidence-based correlation between who works in a newsroom and who is quoted in stories. That means that a lack of diversity in newsrooms contributes to the lack of holistic and equitable storytelling about the world.
Two thirds of all international news is reported by men. And just 24% of all news sources are women.
Women are underrepresented in the field of journalism in nearly every country on earth. And when women do work in journalism, they typically receive less pay than their male counterparts and are often limited to writing about lifestyle or fashion. These factors contribute to the dearth of women featured and quoted in stories, resulting in news stories that do not accurately represent experts and newsmakers in global communities.
So, at Global Press, we’ve created a model that intentionally eliminates specific barriers to entry, from race and gender to socioeconomic status, inviting teams of representative journalists into positions of prominence, covering their communities for Global Press Journal’s local and international audiences. As a result, we’re able to tell accurate, inclusive stories that allow people to recognize themselves in our stories.
HU: In a fast-paced world with multiple pressures on reporters, how do you ensure the strength and resilience of Global Press?
GP: At Global Press, we designed a Duty of Care program to meet the specific needs of local women journalists, for whom extraction is not an option. This requires an interconnected security system that prioritizes physical, emotional, digital and legal security.
Global Press’ Duty of Care program is now widely recognized as the industry’s leading Duty of Care program for local journalists. In 2020, it received the Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Award from the American Psychiatric Association. In 2021, it was honored by SOS International in the “remote resilience” category.
Duty of Care is implemented in three distinct ways: training (20%), day-to-day protocols (75%) and crisis response (5%).
Duty of Care is alive in our employee handbooks, editorial policies, communication tools and daily operations to keep reporters safe and healthy in a wide range of global circumstances. Our reporters live full-time in the communities they report on, which means they might face violent clashes among armed groups (Democratic Republic of Congo), runaway inflation that impoverishes them overnight (Zimbabwe), or a blanket internet shutdown that cuts them off from the outside world (Indian-Administered Kashmir).
For us, it’s not enough for our journalists to just be unharmed, we want them to be well. We know that journalists experience extremely high rates of trauma, stress and anxiety. Yet, mental health conversations are still taboo in the news industry and mental health resources are limited in many Global Press coverage communities. So, we built the Global Press Wellness Network, a group of licensed mental health practitioners who provide language-appropriate counseling for our team of reporters. Sessions are free and unlimited. In 2019, half of our reporters took advantage of counseling sessions. In 2021, 85% of our team used the service.
HU: What are some of the stories we should know about?
GP: Global Press Journal is the award-winning, multilingual publication of Global Press. Our stories defy global stereotypes and allow readers everywhere to better understand the world and their places in it.
Here’s a great example of a story that sparked tangible social change in Mongolia last year: Students Revolt Against Virginity Tests. Watch the impact timeline video too.
This is a great representation of how we defy stereotypes: The Village that Ditched the Drug Trade for Tourism.
And many of our stories reflect global trends – like a decline in reproductive health access during the pandemic or societies struggling against police brutality. The beautiful thing about Global Press Journal stories is that by reading stories from other parts of the world, people are able to see their own realities with fresh eyes and learn from solutions being implemented elsewhere. Here are two recent examples from last month: Bitter Brew: Pandemic Spurs Unsafe Abortions (Zambia) and As Uganda Fights Terrorism, Citizens Blame Police Violence (Uganda).
HU: What changes do you see for the industry over the coming years?
GP: We have seen so many changes over the last two years. Under the coalescing crises of public health and systemic racism, more readers have begun questioning systems of power, including those that have long relegated diverse voices in journalism. We’re seeing a huge influx in readership in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world as people have new awareness of who tells the story and why that matters. We are hopeful that this trend will continue and that readers and media outlets will turn away from parachute journalism – the brand of foreign correspondence that drops outsiders with little knowledge of place or language into global communities for a few days, usually in times of crisis. In its place, local journalists across the world are ready to provide nuanced, insightful coverage of our rapidly changing world.
Here’s an animated explainer of parachute journalism.
HU: How can people support and read your work?
GP: Support our work: https://www.globalpress.co/donate
Read our journalism and subscribe to our Monday newsletter: https://globalpressjournal.com/
Follow Global Press on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.