Meet our 2022 #JournoHeroes

IWMF
6 min readDec 20, 2022

2022 was an incredible year for the IWMF. Through $600,000 in grants to 208 journalists, the IWMF supported 340 bylines by women and nonbinary journalists this year.

Below, meet just a few of our community members who are changing the narrative in news media. Their accomplishments include publishing investigations that prompted government action, taking on career-changing leadership roles, founding diverse coalitions, exposing socioeconomic disparities and much more.

They are our #JournoHeroes.

2022 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow Maham Javaid’s career soared this year. During her time as a fellow, Maham produced stories on the war in Ukraine, mental health, labor rights and more with The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

After completing the fellowship in July, Maham landed a full-time position at The Washington Post’s General Assignment desk.

Salgu Wissmath, a nonbinary Korean American freelance photographer, participated in our 2022 Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program, where journalists from underrepresented backgrounds are paired with leaders in the field to advance their careers.

Salgu is ahead of the curve — they were named AAJA’s Emerging Journalist of the Year this summer!

Mumbai-based freelance journalist Bhavya Dore, a 2021 Kim Wall Memorial Fund grantee, published her feature “The Match” this fall. The story follows European adults who were adopted from Sri Lanka as children who are now searching for their birth mothers.

“[Kim went] after things that are peculiar, unexplored and that lie in the nooks and crannies of beats. Her work was dazzling and fascinating, and that’s what I hope to pursue,” Bhavya said of Kim Wall’s legacy.

Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program fellow Polly Irungu celebrated a career milestone in 2020 when she founded Black Women Photographers. From launching large-scale grants to being hired this year as the first photo editor for the Office of Vice President Kamala Harris (!), Polly is continuing her stream of successes.

Fund for Women Journalists grantees Katia Rejón, Nicole Martin and Zoila Antonio Benito assembled a coalition of 45 communicators from Latin America to create “Cultivate, Distribute, Eat: The route to food sovereignty,” a large-scale project on agriculture systems in Latin America. Reflecting on the grant, they said: “This fund not only made this project possible, but also made the LATAM Coalition stronger to apply to other projects.”

Becoming a photojournalist after a decade as a surgical nurse, Rosem Morton joined our NextGen Safety Trainers program in 2021 with a belief that, “safety knowledge should be part of every journalist’s skill set.”

This year, Rosem helped instill those skills in dozens of journalists as a trainer for the IWMF’s Hostile Environment and First Aid Trainings (HEFATs).

Fund for Women Journalists grantees Makepeace Sitlhou and Ninglun Hanghal produced three in-depth stories on the refugee crisis in Mizoram, the Indian state bordering Myanmar. Their reporting put pressure on authorities to address and escalate challenges that have arisen since Myanmar’s 2021 coup. Makepeace and Ninglun’s coverage also, “helped the issue gain traction in Indian media, with many journalists contacting us for leads or contacts to cover the refugee crisis.”

Award-winning broadcast journalist Antonia Gonzales, a member of the Navajo Nation, has spent her career breaking barriers for Indigenous women in the news media.

Now, she’s expanding the reporting narrative on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit and Transgender People issue as an inaugural grantee of the IWMF’s Fund for Indigenous Journalists.

Photojournalist Jessica Orellana — an ¡Exprésate! grantee — not only published powerful work on obstetric violence, but founded a collective of women photographers as part of her grant work.

To culminate the project, the collective participated in a gathering of women artists sharing work on the theme of motherhood.

Samantha Hogan, a journalist with The Maine Monitor, exposed widespread misconduct by authorities with her Fund for Women Journalists-supported series “Eavesdropping in Maine Jails.”

Since she published the report, Samantha’s work has received three journalism awards from the Institute of Nonprofit News, LION and the Maine Press Association.

Global Health Reporting Initiative fellow Anahí Cazas was the first journalist to accurately investigate and explain an Indigenous group’s hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine.

In response to her reporting, the Bolivian government increased its efforts to educate and vaccinate Indigenous communities.

In a project supported by the Fund for Women Journalists, Buzzfeed News reporters Alison Killing and Megha Rajagopalan investigated the manufacturing behind popular fashion brands in the U.S., finding ties to forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.

As a result of the investigation, “We heard from policymakers that our [story] has informed their work at a time when the U.S. has levied unprecedented sanctions.”

Mélodie and Nathalie Cerin are co-editors of Woy Magazine, a Haitian online media project. Since Summer 2022, they have led IWMF’s “Haitian Perspectives” program, which pairs journalists in Haiti with editors in the U.S. to produce diverse and nuanced reporting on today’s most pressing issues.

“Haitian Perspectives is about seeking truth and delivering reporting from the most foundational source — the people who live the story, here, every day.”

Freelance journalist Sahar Khadjenouri has dreamed about having representation for Indigenous peoples and issues in mainstream media from a young age. As a Fund for Indigenous Journalists grantee, she documented riders participating in the 2022 Indian National Finals Rodeo to share their thoughts and efforts on raising awareness for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls injustice.

Zimbabwean independent journalist Kimberly Mutandiro has spent more than ten years as a journalist because of her, “passion for helping humanity and touching the lives of the most vulnerable people in society.” As a Gender Justice Reporting Initiative fellow, she reported two stories illuminating the healthcare disparity for sex workers in South Africa for Ground Up News — one of South Africa’s most influential online newspapers.

¡Exprésate! fellows Marianne Wasowska, Melissa Del Pozo and Neldy San Martín started Proyecto Matriarcas to share stories of Mexican women developing innovative alternatives to protect themselves and fight against systemic violence.

To them, “The Matriarcas Project means a watershed of how women can tell stories of resistance of women’s participation in social movements and the fight for their rights with a feminist approach.”

We need your help to continue supporting women and nonbinary journalists in 2023. As you plan your year-end giving, please consider a donation to the IWMF to make more diverse bylines possible in the new year.

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IWMF

The International Women's Media Foundation is a DC-based organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of women worldwide.