“But what about the corruption?”
This is invariably the first question people ask me when we start discussing international development. And my first answer is always, “a free press.”
Of course a truly free global press requires more than just the political freedom to investigate and publish whatever suits a news organization’s fancy. It also depends on the financial support of journalists and journalism projects. It means moving the best journalists around the globe regularly to report on important issues, it means paying them a living wage so they’re not living on Ramen and worrying about how to buy their kids’ school supplies and it means having a support network in place to act as a watchdog for their industry and a safety net when things go wrong.
In the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is, this Giving Tuesday I’ll be making monetary donations to some of my favorite organizations who do all of the above. Some of them I’ve been fortunate enough to work with in the past, others I hope to work with in the future and still others I simply admire for the work that they do.
If you too are looking for ways to make your dollars really count this holiday season here’s a short list of places to make that happen:
Training, Grants and Fellowships
Organizations that provide grants, fellowships and training opportunities are an invaluable part of the modern journalism industry. I’ve personally benefitted from a 2013 Fellowship to Tanzania with the The International Reporting Project, and can vouch for the quality of their programming. Other well-respected organizations include The Global Investigative Journalism Network, The International Center for Journalists and the The Pulitzer Center.
Independent Non-Profit Outlets
Directly funding the production of specific projects, either for a specific outlet such as Humanosphere, or through a crowdfunding platform such as Beacon Reader is also a great way to support individual journalists. Right now a $3 million grant will make your dollars go twice as far at Beacon Reader when you support projects looking at immigration in the U.S.
Hybrid organizations that both produce content for themselves and their partners as well as funding grants and fellowships are also a good option. Reveal News at The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Ground Truth Project are tried and true options here.
Accountability and Emergency Support
And last but certainly not least, while Reporters without Borders and The International Women’s Media Foundation Emergency Fund may not directly support the production of specific projects, both serve indispensable functions within the industry, acting as a watchdog and safety net. Reporters without Borders actively monitors attacks on press freedom around the world, and the IWMF’s emergency fund offers shorter financial support to working journalists in the case of mental, physical or other crisis directly related to their work.
*Photo: Fellow 2013 IRP Tanzania Fellow and Brazilian journalist Patricia Campos-Mello interviews a woman at a One Acre site in the Arusha region of Tanzania with the help of Tanzanian journalist and fixer Erick Kabendera.