A Purposeful 2021

Internews reflects on the challenges of 2020 and our commitment to independent media in 2021. By giving reporters tools to report paths out of crises, and working with journalists worldwide to produce essential health coverage, we’re committing to another purpose-led year. 

Looking forward: A New Year’s Letter from Internews CEOs

Immense challenges face us at the start of this new year. Amid so much turmoil – including in democracies and economies whose stability was perhaps once taken for granted – never has the importance and precariousness of independent news and information been clearer. Around the world, journalists are on the frontlines of history, yet are themselves, again and again, targeted for their pursuit of truth.

While clear-eyed about the challenges of the new year, what we feel most when we look back at the work of Internews in 2020 is gratitude and pride.

We are proud of the hundreds of Internews projects that rapidly changed course when COVID-19 altered nearly everything about how we work together, putting trainings and entire conferences online, working from home, meeting outdoors, and overall keeping each other safe. 

We are proud of the experienced health journalists on our team who immediately recognized that communities around the world desperately needed more local health reporting. They got to work: creating resources, webinars, networking opportunities, launching new projects, trainings and so much more to help local journalists report on health and debunk misinformation. As of September, we’d already provided direct support related to COVID-19 in 68 countries and in 135 languages.

We are proud of the rapid response we mounted to help small news outlets and community organisers continue amid the pandemic, assisting more than 180 organisations to provide life-saving information worldwide.

Despite the hope we feel for a world with effective vaccines, there isn’t a future where we’re just “back to normal.” Looking ahead, we’re focused on rebutting misinformation about COVID-19 and countering vaccine hesitancy — a role uniquely suited for local media, who are trusted voices in their communities. Our work helps media embrace and succeed in this role. 

And, though the pandemic has had an influence on everything we do, we aren’t losing sight of our core purpose. We’re investing in greater media business expertise to develop new models for the business of news, as media worldwide face financial crisis after financial crisis. As new administrations begin in the US and elsewhere, we’re continuing to advocate for understanding of the critical role local news and information play as a catalyst for citizen engagement, climate progress, pandemic preparedness, and economic prosperity across the globe. And we’re launching new campaigns to elevate the voices of those most affected but least heard by changes in media and technology, shaping policy debates and the future of communications.

It is an honor and privilege to have this sense of purpose at the start of this history-making year. All of us at Internews look forward to working with you, our supporters, partners, and colleagues, in a purposeful 2021.

Jeanne Bourgault
President, Internews

Jodie Ginsberg
Chief Executive, Internews Europe


Resource Alert: A glossary to decode COVID-19

One of the resources journalists need to cover COVID-19 effectively is the proper terminology to explain the rapidly changing science and news about COVID-19. Internews’ glossary, created by our Pandemic Health Mentor Bench, is a free, searchable and updated source to help anyone explain terms, from adjuvant to zoonoses. Access the glossary.


What We’re Reading

The Washington Post outlines the deeply disturbing increase in attacks on and killings of independent journalists in Afghanistan. The work of brave, committed journalists, not just in Kabul but throughout the country, has reshaped the information landscape for everyday Afghans over two decades. Silencing journalists is a cruel step backward. Media in Afghanistan needs the support and attention of the global community more than ever. 

From the article:

“The biggest concern is: What will be the fate of journalists and media after the peace deal?” said Shah Hussain Rasuli, the editor in chief of Salam Watandar, Afghanistan’s largest radio station. “What will be their place in the society?”


One More Thing

Journalists: Join the Internews Health Journalism Network (HJN). Following in the footsteps of our Earth Journalism Network, the now-forming Health Journalism Network is a community of media practitioners who cover health and are interested in connecting with each other, accessing training and tools to help them in their work and sparking conversations about health topics of mutual interest. 

Sign up for HJN now to join conversations with global health experts and experienced media colleagues from around the world and access resources to support your work. Sign up to learn more.

(Banner photo: A COVID testing site in Madagascar. Helping local media combat misinformation during global vaccination rollout will be the work of 2021. Credit: World Bank CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)