Winners of Global Digital News Frontier Grants Announced by IWMF

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The International Women’s Media Foundation announced today the winners of the inaugural Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Digital News Frontier grants. Each grantee will receive $20,000 to launch innovative new media enterprises. The winning startup projects include a website that brings transparency to the health care marketplace, a local journalism initiative that serves “news deserts” in the Catskills region of New York and a news service that takes a game-changing approach to international coverage.

International Womens Media Foundation

International Womens Media Foundation

The International Women’s Media Foundation announced today the winners of the inaugural Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Digital News Frontier grants. Each grantee will receive $20,000 to launch innovative new media enterprises.

The winning startup projects include a website that brings transparency to the health care marketplace, a local journalism initiative that serves “news deserts” in the Catskills region of New York and a news service that takes a game-changing approach to international coverage.

The Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Digital News Frontier grant program -- offered for the first time this year -- is generously funded by the Ford Foundation.

The award winners were selected from more than 100 proposals from a diverse array of entrepreneurial women journalists. Key grant criteria included innovation in delivering the news and a clear business plan for achieving sustainability beyond the year-long grant program.

“Promoting women journalists’ professional advancement -- in both traditional and new media -- is a central tenet of the IWMF’s mission,” Liza Gross, executive director of the IWMF said. “We look forward to working with these pioneering women entrepreneurs as they launch their exciting digital media startups.”

“These grants, combined with training the IWMF will be offering, will help women to succeed in new media entrepreneurship, an arena where their numbers have been sorely lacking,” IWMF Advisory Committee Chairman Merrill Brown said. “Each of the winners offers an innovative way to deliver the news, and they are truly at the forefront of the digital media frontier.”     

The winners are:
Clearhealthcosts.com, the brainchild of former New York Times veteran editor and reporter Jeanne Pinder, will feature a curated collection of health care pricing information in a consumer-friendly, community-oriented, interactive website that combines reporting, user-generated content and databases to illuminate this largely opaque market.

Latitude, conceived by longtime BBC editor and producer and recent Nieman Fellow Maria Balinska, will approach international journalism by exploring connections between Americans and the rest of the world and promoting a deeper understanding of how the U.S. fits into the global news narrative.

NewsShed, a spinoff enterprise of Julia Reischel and Lissa Harris’s regional news aggregator The Watershed Post, will create self-supporting news websites in small rural towns in the Catskills to build a sustainable model of online-only local journalism in these underserved and economically depressed communities.

In addition to grant funding, Pinder, Balinska, Reischel and Harris will receive pro-bono coaching from respected new media leaders on the IWMF’s Advisory Committee to ensure that they have the right match of support and skills to thrive as digital news entrepreneurs.

Advisory Committee members and mentors include: Merrill Brown, Founder and Principal, MMB Media LLC; Eve Batey, Editor and Publisher, San Francisco Appeal; Christine Herron, Director, Intel Capital; Ben Metcalfe, Founder and CEO, Swordfish Corp; Neal Mohan, Vice President of Product Management, Google; Andrew Nachison, Co-Founder and Managing Director, We Media; Shazna Nessa, Director of Interactive, the Associated Press; Mike Orren, Founder, Panlocal LLC/Pegasus News/The Daily You; Lisa Stone, CEO, BlogHer; and Lisa Williams, CEO and Founder, Placeblogger.com.

The winners will also be featured on a panel moderated by The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson during the IWMF’s International Conference of Women Media Leaders at George Washington University on March 23, 2011.

The IWMF will track the progress of the three winning projects’ progress on the IWMF’s website.

Founded in 1990, The International Women’s Media Foundation is a vibrant global network dedicated to strengthening the role of women in news media worldwide as a means to further press freedom. For more information, visit http://www.iwmf.org.

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