2020 annual report

published january 25, 2021

Dear reader,

2020 was
a wicked,
wild year.

Ironically, it was also a good year for diversity in journalism.

The pandemic effectively halted foreign correspondence, journalism’s most colonial and out-dated practice.

In its place, local journalists across the globe rose to provide nuanced, insightful coverage of a rapidly changing world.  

Under the coalescing crises of public health and systemic racism, readers questioned, more than ever, systems of power, including those that have long relegated diverse voices in journalism.

With new awareness of who is telling the world’s stories, more readers than ever before sought out the powerful, poignant work of Global Press Journal reporters. We saw record readership across 191 countries throughout 2020. 

For the last 15 years, Global Press has been blazing the trail of insistence that the world no longer needs foreigners to parachute in to cover communities they know little about. And 2020 highlighted the importance of our work, training and employing professional female journalists in the world’s least-covered places.

Few things were left unchanged by the turbulent 12 months of 2020.

So, our annual report looks different this year too. As you scroll through, you’ll learn about how our award-winning Duty of Care program kept our journalists safe and healthy. You’ll see how our style guide, which is rooted in the principles of dignity and precision, influenced hundreds of American journalists during the summer of racial justice protests. And we’ll look ahead, to share our bold plans for our work in a changed world.

As the calendar turns to 2021, we are embracing the upheaval.
In 2020’s wake, we are confident that local journalists across the globe will remain center stage.

Cristi Hegranes
CEO, Global Press
Publisher, Global Press Journal

section 1: covering a changing world

As Global Press Journal reporters covered the pandemic from places that few others could, readership grew.

Global Press Journal saw increased readership
across 191 countries in 2020.

Global Press Journal received unprecedented acclaim 
for its work in 2020 too.

Media Hero of the Year, The Stevie Awards
Awarded to the all-female reporting team of Global Press Journal for their exceptional, interconnected coverage of the world during the pandemic.
Refugee Reporting Award, One World Media
Awarded to Merveille Kavira Lungehe’s “I will not leave this place: Refusing to become a refugee and other reflections from the heart of Congo’s ongoing conflict.” The awards highlight stories that break through stereotypes, change the narrative and connect people across cultures. 
Award of Excellence, Society for News Design
Awarded to Global Press Journal for it’s special coverage of the ongoing conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo, this award honors journalism that pushes the boundaries of design and technology.  
Best News Website, Vega Awards
Awarded to Global Press Journal, this international media award recognizes excellence in digital media. 
Clarion Awards (Best Online Feature, Best Online Feature, Best Speciality Print Publication)
Global Press Journal won three Clarion Awards in 2020. A best of online feature journalism prize was awarded to Gamuchirai Masiyiwa for her graphic novel depicting Zimbabwe’s ongoing currency crisis; A best of online feature journalism prize was awarded to Merveille Kavira Lungehe for her first-person, historical narrative about DRC’s refugee crisis; And a Special Print Communication prize was awarded to Katie Myrick, Global Press creative director for her design of the 2019 annual report.

section 2: duty of care

Throughout 2020, journalists fought to overcome significant challenges.

Global Press Journal reporters confronted barriers to information and safe reporting access.


experienced a government-imposed


were labeled essential workers but had their movement resricted


were not labeled essential workers and had their movement resricted


experienced transportation barriers, like a public transportation shut down


suspected exposure to COVID-19 while reporting but later tested negative


were exposed to other contagious


harrassed while


experienced a
physical injury while reporting


tested positive
for COVID-19

We’re working to normalize conversations about stress, anxiety and trauma in newsrooms.

Throughout the year, we invested in the Global Press Wellness Network, a team of global mental health practitioners who serve our reporters with unlimited sessions, on demand.

We’re working to normalize conversations about stress, anxiety and trauma in newsrooms.


of Global Press Journal reporters say they plan to utilize the Wellness Network in 2021

Photo by Prudence Phiri, Global Press Journal Zambia

Global Press was well prepared for these challenges.

Duty of Care is our holistic safety and security program designed to serve our unique network of female journalists who live in the communities that they cover.

For these journalists, extraction is never an option. Local journalists require a robust and inclusive security methodology that prioritizes the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, digital and legal security.

From situational awareness and emergency first aid to robust travel and communication policies, Duty of Care prioritizes our reporters’ physical well being.
From understanding mental models to stress-based decision making skills and the on-call Global Press Wellness Network, Duty of Care prioritizes our reporters’ emotional health.
Understanding constitutions and penal codes is a Duty of Care priority to ensure journalists know their rights while reporting and after publication.
Digital security toolkits for high and low-tech environments are essential to ensuring that reporters and their sources stay safe.

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Our reporters’ safety was our top priority.

Every reporter in our network experienced lockdown in 2020. In some places, where reporters were not classified as essential personnel their inability to report lasted weeks.

Reporters, trainers and members of the Global Press Accuracy Network take part in virtual trainings.

Global Press Institute, the training arm of Global Press, instituted a training in lockdown program, offering our reporters around the world the opportunity to learn while on lockdown.

In total, Global Press Journal reporters spent 2,015 hours in training while in lockdown.

Training highlights included master classes in fact checking and photojournalism and a newly created Reporting Climate Vulnerabilities training, designed in partnership with The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Reporters had this to say about their training experience:

“The adjustments made me feel safe, l could continue with my work, gain new professional skills while enhancing the old skills. l felt like Global Press was valuing my safety above anything else.”

Reporters had this to say about their training experience:

“[The trainings] made me feel safer and gave me a sense of job security. Mentally they made me stronger and grateful seeing all that was happening around me.”

Reporters had this to say about their training experience:

“I felt the care that the organization has for its employees. The trainings benefited us as reporters and made sure we kept in touch with our reporting.”

Lalita Khanal, Global Press Institute Nepal Trainee, February 2020

But not everyone got to continue learning in 2020. The pandemic erupted with a new calls of trainees in Nepal was just halfway through our original 16-week training program, The Principles & The Practice. We’ve paused that bureau launch and all new launches until 2022.

Our leadership team shared Duty of Care protocols, management tips and crisis response strategies with dozens of organizations.

Center for Media Assistance

Stanford Social Innovation

Carleton University School of Journalism

section 3: dignity & precision

In 2020, the ripples of racial justice were felt around the world.

From Haiti to Uganda, the murder of George Flloyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis ignited new conversation about racial justice and colonial histories.

Photo by Marie Michelle Felicien, Global Press Journal Haiti

The Global Press Style Guide is a living document that establishes rules for referring to the people and places around the world where Global Press Journal reporters work. Each entry is crafted with the specific intention of promoting dignity and precision in the practice of international journalism.

An example entry from the Global Press Style Guide


Rule: Use precise references to a source’s ancestry when relevant to a story’s news value.

Do not conflate race with skin color or nationality. Instead, allow sources to self-identify. Capitalize skin color according to source preference. For general references to groups of people do not default to capitalization, use standard grammar rules for nouns and adjectives
Rationale: Precise references to diverse source identities promote reader clarity and source dignity

Rationale: Precise references to diverse source identities promote reader clarity and source dignity

An example entry from the Global Press Style Guide

Throughout the summer, journalists across the world, and especially in America, were reaching for words to describe unprecedented violence and the historic racial justice protests that followed.

In collaboration with The Poynter Institute, one of the world’s premier journalism institutions, Global Press hosted a webinar for more than 1,000 journalists and editors on the topic of writing about race with dignity and precision.

Since the webinar, dozens of newsrooms have adopted use of the Global Press Style Guide.

Our reporters covered the global implications of America’s racial justice movement. Fresh conversations about colonial pasts and racial inequities crescendoed.

The Global Press Style Guide is a living document that establishes rules for referring to the people and places around the world where Global Press Journal reporters work. Each entry is crafted with the specific intention of promoting dignity and precision in the practice of international journalism.

Read the article

These are stories that only local reporters can tell.

When colonialist Cecil John Rhodes died, he asked to be buried in Zimbabwe’s sacred Matobo Hills. Local people are renewing the debate over whether the polarizing politician deserves to stay.

read more by vimbai chinembiri

Uganda’s rural schools are turning away from English-only instruction as mother-tongue language learning grows in popularity. But the practice faces bigger hurdles in urban classrooms.

Read more by beatrice lamwaka

section 4: diversity in focus

2020 brought the power of the local journalist into sharp focus.

At Global Press local journalists have always played a powerful role in creating ethical, accurate narratives of the world.

At Global Press, we intentionally hire female reporters from diverse backgrounds. Why? These reporters have access to diverse sources, nuanced story angles and detailed data that create a comprehensive narrative of places often relegated to rote stereotypes of war, poverty, disaster and disease.


Black, African 44%
Asian 27%
Hispanic 27%
Black, Other 2%


White 45%
Black 40%
Asian 15%


White 47%
Asian 26%
Black 17%
Hispanic 10%

Global Leadership

White 35%
Hispanic 28%
Asian 28%
Black 9%

*Represents Global Press team members in 2020, according to a self-reported diversity survey.


Diverse reporters talk to diverse sources. Together, they tell inclusive stories.

In 2020, there was much talk about the lack of gender diversity in mainstream COVID-19 reporting. At Global Press, our coverage of the pandemic showcased our commitment to diversity.


Female sources


Female experts


Local experts

Another line of text goes here

Beyond race and gender, Global Press prioritizes geographic diversity too.

Photo by Fortune Moyo, Global Press Journal Zimbabwe

Photo by Mar García, Global Press Journal Mexico

Too often, global news is only reported from major metropolitan areas. Our commitment to diverse, comprehensive coverage includes a commitment to reporting from high-value news locations urban and rural areas, small and large.

Number of Bureaus by area population

Population Under 100,000
Population 100,000 - 250,000
Population 250,000 - 500,000
Population 500,000 - 1,000,000
Population 1,000,000 - 5,000,000
Population Over 5,000,000

section 5: Funding Challenge

The nonprofit industry faced a collective challenge in 2020: Funding.

As markets crashed and donor priorities naturally shifted to the unimaginable events of 2020, like many organizations, Global Press had a difficult Spring and Summer. In May, we revised our annual budget goal down to $3M. But throughout the year donors and partners recognized the powerful reporting and unique impact Global Press was having in the difficult global moment.

As we enter another uncertain year, we’re working to regain our pre-pandemic projections.

Profound gratitude to our major donors.

$250,000 and above
Emerson CollectiveFondacion CHANELHewlett FoundationLuminateMacArthur FoundationOpen Square FoundationYellow Chair Foundation

$100,000 - $249,999
Anne and Greg Avis
Emily Kaiser and Gene Bulmash
Humanity United
Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

$50,000 - $99,000
Channel Foundation
U.S. Charitable Gift Trust

$5,000 - $49,000
Auriga Foundation
Cloud Mountain Foundation
Dan and Gail Austin
First Dollar Foundation
George Kaiser Family Foundation
Michelle Swenson and Stan Drobac
Mize Family Foundation
Seattle Foundation
Simone Otus Coxe 
Stewart R. Mott Foundation
Taube Family Philanthropies
Tecovas Foundation

section 6: Focus Forward

2021 promises more uncertainty. We are prepared to leverage all we learned in 2020 to bring you world-class news.

This year, Global Press celebrates its 15th anniversary. This milestone is particularly meaningful as our commitment to dignity, diversity, transparency and excellence resonate with a growing audience.

Here’s a look at how we’ll continue our bold mission in a changed world:

Photo by Dolgormaa Sandagdorj
Global Press Journal Mongolia

Adapting Global Press Institute training programs for a virtual world

Global Press Institute has been conducting in-person trainings around the world since 2006. We’re working to virtualize our award-winning Duty of Care and other training programs to ensure our reporters have access to powerful learning opportunities when we can’t be together in person.

Photo by Françoise Mbuyi Mutombo
Global Press Journal DRC

Producing more ethical, accurate news from around the world

Our reporters and a bigger-than-ever team of expert editors will be bringing you even more stories in 2021. Don’t miss the all-new Global Press Journal, which features new cross-border curations on the homepage about resonate topics like climate, civil unrest and healthcare innovation.

Photo by Ena Aguilar Peláez
Global Press Journal Mexico

Diversifying revenue streams to bolster our sustainability

Global Press News Services now offers all-new products and services. From Duty of Care consultations to customized style guide scans and workshops, we’re bringing the best of Global Press to other organizations around the world.

global press news services

Photo by Myagmarsuren Battur
Global Press Journal Mongolia

Serving (and studying) our growing global audience

From building Global Press Journal sites in French and Spanish to growing our syndication network, we’ll serve even more readers in 2021. And, we’ll study them too! We’ll be diving deep into audience research to study trust opportunities and biases of news produced by women of color.

global press journal

Thank you for making Global Press Journal a staple part of your news diet in 2020. Thank you for valuing diversity in journalism and understanding the pivotal role that local reporters play in helping us understand the world, and our places in it.

Our challenge now is to fight against
a return to the status quo.

Thank you for supporting Global Press
in 2021.

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