Tasneem Raja Receives 2024 IWMF Gwen Ifill Award

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) today announced The Oaklandside Editor-in-Chief Tasneem Raja as the recipient of its 2024 Gwen Ifill Award, recognizing her career-long commitment to advancing equitable news spaces and cultivating diverse journalistic talent. With close to 20 years of experience as a data journalist and news editor, as well as co-founding multiple outlets and non-profit newsrooms, Raja has built an exemplary model of community-centered journalism.

“It is an honor to receive this award in Gwen’s name and stand in fellowship with seven incredible former winners,” Raja said. “At a recent event, 2019 IWMF Gwen Ifill Awardee Nikole Hannah-Jones spoke about embracing healthy changes in our attitudes about who can perform journalism and carefully balancing preserving journalistic tradition while dismantling the outmoded and unhelpful. This mission is at the heart of my career: to navigate change, find that delicate balance, and uplift voices that must be heard.”

Now in its eighth year, the IWMF’s Gwen Ifill Award honors a remarkable woman journalist of color whose work embodies Ifill’s legacy of supporting and elevating diverse voices in news media. Ifill, who passed away in November 2016, was a friend of the IWMF, anchor of the PBS NewsHour, and trailblazer in the news media industry.

“Tasneem’s drive to not only create newsrooms centered around her local communities, but to advance the careers of the young journalists around her, stood out to us,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the IWMF. “In every aspect of her career, Tasneem has walked the walk, understanding that a strong foundation of diverse perspectives is critical to a sustainable newsroom.”

Before Raja co-founded Cityside Journalism Initiative – the parent organization powering both The Oaklandside and Berkeleyside – she worked at outlets including Mother Jones and NPR, as well as co-founded The Tyler Loop and The Bay Citizen. Raja also serves on the Board of Directors at The 19th.

Raja’s approach to mentorship often takes the form of hiring “greener” reporters and helping them grow and excel. Raja recognizes the importance of diverse economic, racial, and lived experiences, nurturing these assets into strong journalism. In her work at Cityside, Tasneem helped initiate a policy allocating every employee an annual stipend dedicated to professional development. Additionally, Tasneem served as a mentor in the IWMF’s 2020 Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program.

“Over time, I’ve had the honor of working closely with newer journalists who’ve refined and challenged my own approach to mentorship,” Raja continued. “I am forever grateful to them for that opportunity. I hope to continue learning from them for many years to come, and decades if I should be so lucky.”

To learn more about the IWMF’s Gwen Ifill Award, visit our website. The IWMF also leads the Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program to address the lack of diversity in leadership positions across newsrooms in the United States; more information can be found here.

About the International Women’s Media Foundation

The IWMF is the only global organization built to serve the holistic needs of women and nonbinary journalists. We are a bold and inclusive organization that supports journalists where they are with awards, reporting opportunities, fellowships, grants, safety training and emergency aid. As one of the largest supporters of women-produced journalism, our transformative work strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, on Instagram on @TheIWMF and on TikTok @theiwmf.

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