Top IJNet Articles of 2021

By: IJNet | 12/22/2021

It’s been a busy year at IJNet. In 2021, we stayed on top of global trends in journalism, from data journalism and audience engagement tips to advice on mental health and media business. Across our eight languages, we haven’t stopped sharing resources and tools with journalists around the world.

It’s been a challenging year too. Reporters still need to navigate and report on the COVID-19 pandemic, and we provided resources to help them improve their coverage of the health crisis. We followed the events in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Belarus and Nicaragua, where press freedom is increasingly threatened.

As the year comes to an end, we asked our global team of editors and translators to recommend their favorite IJNet articles for 2021. Here you’ll find their selection of pieces written by journalists based in Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malawi, Mozambique, Turkey, Uruguay and the U.S.


Tips for reporting on vaccines, hesitancy and misinformation, by Josephine Chinele

The misinfodemic that has accompanied the COVID-19 global health crisis has created conflicting feelings among the public about the remarkably effective vaccines that were developed in record time. This recap of an ICFJ Global Health Crisis Reporting Forum webinar, written by Josephine Chinele, offers essential tips for reporting responsibly on the vaccines, such as avoiding “both sides journalism,” familiarizing oneself with medical research concepts, and refraining from sensationalizing.

Should journalists ever write for free?, by Iris Pase

For recent graduates and early-career journalists, it can be difficult to decide if they should be paid for their writing or if just having the byline is enough. In this article, Iris Pase interviewed freelancers who provide tips based on their experiences. These insights and tips will serve as a guide for journalists globally, and will help more reporters get paid for their work.

How to deal with pre-publishing nerves, by Cristiana Bedei

Publishing a story can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Cristiana Bedei addresses this stressful situation in an article that offers some key tips to deal with publishing anxiety, from practicing self-compassion to reining in our own perfectionism.


How journalists can use the QR Code, by Mostafa Fathi

This article takes a closer look at creating Quick Response code, benefits, tips and sources for journalists to create codes for free. 

Guide for journalists reporting on children, by Hadeel Arja

This article provides essential guidelines, and do’s and don’ts, for journalists to help them to report on children's issues.

Reporting on suicide, by Asmaa Qandil

In this article, Asmaa Qandil digs into the ethical standards and offers professional tips for reporting on suicide. 


TV Surdo Moçambique: an initiative for inclusive information, by Precidónio Uamusse

This article looks at TV Surdo, a content production platform for people with disabilities. It was created in 2018, and the content is broadcast on three television stations in the Mozambican capital of Maputo. It is also available on a YouTube channel.

Cê viu isso? A newspaper created by residents of a community in Belo Horizonte, by Juliana Afonso and Lucas Bois

"Did you see this?” was launched to bring information about COVID-19 to local communities in Brazil simply and directly. The team roams the community, carrying a microphone that works like a loudspeaker to announce news of the pandemic while investigating allegations and recording videos. The initiative draws the attention of residents, and reaches those who do not have access to the internet. A democratic, fun, and inclusive way to spread information.

Brazilian initiatives that provide free data to journalists, by Estelita Hass Carazzai

For every data journalist, there is an even bigger challenge than dealing with large datasets of information and working with complex coding: finding good — and consistent — public data. In a country like Brazil, where access to information still has many barriers, some initiatives seek to help journalists and researchers find clean, processed and accessible databases, free of charge.


​​Women journalists are facing harassment in the workplace, by Sara Saidi

Moral harassment, sexism, pressure at work: Women journalists are facing violence in the newsroom, and more generally in the workplace. Some of the targets of this violence feel they have no choice but to quit. 

African journalists find refuge, little professional opportunity in France, by Kpénahi Traoré

 African journalists who are refugees in France arrive in the country hoping for better opportunities. What they often find instead are professional challenges, in addition to cultural and linguistic obstacles. Many encounter in France a media industry and culture significantly different from their own. They must learn new professional skills, for example, and master technical tools for print, web and broadcast media.

Being a journalist in 2021 Lebanon: from shortages to soaring prices, by Sarah Abdallah

According to the World Bank, Lebanon is facing one of the worst economic crises since the middle of the 19th century. This includes energy shortages, inflation, and a 90% devaluation of the local currency. French-speaking journalists, as well as the local population, are struggling to live a decent life and carry out their jobs.


Belarusian journalists keep reporting from exile. Here's how, by Hanna Valynets  

Independent journalism is increasingly under attack in Belarus, and many journalists and even whole newsrooms are moving to other countries. Independent journalist and regular IJNet Russian contributor Hanna Valynets tells the story of how members of the team of Belarusian news outlet TUT.BY moved to another country after 15 staffers were arrested in Belarus. These members launched a new project called The author talked to Zerkalo’s public relations manager Alexandra Pushkina about what it takes to move a newsroom to another country, and shared tips on how to do so. 

Advice for interviewing survivors of sexual violence (part 1 and part 2), by Mariana Verbovska 

Conducting sensitive interviews with survivors of trauma, Verbovska found that sometimes she couldn't shake the memories of those conversations. She spoke to a psychologist, human rights activist, coach and founder of the Center for Women’s Perspectives, Martha Chumalo, on what journalists need to know when they are interviewing survivors of sexual violence, and what they need to do in order to care for themselves.


In dire danger, Afghan journalists need global support, by Mehrnaz Samimi

In this article, IJNet Persian Editor Mehrnaz Samimi takes a look at the fragile situation of Afghan journalists amid the Taliban takeover last August. 

Women’s media outlet in Afghanistan charts an uncertain future, by Mehrnaz Samimi

This is an interview with the founder, license holder, and managing editor of one of the few remaining women-focused media outlets in Afghanistan, about their plight and work in Kabul after the Taliban takeover. 


Investigating e-waste trafficking through transnational collaboration, by Yun-nam Chan

In this behind-the-scenes story, Hong Kong journalist Yun-nam Chan recounts how his team worked with the Basel Action Network in tracking the underground e-waste supply chain in areas bordering China. Their investigation resulted in an award-winning multimedia feature, garnering widespread public attention and a government response.

Independent journalism faces mounting challenges in Hong Kong, by Alice Hérait

Journalists in Hong Kong are confronted with an increasingly hostile environment due to the sweeping effects of the National Security Law, which came into effect in mid-2020. Since then, media outlets were forced to shut down; arrests have been made, and many journalists are weighing their future in journalism. This story chronicles the city's erosion of press freedom and - to borrow Maria Ressa's words - the journalists who continue to "hold the line" against all odds.


Nicaragua blocks international journalists from entering the country to cover the election, by Luis Fernando Cascante

The Nicaraguan government presents itself as a democracy, but its actions say otherwise. In 2021, it denied foreign press entry to cover the presidential election, which the international community has called a “sham” and a “parody.”

Remote work in the media: the risks for the work relationship, by Agustín Herrero

Could remote work endanger educating relationships between journalists in the newsroom? This story provides some views on one of the most enjoyable aspects of journalism.

How to avoid common mistakes in data visualization, by Amr Eleraqi

Visualizing data is not as simple as throwing numbers into a graph. As this article shows, a good job requires respect for rules, making good choices and avoiding bias.

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