The year 2022 was a landmark year for women journalists across the world and we came across many women who made their names in the industry owing to their determination and sheer willingness to uncover the truth behind stories and make them available for a bigger audience.
1. The only women-owned rural news outlet in the nation, Khabar Lahariya, employs Meera Devi as its bureau chief. Meera is an expert in policy reporting and investigative journalism with more than 14 years of experience covering rural issues. Her special studies have revealed the administrative indifference surrounding the failing healthcare systems battling tuberculosis in the remote hinterland of the U.P.
Rajneeti, Ras, Raay is the name of the local politics programme that she broadcasts. Through various digital platforms, Khabar Lahariya has a reach of 10 million individuals every month. Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, it has an extensive network of female reporters and stringers. This model of the local, embedded reporter reporting as an insider from the community itself, with the deepest and most nuanced understanding of hyper-local issues, serves as a distinctive edge of Khabar Lahariya.
2. Rana Ayyub is an Indian journalist owing to her contributions to the Washington Post and is popularly known for her stints as an investigative journalist during the Gujarat riots of 2002. Fiercely independent, Ayyub first worked for Tehelka, an independent Delhi-based investigative and political news magazine. In October 2020, An open letter written by Ayyub was published in Harper Collins that challenged the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
In the year 2022, Rana Ayyub was awarded with the John Aubuchon Press Freedom award, the United States’ highest press award on 10th of December 2022. She is the first Indian journalist to receive this award. Rana Ayyub spoke in the award ceremony and gave hope to millions who fight for justice in this era- “This evening I received the John Aubuchon honour in a room full of the country’s finest. I dedicated the award to Shirin Abu Akhleh and to every single journalist fighting an isolating battle. History will be kind to us.”
3. Palki Sharma Upadhyay is a leading journalist in India and is known for her analytical reporting. In 2007 she was awarded ‘the best news reader’ and has worked in several news agencies like Doordarshan, and CNN News-18 and was a writer in the Hindustan times for a short while. She made the news in 2022, owing to her resignation from ‘WION’.
During her time at WION, she was the managing editor and headed the ‘Gravitas’. Palki Sharma has been in the journalism industry for more than 20 years and in a viral interview with ANI, she called out the toxic culture of newsrooms and gave insights about the industry.
As per reports, she talked about the ‘carobar’ i.e., bar in the car, where people, particularly men, drink, and gossip about work. She talks about how that generally helps these people to have better career trajectories. Not just this, Palki Sharma goes on to mention the shame she felt about being emotional in the newsroom. In a tweet, she wrote ‘So many women have written to me saying they relate to stories of being a working mother and the lack of empathy in the workplace. These are strong, successful women, not victims but fighters, who rue the fact that we continue to fight primitive battles. Hope conversations trigger change.’
4. Co-founding and serving as editor-in-chief of Khabar Lahariya, Kavita Devi’s main duties involve collaborating closely with the Chief Reporters’ network on story conception, planning, and execution. She prefers to go by Kavita Bundelkhandi and is a native of Banda. Kavita was the first Dalit woman anchor to broadcast her news and views on a show called The Kavita Show. She is also a self-professed Banda local.
Kavita, the sole Dalit member of the Editors Guild of India, began her career as a reporter and continues to cover noteworthy topics even today. She brings with her years of field reporting experience. Kavita is a TED speaker and is regarded as a powerful force in her community, particularly for women.
5. Neetu Singh is an independent local reporter and journalist who gained attention when she reported on the prevailing conditions of Musahar Basti in Chitrasenpur village (block Sevapur). Her investigation led her to find many kids who were not only ill but did not have access to basic sanitation facilities like toilets. The Basti was home to one of the most oppressed castes in India and did not even have a hand pump for clean drinking water.
She made a video covering the plight of the oppressed. Later, the video went viral and caught the eye of the local district administration. Her sharing the video on her Facebook page, made the difference between life and death in this isolated village.
In an interview, she said that “This is why I do what I do. This is how I covered the elections this year. The real job of journalists is to make the voices and needs of the unheard reach the masses, not to hold loudspeakers to politicians who already have their own”.
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to the list are welcome in the comments section.