2011 Women Entrepreneurs
in the Digital News Frontier
The International Women’s Media Foundation is pleased to present the winners of the inaugural Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Digital News Frontier grants. Each grantee received $20,000 to launch innovative new media enterprises.
The winning startups include a website that brings transparency to the health care marketplace, a news service that takes a game-changing approach to international coverage, and a local journalism initiative that serves “news deserts” in the Catskills region of New York.
Clearhealthcosts.com | Latitude News™ | NewsShed
Clearhealthcosts.com features 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.
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Jeanne Pinder is working to bring transparency to the health-care marketplace at clearhealthcosts.com, which is now in embryonic form. She became interested in this topic when, prosaically, she was trying to understand her family's medical and insurance statements, while experiencing rising health-care costs and the interconnected power of Web 2.0. She has been consulting and studying at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York with Jeff Jarvis ("What Would Google Do?") and Jeremy Caplan (director, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism), since she volunteered for a buyout from The New York Times in late 2009 after 23 years there. At The Times, she was an editor and reporter on the metro, business and foreign desks, a founding editor of the Circuits technology section and a human resources executive developing and implementing a policy on nontraditional work arrangements. She also worked at The Des Moines Register and The Grinnell (Ia.) Herald-Register. She speaks fluent Russian and lives just outside of New York City with her 16-year-old twin daughters.
Latitude News™ approaches 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. It challenges the assumption that Americans are uninterested in international news.
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Maria Balinska is an award winning American journalist with over ten years’ experience in senior management at the British Broadcasting Corporation in London. As Editor, World Current Affairs Radio she led the team producing specialist international content designed to complement the daily news agenda and attract new audiences to international affairs. During her tenure as editor, Balinska launched and executive produced nine new programs for the BBC including Crossing Continents, ‘“one of the BBC’s most reliable current affairs programs” (the Guardian) and, most recently, BBC Radio’s weekly magazine show about the United States, Americana. A graduate of Princeton University, the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a 2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Maria is also the author of The Bagel: the surprising history of a modest bread, a book described by Slate as “lively and well researched” and by the New York Times as “scrumptious”.
NewsShed creates 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.
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Lissa Harris is the co-editor and publisher of the Watershed Post, an online hub for daily news, arts, culture and the environment serving the rural Catskills of upstate New York. Harris and her co-founder, Julia Reischel, launched the Watershed Post in January 2010 as an experimental new media project to test their ideas about rural online news distribution, self-service advertising and new media business models. Prior to founding the Watershed Post, Harris was a writer and editor with a background in science writing, the alt-weekly press and community news. She was managing editor of Boston's Weekly Dig from 2005 to 2007, and holds a master's degree in science writing from MIT.
Julia Reischel co-founded the Watershed Post, which produces original reporting and curated aggregation about this rural, underserved "news desert." Before launching the Watershed Post with co-founder Lissa Harris, Reischel worked as a reporter and editor at various newspapers in Massachusetts and Florida, including Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Boston's Weekly Dig, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, and the Somerville News. She has won multiple awards for her news and feature writing.