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2014 Global Media Awards

Population Institute Names 35th Annual Global Media Award Winners

December 10, 2014

Washington, DC –The Population Institute today is pleased to announce the winners of the 35th annual Global Media Awards competition. This year’s award recipients addressed a wide range of population-related issues, including the status of women, the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people; reproductive health in developing countries; the implications of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision; climate change and its human toll; population and the environment; the transformative impact of a population, health, and environment (PHE) project in Africa, and the growing number of young women in America who are resisting social pressures and choosing not to have children. These are important issues that affect human lives, the health of women and their families, and the future of the planet. The Population Institute is proud to recognize this year’s winners for their profound insights and their journalistic excellence. Their voices deserve to be heard and their efforts acknowledged.

Uganda’s Health Digest will receive the Best Article or Series of Articles award for its special edition on reproductive health. The Health Digest is produced by The Health Journalism Network in Uganda, which works to improve health literacy. This special edition highlighted more than a dozen steps that could be taken to improve the reproductive health of women in Uganda. The articles, among other subjects, examined the economic benefits of family planning, the reasons why many women are not using contraceptives, new strategies for addressing gender-based violence, and the need for better sex education in the schools.

Melanie Holmes will receive the Best Book award for her book The Female Assumption. A proud mother of three children, Melanie Holmes, decided, nevertheless, that it was time to challenge the social pressures, what she describes as the “motherhood mandate,” that lead many young women to believe that they must have children. In the course of writing her book, she interviewed more than a hundred women about their childbearing decisions, including many women who decided to be childless by choice, and who have never regretted their decision. She believes that “females should be raised hearing that motherhood is only one option out of many paths that they might choose in order to live a full, happy life."

The Emmy award winning series Years of Living Dangerously will be recognized as the Best TV Show for its highly popular 9-episode documentary series on Showtime. The series featured celebrities and leading news journalists, who traveled around the world to reveal the impact that drought, rising temperatures, and other climate change impacts are having on people and the communities and countries in which they live. In addition to interviewing top experts, they also talked to the people who are on the front lives of climate change, including climate refugees and the farmers who are struggling to survive rising temperatures and record drought. The program highlighted the enormous strain that climate change is putting on countries, like Syria, and their attempts to feed a still growing population. 

The Many Shades of Green, a Brooklyn-based radio show featured on BBOX, will receive the award for Best Radio Show. In her 30-minute podcasts, which air several times a week, host Maxine Margo Rubin explores a wide range of topics affecting the environment, including global population issues. In the past year, she has interviewed numerous environmental leaders, reporters, and authors, including Alan Weisman, who won a Global Media Award last year for his most recent book, Countdown.  More than just another news service, her programs provide her listening audience with actions that they can take locally to preserve the environment.

Hope in the Basin: Voices of the People will receive the award for Best Film or Miniseries.  A 20 minute documentary, Hope in the Basin, highlights the success that an integrated population, health and environment (PHE) program is having in helping to protect Africa’s Lake Victoria, the world's second largest freshwater lake by surface area. The film documents how local communities and organizations—like OSIENALA (Friends of Lake Victoria) and the Ecological Christian Organization—are coming together to restore fish stocks in Lake Victoria.  The film also looks at how Pathfinder International is saving and improving lives by making family planning and reproductive services available to women living in the Lake Victoria basin.

Rev. Richard Cizik, the President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, will receive the award for Best Opinion Piece for his Huffington Post blog, “If Hobby Lobby Wins, Pro-Life Christians Lose.” Written in June, just before the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic decision, his blog generated a tide of social media, gathering more than 10,000 “likes” on Facebook alone. In his blog Cizik argued, contrary to popular opinion, that a ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby would be a loss for religious freedom, not a gain. He also insisted that denying women contraceptive coverage would not be “pro-life,” as it would only serve to increase the number of abortions.   

Joel Pett, a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, will be honored for Best Editorial Cartoon.  This year marks the fifth time that Pett has been recognized by a Global Media Award. Over the past year Pett has been a leader in lampooning efforts by conservatives to shutdown family planning clinics and limit coverage of contraceptive services by health insurers. Over the course of his award-winning career, he has published numerous editorial cartoons on population, the environment, and reproductive health issues.

The I Decide Campaign by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) will receive the award for Best Social Media Campaign. IPPF launched its highly successful I Decide campaign as part of a larger public education campaign designed to put sexual reproductive health and rights at the center of the UN’s post- 2015 development agenda. The social media campaign, which also included a petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, asked people to speak out to world leaders’ using the hashtag #idecide my future.

Pictures from the awards are available here.