Cristi Hegranes

Ashoka Fellow
San Francisco, United States
Fellow Since 2013
My work: Training and employing women in developing media markets to be ethical, investigative journalists.


This profile was prepared when Cristi Hegranes was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Cristi founded the Global Press Institute (GPI) to demonstrate a new way forward for the declining field of international journalism. She’s not alone in the recognition that the current model isn’t working. Most newspapers have closed their foreign desks, and the few that remain are expensive and limited in their capacity to write about anything other than international crises. Her premise is simple, and flips today’s model on its head: Train those within countries who have access to the stories to be professional quality journalists and build a syndication pipeline that features their reporting in major platforms across the globe. And do so at a fraction of the current cost. GPI focuses on women in particular, both because of their traditionally marginalized status and because they’re less likely to flee their communities once trained. In this way, in addition to elevating global awareness, GPI uses journalism as a development tool to educate, employ, and give voice to women around the world.

At the core of the GPI is a rigorous training program that equips women with the tools and support network to produce high-quality, ethical, objective news pieces suitable for the most discerning news platforms. Women who complete the training are then given jobs and pursue a range of stories, many of which shed light on important social and political issues, and most which feature overlooked issues, angles, or perspectives. As Cristi says, when you change the storyteller, you’re changing the stories too. Meanwhile, the position of GPI journalists and editors as pioneers of truly independent media serves as a model for other local media outlets to follow.

A robust syndication model means the reach of GPI stories extends well beyond local communities and regions. Today, GPI operates news desks in 25 countries and employs close to 150 women around the world. GPI stories are accessible to over 5 million people monthly and can be found in English on the GPI news wire as well as on UPI, Reuters, the BBC, and the Huffington Post. For Cristi, this combination of new voices and perspectives together with broad audiences is a powerful formula—not just for rescuing journalism but also for combating apathy, cultivating empathy, and enabling social change.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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