Professors’ work for responsible media coverage of sex trafficking honored with AEJMC feminist advocacy award

UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication professors Barbara Friedman and Anne Johnston won the Donna Allen Award for Feminist Advocacy for The Irina Project, which they co-direct, and its advocacy for the responsible and accurate reporting of sex trafficking.

The award — given by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s (AEJMC) Commission on the Status of Women — recognizes feminist media activism that promotes the rights and freedoms of women and minorities across the world. It honors the pioneering work of Allen, who founded the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press.

The Irina Project contributed to the best media practices section of the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the U.S. Department of State. Johnston attended the June 20 ceremony in Washington, D.C., during which Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled the report.

In May, Friedman and Johnston were among nine UNC faculty members selected as Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES) for their work to help journalists cover sex trafficking. The FES program brings together selected faculty members from across campus to engage in a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship.

In November 2013, they led a McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute — “Reporting Sex Trafficking: A Local Problem with Global Dimensions” — to provide journalists with tools and approaches necessary to recognize, understand and report sex trafficking within their communities. The workshop was organized with more than $40,000 in funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and support from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.