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Our Mission

Unbias the News creates a space for journalists who experience structural barriers in the field. We are a feminist cross-border newsroom by Hostwriter, working towards a more equitable and inclusive world of journalism.

About

Let’s face it: The current media system is not representative for the audience it serves. Newsrooms in the United States have remained more white and male than other work places, the largest migrant communities in Germany have no representation among editors-in-chief at leading news outlets and Indian media is an upper-caste fortress.

 

But diversity is not a moral question, it’s a question of quality! We aim to open up the field to emerging voices and local journalists who have not yet had the privilege to publish at big legacy outlets due to structural barriers or discrimination.

Our Principles

Collaboration as a default: All editorial decisions are taken by a geographically diverse team to ensure that stories don’t favor Western perspectives or amplify common biases and stereotypes. ⁋

 

No parachute journalism: We don’t send correspondents to remote places, but work with local journalists who are based in the communities they report on. ⁋

 

Cross-border storytelling: Our editors provide in-depth support and training for all contributors, helping local journalists sharpen their stories and draw connections with other countries and authors that extends their reach and professional network beyond borders. ⁋

 

Upcoming voices: All journalists are commissioned on the basis of the quality of their story pitch and alignment with our editorial manifesto, rather than on the basis of who they know or what publications they have previously published in before. ⁋

 

Unbias the narrative: We aim to contribute to decolonizing journalism by enabling narrative self-representation and the publication of stories that diversify news narratives and challenge power imbalances and the status quo. ⁋

Editorial Manifesto

We seek to actively fight against the perpetuation of racist, sexist and ableist stereotypes and conspiracy theories.

  • We give or reference historical context for modern-day inequalities.
  • We take special care in reporting on crime and poverty.
  • We are developing an inclusive workplace policy to enable collaboration with a wide range of contributors.


Words matter: We take care to use language that does not unnecessarily exclude groups or further essentialism on the basis of race, gender, class, religion, nationality, caste or ability.
We own and investigate our own bias.

  • We investigate the full range of views, but are explicit about our anti-racist, feminist, pro-democracy bias.
  • We periodically review our publication for bias and publish our findings annually on this website.
  • We provide in-depth editing assistance to welcome reporting from people who speak English as a second or third language.
  • We consider newsroom diversity a prerequisite for accurate reporting.
  • We make efforts to accommodate journalists working with limited internet access and provide access to specific skills training and software where appropriate.

While the newsroom operates remotely and internationally, Hostwriter is bound to the German Press Code as a Berlin-based non-profit organization. This includes the following commitment:

  • We respect human dignity and are committed to democracy and the rule of law.
  • Our research and publications follow the principles of transparency, accuracy and fairness.
  • We only publish information on individuals if it serves a public interest as defined by international press law.
  • We deal openly with our own errors and correct them promptly and openly at our website. We publish corrections if published information subsequently proves to be incorrect.
  • We name the sources of our information by default, whenever possible. We indicate when sources cannot be disclosed and explain the reasons why disclosure of the sources is not possible in such cases.

We believe in collaboration as a default, so we give credit to everyone who worked on a story, cite direct and indirect sources for the story, including from social media, and link to other media sources when appropriate.

  • We seek to contact the most pertinent experts rather than the easiest to reach ones (because of shared networks or language) and consider search engine bias in our research.
  • Focusing on the cross-border relevance of local stories, we encourage and help journalists to work with additional contributors based in different countries to continue the story, when pertinent, across borders or boundaries.


We are open to story ideas submitted by teams. Please see our Freelancer policy for detailed collaboration guidelines.
We present people so that they have agency and dignity.

  • We ask people we interview how they identify and respect their categorization (e.g., we will use neutral “they” or “ze” upon request.)
  • We use trauma-sensitive reporting guidelines, respecting a source’s right to be the expert of their own story. We do not present people who have experienced trauma as biased or treat them as hostile witnesses.
  • We do not offer quote review based on status, but will allow sources to clarify their statements when appropriate.
  • We respect our sources’ time and limits and do not push them to share information that, in their view, would compromise their safety or well-being.

Our contributors are paid equitably and the same regardless of nationality.

  • We do not use fixers and give all authors a byline (unless they request anonymity).
  • We pay a kill fee for stories that do not make it to publication.
  • The safety and mental health of journalists who work for us is prioritized above and beyond getting a story. If during a story your mental health is affected, please contact your editor. You are not alone.
  • We work with journalists to get their story additional reach and, when possible, have it published in different languages and markets where it will have the most impact.
  • We handle complaints from employees and contributors in a transparent manner and according to a Code of Conduct.

 

We are committed to working towards the latest standards in digital safety and security.

  • We see online harassment as a form of censorship and are developing an anti-trolling plan accessible by employees and contributors.

 

Our research and publications follow the principles of transparency, accuracy and fairness. 

  • We respect human dignity and are committed to democracy and the rule of law.
  • We name the sources of our information by default, whenever possible. We indicate when sources cannot be disclosed and explain the reasons why disclosure of the sources is not possible in such cases.
  • Building on our pilot project “Unbias the News. Why diversity matters for journalism,” (Hostwriter/CORRECTIV 2019) we aim to create collaborative journalism across borders that breaks through national media bubbles.
  • Diversity is not a moral question, it’s about quality: International journalism has been dominated by white, male, Western voices, which makes it challenging to capture the authenticity of experiences, aspirations and concerns of a diverse but networked audience.
  • We aim to rectify empathy and trust through grounded, multi-perspective, nuanced reporting, creating a new kind of journalism that looks more like the audience it serves.

Meet the team

Mercy Abang

Mercy Abang

Editor

is one of the most syndicated journalists on the African continent, focusing on under-reported stories from vulnerable groups. She is an experienced print and broadcast journalist with a massive social media following for her incisive commentary on stories in Nigeria and the region. She was listed among the 2021 “Most Powerful Women in Journalism” by WiJAfrica.

ankita anand

Ankita Anand

Editor

is an India-based cross-border journalist covering environmental and rural stories with an international dimension. Her previous investigations have been supported by Journalism Fund, and she was also a fellow with Tactical Tech’s Exposing the Invisible-Kit, where she contributed chapters, next to a guide and curriculum on collaborative investigations.

Wafaa Albadry

Wafaa Albadry

Editor

is an online and broadcast journalist who reported from Egypt until she relocated to Berlin, where her work and contributions appear in several media outlets, including BBC, France 24, and currently works for DW. Jury Prep-committee member of European Press Prize. Co-author of Unbias the News: Why diversity matters for journalism. She reports about women’s rights, culture, and MENA politics.

tabea grzeszyk

Tabea Grzeszyk

CEO+PUBLISHER

is a co-founder and CEO of Hostwriter and publisher at Unbias the News. She is a broadcast journalist with ten years of editorial experience at the German National Radio. She is an alumna of CUNY’s Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators-program and reported on cultural activism as a fellow of the Border Crossers- and IJP Middle East journalism programs.

katja heitmann

Katja Heitmann

CTO

is chief technology officer. She studied Media informatics and is a senior web developer with 14 years of work experience in both start-up and medium-scale web agencies. Katja is an active member of the international Drupal community. She co-founded Reinblau, a Cooperative Web and New Work Consultation Agency.

Tina Lee

Tina Lee

EIC

is editor-in-chief and head of the editorial team. Originally from the USA, she writes, researches and podcasts about migration, human rights, politics and the far right and has previously worked for Human Rights Watch and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. She was also editor-in-chief of the Unbias the News-book prototype.

Gabriela Ramírez

Social Media

is a Venezuelan journalist researching the intersections of journalism, innovation, and product strategy. She works for Unbias The News as a multimedia journalist looking for innovative ways to engage audiences.

Purple Romero

Purple Romero

Editor

is a multimedia journalist who writes about politics, climate change and human rights in the Philippines and Asia. Previous employers include AFP and Rappler, and she has worked as freelance producer for Al Jazeera. She is currently based in Hong Kong.

Zahra Salah Uddin

Zahra Salah Uddin

Editor+Social Media

is a member of the editorial team and head of engagement. Originally from Pakistan, she graduated from the Erasmus Mundus Journalism MA program and has previously worked at Pakistan’s leading English news organizations; Dawn and The News International. Zahra is currently freelancing for various publications on music and culture.

julia vernersson

Julia Vernersson

COO

is chief operating officer with a background in international NGO management and media development. Julia focuses on projects related to freedom of speech, media, creative activism and do-it-yourself culture. She has previously been working with Sourcefabric, Europe’s largest developer of open source software for news media.

andy wilke

Andy Wilke

ART DIRECTOR

is the lead designer. As a Freelance Designer and founder, Andy has a strong focus on user centred design. He holds a Master degree in Communication Design from the University of Applied Sience Potsdam and has more than twelve years experience in Brand and Interface Design. He worked for design agencies in Berlin and London.

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