We’ll remember how interconnected our world is

“After a year of constantly relearning our vulnerabilities, as individuals and communities, I hope we all carry more empathy and more understanding of our shared humanity with us into 2021.”

2021, we hope, is the year we emerge from the pandemic. When we start rebuilding. So my predictions for the future of journalism and news are about the direction I hope we build in, and two of the lessons I hope we take from this year.

First: The pandemic taught us how interconnected our world is, as we watched a virus slowly and then very quickly sweep across the planet. It also showed us how universal a lot of our core human experiences are: fear and sickness, loss and grief, isolation and longing.

Two journalism projects that emerged in this moment resonated deeply for me: The Nearness Project and The Journal Collective. One was a website “akin to art therapy” created by a group of young people, the other a collective of women photojournalists dotted around the globe publishing on Instagram.

What they shared was an inclination to document the collective experience of the pandemic and our shared humanity — telling individual stories to highlight the universality of our struggles. I hope that 2021 brings with it more journalism that embodies this understanding.

Second: There are the conversations we are finally collectively beginning to have — in public spaces, in our streets, and in our journalism — about systemic racism, injustice, and oppression.

Our systems and our institutions don’t give equal protection or rights to our people. They don’t offer equal access to opportunities. And in journalism and our public conversations, they don’t give equal weight and respect and understanding to our voices, experiences, or stories.

I hope 2021 brings with it a shift in power structures in journalism — a meaningful investment in building institutions that invest in Black and brown and Indigenous and immigrant and non-Western voices, in creating pipelines and opportunities for those who have been systemically disempowered.

For me, these lessons have led to starting from scratch and building something that embodies these values: investing deliberately in girls from around the world; creating a kind and curious community; cultivating a space that highlights our individual experiences, the ways in which power structures determine how we live differently across borders and zip codes, and also, our shared humanity.

I’m building a a global media venture that’s by and for girls — an organization that believes girls’ voices matter and invests in giving them the tools to tell their own stories and the platform to amplify their voices. And a platform that features individual girls’ stories while also cultivating a community that recognizes the universal experiences of girlhood and connects girls from across borders, demographics, and algorithmically curated feeds.

I know I’m not the only one leaving this year both exhausted and re-energized. After a year of constantly relearning our vulnerabilities, as individuals and communities, I hope we all carry more empathy and more understanding of our shared humanity with us into 2021. And with that, I hope we also bring a willingness to dismantle and reimagine broken systems and to invest in and create a more equitable future for our communities and for news.

Masuma Ahuja is founder of Girlhood*.

2021, we hope, is the year we emerge from the pandemic. When we start rebuilding. So my predictions for the future of journalism and news are about the direction I hope we build in, and two of the lessons I hope we take from this year.

First: The pandemic taught us how interconnected our world is, as we watched a virus slowly and then very quickly sweep across the planet. It also showed us how universal a lot of our core human experiences are: fear and sickness, loss and grief, isolation and longing.

Two journalism projects that emerged in this moment resonated deeply for me: The Nearness Project and The Journal Collective. One was a website “akin to art therapy” created by a group of young people, the other a collective of women photojournalists dotted around the globe publishing on Instagram.

What they shared was an inclination to document the collective experience of the pandemic and our shared humanity — telling individual stories to highlight the universality of our struggles. I hope that 2021 brings with it more journalism that embodies this understanding.

Second: There are the conversations we are finally collectively beginning to have — in public spaces, in our streets, and in our journalism — about systemic racism, injustice, and oppression.

Our systems and our institutions don’t give equal protection or rights to our people. They don’t offer equal access to opportunities. And in journalism and our public conversations, they don’t give equal weight and respect and understanding to our voices, experiences, or stories.

I hope 2021 brings with it a shift in power structures in journalism — a meaningful investment in building institutions that invest in Black and brown and Indigenous and immigrant and non-Western voices, in creating pipelines and opportunities for those who have been systemically disempowered.

For me, these lessons have led to starting from scratch and building something that embodies these values: investing deliberately in girls from around the world; creating a kind and curious community; cultivating a space that highlights our individual experiences, the ways in which power structures determine how we live differently across borders and zip codes, and also, our shared humanity.

I’m building a a global media venture that’s by and for girls — an organization that believes girls’ voices matter and invests in giving them the tools to tell their own stories and the platform to amplify their voices. And a platform that features individual girls’ stories while also cultivating a community that recognizes the universal experiences of girlhood and connects girls from across borders, demographics, and algorithmically curated feeds.

I know I’m not the only one leaving this year both exhausted and re-energized. After a year of constantly relearning our vulnerabilities, as individuals and communities, I hope we all carry more empathy and more understanding of our shared humanity with us into 2021. And with that, I hope we also bring a willingness to dismantle and reimagine broken systems and to invest in and create a more equitable future for our communities and for news.

Masuma Ahuja is founder of Girlhood*.

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