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IWMF Grantee to Focus on Different Perspectives

Ye Charlotte Ming is a Chinese journalist based in Berlin, Germany.

The role of cigarettes in Chinese wedding celebrations; a daughter’s use of photography to chronicle her mother’s mental health struggles; the dwindling young community of the Scottish Western Isles. Freelance journalist Ye Charlotte Ming focuses on stories often hidden from public view.

“Stories that intrigue me the most are not that straightforward, but more nuanced and can bring different arguments to the table,” Ming told VOA. “So, I like to tell stories that are a bit unexpected and that challenge stereotypes.”

A Chinese journalist based in Berlin, Germany, Ming is one of two International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) Kim Wall Memorial Fund grantees. )

The memorial honors Kim Wall, a 30-year-old reporter killed while on assignment in Denmark in 2017. The family of the Swedish journalist have worked with the IWMF since 2018 to offer $5,000 grants to women who share Wall’s approach to reporting.

Wall worked extensively with the IWMF on reporting trips and was involved in the foundation’s African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative.

She “pursued stories that were often unreported on and beyond the popular narrative, and that’s what made her sing,” said Charlotte Fox, director of communications at the IWMF.

Ming’s work stood out to the IWMF because she shares that same drive, Fox said.

She also knew Wall. The pair worked together between 2016 and 2017 on a story about casinos in predominantly Chinese-speaking communities in Connecticut. Ming was the photographer and acted as a translator for Wall, who was reporting the story.

Because of Wall’s murder, the story was never published. But the assignment was typical of her focus on creative and untold narratives: an approach that Ming said she hopes to carry on with the grant.

“Reporting with [Kim] was full of adventures. She always wanted to talk to everyone, visit everywhere and leave no stones unturned,” Ming told VOA. “I learned a lot from the way she reported. She gravitated toward characters who are underdogs, independent women, and storied elderly — she was a natural journalist.”

The IWMF, which supports female journalists and works to diversify bylines through fellowships and grants, also named Astrid Landon as a 2022 grantee.

An audio editor based in Paris, Landon focuses predominantly on the mental health system and healthcare in France and the U.S.

Previous honorees of the Wall Memorial Fund used their grants to cover cultural or community driven stories.

“It's pretty incredible the lengths to which this reporting can go and what legacy and impression it can make on the grantees,” said Fox. “I think there's no greater way to recognize Kim than with that type of reporting.”

For Ming, the memorial is a way to honor Wall’s approach to journalism.

“I can continue to tell underreported stories about cultures and places that can deepen people's understanding of them,” she said. “I think Kim would be interested in those stories, too.”