AWARDING COURAGE: “With regard to the death of journalism, it’s totally bogus,” said Glamour’s editor in chief Cindi Leive during the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Courage in Journalism Awards ceremony last week at the Beverly Hills Hotel. As proof, Leive, who cohosted the ceremony with Olivia Wilde, pointed to the four award recipients: Najiba Ayubi, director of The Killid Group in Afghanistan; Nour Kelze, a photographer for Reuters in Syria; Bopha Phorn, a reporter for The Cambodia Daily, and Edna Machirori, the first black female editor of a newspaper in Zimbabwe, who was recognized for a lifetime of achievement.

“Even though they grew up in these cultures where maybe as women they weren’t encouraged to work or grew up under governments that didn’t consider journalism acceptable and dismissed or threatened journalists, they still are putting themselves out there to do it. It makes you feel that we all as humans have this drive to tell this truth,” said Leive.

This story first appeared in the November 4, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The award recipients couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Upon receiving her award, Ayubi said, “Journalism is not my job. It is my life. Standing here, I would like to renew my commitment to freedom of expression in my country.”

Phorn explained her dedication to journalism simply: “I believe I can make change.” Stewarding the event that paid tribute to female journalists overcoming challenges to pursue their work, Wilde said, was “a very personal honor for me because my mother [Leslie Cockburn] is a journalist and has worked in many dangerous war zones and has dedicated her life to this work. I leapt at the opportunity to be able to honor women doing that around the world. It was a perfect fit for me, and I couldn’t have been more grateful that they wanted me to be a part of it.” When the event wrapped up, Lubov Azria summed up the feelings of many in the room by saying, “It was humbling. It was absolutely humbling.”

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