IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards Microsite

A Powerful Design for a Nonprofit’s Virtual Event

The International Women’s Media Foundation is a passionate NGO that empowers female journalists with safety trainings, reporting fellowships, mentoring opportunities, and recognition for their important work across the globe. We’ve been lucky enough to have worked with the IWMF for the past few years on their primary web presence (Interested? Read the IWMF nonprofit website redesign case study), so we were thrilled when they approached us again for a supplementary site that would promote their annual event, the Courage in Journalism Awards.

The Courage in Journalism Awards – backed by sponsors like The Washington Post, CNN, CBS News, and Bloomberg Philanthropies – celebrate brave women journalists who have overcome oppression, harassment, and other hardships in their relentless fight to deliver high quality, accurate reporting. While the event is usually held in-person, COVID-19 restrictions meant that the 2020 and 2021 programs took place virtually on Washington Post Live – the newsroom’s platform for live journalism content.

In order to boost excitement and spread the word about the event’s virtual format, we worked with the IWMF to develop a microsite that would introduce the award recipients and encourage supporters to register online. The result: a bold digital hub for The Courage in Journalism Awards that will support the IWMF’s long term event planning needs in addition to publicizing the event each year. 

Striking Design

When imagining the look and feel of the microsite, we were inspired by the extraordinary strength of the women who were being honored by the IWMF. In order to communicate that feeling visually, we combined a powerful black background (a 2021 web design trend!) with high-contrast accents, memorable custom typography, and graphic strokes and splatters of ink. The aesthetic as a whole is dramatic and strong – a perfect tribute to the female journalists who are making their mark on the world.

Goal Oriented

The primary goal for the site was to encourage visitors to register and watch the event on Washington Post Live. We addressed this objective by incorporating registration buttons and calls-to-action throughout the design. By offering multiple paths to the sign-up page, we ensured that site visitors would be able to register at any point in their browsing experience.

Easy Management

Like the IWMF’s main nonprofit website design, we built the Courage microsite on a flexible WordPress base. The custom WordPress setup allows site administrators to quickly and easily update content, add new images and announcements, and manage the site’s unique digital event program.

The digital program exists as an interior page of the microsite. Similar to a traditional program, it showcases event sponsors and hosts while also highlighting advertisements and congratulatory messages for the honorees. And thanks to the intuitive blocks-based setup, the IWMF can control each of these elements in the WordPress content management system.

Future Directions

After the event took place, the IWMF updated the microsite to include videos from the presentation, acceptance speeches from award recipients, and video stories on each of the honorees. It’s a great recap of the event for those who couldn’t make it, and also serves as an ideal starting point for those who may be interested in attending or sponsoring a future program. 

In 2021, the IWMF approached us again to refresh the event microsite in preparation for another year of virtual celebrations. To do this, we transformed the core 2020 setup with new colors, patterns, and typography treatments that create a bold and maximalist overall effect. And because the base functionalities stayed the same, admins can continue to manage content using the existing WordPress CMS.  

It was a pleasure to work with the IWMF on this project, and we look forward to offering ongoing support as they continue to grow their web presence.