EJN offering Grants to support In-Depth and Investigative Reporting on Environmental Issues

Deadline: 21 August 2019

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is offering grants to journalists in Central America to support in-depth and investigative reporting on environmental issues related to the Mesoamerican Reef, an expansive reef system increasingly vulnerable to climate change and human activity.

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The Mesoamerican Reef System, or MAR, stretches along the coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras and is home to a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna. It also serves as the backbone of an ecosystem that sustains many coastlines as a habitat for marine life, a source of food and a driver of tourism that fuels local economies.

Hundreds of years in the making, these corals are now threatened by unregulated tourism, pollution, overfishing, bacterial diseases and habitat destruction due to real estate and hotel development. Yet the region and millions of people within it depend on the health of the reef system to thrive, making adaptation and conservation imperative.

EJN’s Mesoamerican Reef Reporting project aims to increase the quality and quantity of coverage for this reef system by providing grants and mentorship to individual journalists to report on issues related to the reef, thereby improving public awareness and national, regional, and international responses for better management and policy solutions to address environmental challenges and ensure the health of the reef system. This work is made possible with funding from The Summit Foundation.

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Types of Stories

  • EJN is seeking in-depth or investigative stories that focus on the effects of climate and environmental change and human activity on the Mesoamerican Reef in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras.
  • EJN is looking for stories that rely on scientific evidence and employ data to report on these impacts in a compelling and easy-to-understand way. EJN also encourage proposals that explore potential solutions and address how vulnerable communities are responding to challenges.
  • Stories with the potential to inform policy decisions by addressing domestic or trans-boundary regulations for the reef will be highly supported.

Criteria

  • Journalists (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners — international, national, local and community-based — and/or have a track record of reporting on the effects of climate change and environmental degradation on the Mesoamerican Reef, are particularly encouraged to apply. EJN also welcome applications from freelancers, but they should demonstrate a plan for publication and are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from an editor.
  • For this round of grants, EJN is looking for applications from both:
    • Early-career journalists with less than 5 years of reporting experience and;
    • Mid-level/senior reporters with at least 5 years of experience.
  • Please indicate in the application form which category applicants are applying for, how they would benefit from this funding and what type of support applicants hope to receive.
  • Grantees are free to publish or broadcast their stories in their affiliated media first, as long as EJN and The Summit Foundation are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely.

Story Approach and Format

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  • EJN expects to award around six grants ranging from $500 to $1,000 depending on the proposal and reporting format. EJN will consider larger awards for in-depth stories using innovative or investigative approaches that may be more costly. Applicants should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template. EJN expect that stories will be produced with equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies.
  • EJN also encourage the use of multimedia and new or unique media platforms to present and share the stories. Applicants with ideas for long-form and multimedia narratives should include plans and budget for these accompanying elements (i.e. video, photos) and distribution channels in their pitch.
  • Stories can be produced in Spanish, English or local languages. Applicants who intend to write or produce stories in Spanish or local languages should also include a translation of the headline and a short summary in English for publication by EJN and the Summit Foundation.
  • Please also note on applicants budget form if they are receiving funding from other donors for the story.

Judging Criteria

Applicants should consider the following points when devising their story proposals:

  • Timing: They expect the proposed story or stories to be published within three months of the application deadline, or no later than December 2019.
  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives of this call? Why does this story matter and to whom? Is the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly defined?
  • Angle: If the story has been covered by mainstream media, does applicants proposal bring new insights into the topic or offer a fresh angle?
  • Impact: Does the proposal have a compelling narrative or investigative element that will inform and engage, draw attention, trigger debate and urge action?
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches and data visualization will be considered a plus.
  • Feasibility: Can the story be realistically completed within the target time frame? Is the budget realistic?
  • Diversity: They will take gender and geographical distribution into account when selecting the grantees in addition to the criteria above.

How to Apply

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Interested applicants can apply via given website.

For more information, please visit https://earthjournalism.net/opportunities/call-for-proposals-mesoamerican-reef-story-grants

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