EJN is offering reporting grants to support the production of in-depth stories that highlight previously untold threats to global biodiversity or explore new conservation-based solutions.
Earth’s wildlife populations have dropped by ~69% in just under 50 years, according to the latest Living Planet Report produced by the World Wildlife Fund and Zoological Society of London. As humans persist in clearing forests, trading in species of flora and fauna, consuming beyond the limits of the planet and polluting on an industrial scale, the biodiversity that sustains a liveable planet continues to disappear.
Earlier this year, INTERPOL, recognizing the impact of environmental crime on biodiversity, deemed poaching and trafficking an international security priority. It is also a grave health concern: the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has warned that biodiversity loss increases the risk of future pandemics.
The media has an important part to play in raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity issues and enabling citizens, policymakers and private companies to determine how they can better address the drivers of biodiversity loss.
To support journalists around the world to produce engaging and fact-based stories for their home audiences, EJN is offering story grants through the Biodiversity Media Initiative, with financial support from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. You can read published stories from the first two rounds of Biodiversity story grants here.
For this particular grant opportunity, we are interested in funding ambitious stories that use innovative multimedia, collaborative or investigative approaches.
Special consideration will be given to applicants looking to conduct in-depth cross-border or enterprise reporting on biodiversity or conservation topics. Proposals for data journalism and geojournalism are welcome.
This year, themes we are interested in supporting include (but are not limited to):
Under-reported stories of trafficking of endangered flora and fauna and its impacts
New or little-known threats to species diversity
New methods to track environmental crimes such as illegal mining and logging and other drivers of biodiversity loss
Innovative, potentially scalable conservation solutions led by communities, governments or corporations
Efforts to boost “green” and “blue” economies to enable development that conserves rather than exploits the environment
As we are looking to raise global awareness about new threats or solutions, proposals that focus on topics or stories that have not been widely covered are preferred. Issues that have already received a lot of media coverage or don’t provide unique, high-impact angles are less likely to be selected.
For the purposes of this grant call, we are only accepting applications for stories focused on the countries listed here, though journalists from any country can apply.
Applications are open to journalists (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with experience in investigative reporting and covering environmental issues.
We encourage applications from freelancers and staff from all types of media organizations—international, national, local and community-based.
We’ll accept both individual and group applications, but for the latter we ask that the application is made in the name of one lead applicant who will receive the grant on the group’s behalf, if awarded.
EJN reserves the right to disqualify applicants from consideration if they have been found to have engaged in unethical or improper professional conduct.
We will consider a stipend for the reporters’ salary, particularly if the applicant is a freelancer. Please estimate the time you’ll need to complete this story and propose compensation you believe reflects a fair market rate. We ask, however, that this comprises no more than 30% of the total budget.
Acknowledgement of EJN support: Published stories and/or broadcasts must disclose EJN support by including this tagline: “This story was produced with support from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.”
Republication rights: Please note that Internews’ EJN and its partners have the right to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute grantees’ stories freely after they have been published/broadcast in the original media outlet. Full credit and a link will be provided to media organization that originally published/aired the stories.
Plan for timely publication: Reporters, whether freelance or employed at a media outlet, will need to include a letter of support from an editor in their application, committing to publish the stories by June 15, 2023. No extensions will be granted.
Applicants should consider the following points when devising their story proposals.
Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives of the 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 your 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, multimedia and data visualization will be considered a plus.
Click the ‘Apply now’ button at the top of the page.
If you have an existing account, you’ll need to log in. If not, you must register for an account by clicking “Join the Network” on the top right of the page.
If you start the application and want to come back and complete it later, you can click ‘Save Draft.’ To return to the draft, you’ll need to go back to the opportunity and click ‘Apply now’ again to finalize the application.
Applications should submit two samples of stories or links to relevant work, a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested, and a signed letter of support from their editor, explicitly stating that the media outlet will publish the stories produced as a result of this grant.
Note: You’ll be asked to upload these supporting documents once you start the application process, so please have them handy.
We expect to award story grants of up to $5,000 each, depending on the proposal and needs.
We plan to issue grants in December 2022 with the expectation that all stories will be published by June 2023 at the latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their workplan.
Safety: We encourage reporters to follow best practices for Covid-19 when out in the field so you do not endanger yourself or the people you’re interviewing. If needed, you should include any Covid-related costs, such as tests or personal protective equipment, in your budget.
Language of publication: Stories can be produced in any language. However, applicants who intend to write or produce stories in their local language need to also include an English translation. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary.
Story budget: Successful applicants are expected to put these grants toward travel for field reporting, research, and production. We expect that proposals will largely reflect what equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new equipment.
All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story.