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Biodiversity Story Grants 2020

Call for Proposals

Published on
18 Nov 2020
18 December 2020, 11:59 PM, (UTC -11) info.ejn [at] internews.org
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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.

This is the first round of story grants under the re-launch of our Biodiversity Media Initiative, with financial support from Arcadia - a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process.

Overview

The Earth is home to millions of species whose interactions keep our ecosystems and our planet in balance. This biodiversity provides us with the basic necessities of life - clean air, water and food, as well as a wide variety of other goods and services that enable us to thrive.

Despite the important roles that these species play in our daily lives, human activity poses the gravest threat to biodiversity at local to global scales. Forests are being cleared to make room for agricultural production, oceans are overfished and wildlife is in decline due to poaching and lost habitat. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of these issues - funding for critical conservation and ecotourism projects has been redirected or lost, economic growth has been prioritized over protecting wild spaces, and media coverage of the outbreak has dwarfed reporting on conservation.

Some experts estimate that the rapid species loss seen today is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate, or what would occur in the absence of human intervention. As habitats shrink and species disappear, so do the many important benefits that they provide us, from providing natural regulation of infectious diseases and being an important source of pharmaceuticals, to reducing the impact of natural disasters such as floods.

EJN is looking to capture the importance of these losses by commissioning a series of stories that investigate new threats to species diversity around the world, as well as innovative, potentially-scalable conservation solutions.

Story Themes

We welcome all story ideas, but special consideration will be given to applicants looking to conduct investigative or enterprise reporting on biodiversity or conservation topics. For this round, we are particularly interested in reading proposals that will examine intersections between the Covid-19 pandemic and biodiversity conservation.

As we are looking to bring global awareness to 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 angles are less likely to be selected.

 

Eligibility

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. We will also consider applications for stories about Russia, or by Russian journalists. 

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 organisations - international, national, local and community-based.

We are seeking to support both early-career and senior journalists with many years of reporting experience. 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.

Story approach & format

We expect to award between 6-10 grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the proposal and needs. We will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative or investigative approaches that may be more costly and time-consuming.

Applicants should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. We have not set a specific amount because we are asking you to consider what you'll need to do this type of reporting. We do ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting without being extraneous. We 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 producing new supplies.

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.

Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories in their affiliated media as long as EJN and Arcadia are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely. Freelance reporters should demonstrate a plan for publication or broadcast and are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from the editor.

 

Judging criteria

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 visualisation will be considered a plus.

 

Application process

  1. Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of the page
  2. 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.
  3. 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 finalise the application.
  4. Applications should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. Download the budget template now by clicking on this link. We expect that proposals will largely reflect what equipment the applicant already had access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story.
  5. You must submit two samples of stories or links to relevant work. You'll be asked to upload these once you start the application process so please get them ready beforehand.
  6. If you encounter difficulties with submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email [email protected]. Do not contact any other Internews email regarding this opportunity, as we will not receive it. 

 

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

These grants are part of a larger project being carried out by EJN to try and increase and improve reporting on biodiversity and conservation issues. Other activities that will be launched later this year and into 2021 include webinars and online training courses on biodiversity-related topics and Scholarships and Fellowship programs for reporters to cover key international conferences. Please keep a look out for more opportunities via the EJN website.

 

Banner image by Steve Halama via Unsplash.

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