Out of Balance
The Earth is home to millions of species whose interactions keep our ecosystems and our planet in balance. This biodiversity provides the clean air we breathe and the food we eat, as well as a wide variety of other goods and services that enable us to thrive.
Despite the important roles 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.
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 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.
The Earth Journalism Network 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.
Funding for this series is being provided by the Arcadia Fund.
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.
As we are looking to bring global awareness to new threats or solutions to global biodiversity, proposals that focus on new topics or stories that have not been widely covered are preferred. Issues that have already been widely covered or don’t provide unique angles are less likely to be selected.
EJN is offering grants typically ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the proposal and method of coverage, with some flexibility for deep, investigative stories using innovative approaches to storytelling. Applicants should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. For investigative stories that may incur costs greater than $2,000, we encourage applicants to propose possible partnership opportunities with other media outlets in order to conduct more in-depth reporting.
We expect that proposals will largely reflect what equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc) and are less likely to approve budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies.
Expected story lengths:*
Investigative piece: 2,500 to 5,000 words (can be combined with video, photos, graphics, and/or maps)
News article: 500 to 1,200 words
Multimedia package: Video piece 2-6 minutes in length that can be accompanied by possible graphics, photos, text, maps
*NOTE: Proposals for long-form narratives and news articles should include plans for accompanying multimedia elements such as photos and video.
Who should apply?
Journalists (online, print, television) and other expert media practitioners with a track record of reporting on environmental issues are welcome to apply. We encourage freelancers and staff from all types of media outlets—both large and small—to submit applications.
Publication of funded stories
It is a condition of the grant that Internews and the Arcadia Foundation can publish and distribute the funded stories. However, the writers / producers of funded stories will also be free to publish or broadcast their stories in other media outlets, and indeed are encouraged to do so.
Deadline for applications is February 18, 2016 at 1700 EST.