Call for Proposals
Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is offering around 20 reporting grants to support the production of in-depth stories that will call attention to critical environmental issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process.
Asia now accounts for almost half of global greenhouse gas emissions, even as its countries’ populations, environment and economies are most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis.
Sea levels in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands are rising faster than any other part of the world. Megacities from Mumbai to Manila are increasingly vulnerable to flooding and subsidence exacerbated by unregulated development and infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, the threats of drought and desertification are intensifying. Global warming is destabilizing fragile mountain ecosystems and coral reefs. According to a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute, up to 1 billion people in Asia could be living in areas that with a probability of lethal heat waves by 2050.
In the present day, the interconnected risks of depleting natural resources, poverty, food insecurity, health epidemics and conflict continue to grow. For instance, air pollution decimates pollinator populations which in turn impacts food security. No one dimension can be effectively addressed in isolation. Yet, there is a lack of nuanced and compelling reporting that elaborates on these linkages and investigates cross-sectoral drivers and impacts, as well as potential solutions.
Despite the scale of these crises, many media outlets in the region, especially local ones at the frontlines of these challenges, don’t have sufficient resources to cover them effectively or to dedicate reporters to environmental and climate coverage.
To meet this need, EJN will provide story grants and one-on-one mentorship to selected journalists in the Asia-Pacific region. Through this activity, EJN aims to increase the quality and quantity of environmental stories from the region; and build the capacity of local journalists to improve their coverage of climate and environmental topics.
These story grants are made possible with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). In addition to funding, selected journalists will receive support from experienced mentors through the story production process.
EJN is pleased to offer up to 20 story grants of around USD 2,000 each to selected journalists from the Asia-Pacific to produce in-depth or investigative stories on environmental and climate issues in the region.
We are specifically seeking story pitches on cross-sectoral stories, especially stories that explore the impacts of environmental threats on other sectors.
Journalists may explore topics including (but not limited to):
- The disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation and climate change on women and other vulnerable groups (including the poor, youth, Indigenous Peoples, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities)
- The interdependence of the health and wellbeing of humans, animals, and their environments (such as zoonotic diseases, environmental contamination, antimicrobial resistance, etc) and One Health approaches to address these connected concerns in a multidisciplinary and integrated way
- Efforts to protect land and marine biodiversity from the impacts of logging, mining, fishing and other extractive activities
- The net zero transition: local, national and regional efforts to incentivize renewable energy and decarbonize economies
- Under-reported threats to wildlife, biodiversity conservation and climate resilience, and viable, potentially scalable solutions to counter these challenges
- Communities threatened by air and water pollution, displacement and/or rights violations
- On-the-ground challenges to implementing good governance measures, policies and regulations to manage waste, sustain natural resources and/or protect the environment
We aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about environmental and climate issues, amplify the voices of those most impacted and drive meaningful conversation among communities and policymakers at the local, national, and regional level, bringing about positive change.
We encourage stories that report on potential solutions and highlight how vulnerable communities are responding to environmental challenges. We are interested in supporting stories that use relevant data to illustrate the issue in a compelling and easy-to-understand way.
Finally, we are looking for stories with the potential to address domestic or transboundary environmental concerns, which highlight avenues for regional cooperation to tackle climate change.
Issues that have already received a lot of media coverage or don't provide fresh angles to well-covered issues are less likely to be selected.
We plan to issue grants in July with the expectation that all stories will be published by October 15, 2022 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: All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. We ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting, such as travel, accommodation, translation and data visualization. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story.
We will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative, collaborative or investigative approaches that may be more resource-intensive and time-consuming.
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 purchasing new equipment.
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: Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories first in their affiliated media as long as Internews’ EJN, its partners and the grant funders are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely.
Journalists from countries within the Asia-Pacific region are welcome to apply. For the purposes of this grant call, we are accepting applications from South Asia (note that applicants from Pakistan would require an overseas bank account to receive grants), Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Pacific region but not Australia or New Zealand.
Groups of journalists, including from different countries, are eligible. However, the application must be made in the name of one lead applicant. Lead applicants are responsible for communicating with EJN and receiving funds on the group’s behalf, if awarded.
For the purposes of this grant opportunity, we will accept applications in English. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages at this time. Applicants must either have a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with Internews staff.
Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio, multimedia) and other expert media practitioners with professional reporting experience. We welcome applications from early-career journalists and experienced reporters with a track record of reporting on environmental issues. We encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based.
EJN reserves the right to disqualify applicants from consideration if they have been found to have engaged in unethical or improper professional conduct.
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, does your proposal bring new insights to 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 spur action?
- Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches, multimedia, data visualization and transboundary collaboration will be considered a plus.
- 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 October 15, 2022.
- Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of the page.
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- 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 provide a detailed budget in an Excel spreadsheet with justification for the amount requested. Download the budget template now by clicking on this link.
- All applicants are required to provide 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.
- Applicants will also need to submit two samples of stories or links to relevant work.
Note: You'll be asked to upload these supporting documents once you start the application process, so please have them handy.
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.
Banner image: Despite China's rapid economic development, there remains a marked disparity between the country's wealthy and its underprivileged populations. This family, originally from Guizhou Province (a western China province), moved to the rich Delta Yangtze River coast in search of new opportunities. They currently work in a Jiangsu landfill, sifting through garbage in search of items they can salvage for resale / Credit: Sheila via Flickr.