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Indigenous Environmental Journalism Story Grants

Call for Proposals

Published on
11 Feb 2021
13 March 2021, 11:59 PM, (UTC +13) info.ejn [at] internews.org
EJN is offering reporting grants to Indigenous journalists to support the production of in-depth stories that will call attention to climate justice, biodiversity, sustainable ecosystems and other issues related to the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities.  

Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process. You can download translations of the call in Spanish and Portuguese at the bottom of this page.

Overview 

Globally, Indigenous peoples make up less than five percent of the total human population – about 370 million people – yet they manage or call home to more than a quarter of the world’s land area. Those regions also support 80 percent of the planet’s global biodiversity. 

But their perspectives are often missing from global conversations about biodiversity, climate change and other critical environmental issues. Although their traditional land-use practices often focus on sustainability and conservation, their land rights, sovereignty, and safety are constantly under threat by governments and corporations seeking to exploit the environment. And while their environmental footprint is small, they often bear the fallout of environmental degradation, with little access to services, financial resources or platforms that help boost their visibility and allow for information sharing. 

Through funding offered by the Nia Tero Foundation, EJN is providing 10 grants averaging $1,250 to Indigenous journalists looking to investigate and produce stories about environmental degradation in Indigenous communities as well as explore strategies for adaptation and resilience.  

Story themes 

We welcome any story ideas that will explore how environmental and climate change issues are linked to the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities. We are particularly interested in stories that explore environmental solutions and resiliency, focus on resource use and traditional management practices, investigate land rights and environmental sovereignty, or highlight the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Indigenous land and communities. 

Proposals that focus on topics or stories that have not been widely covered are preferred. Issues that have already received a lot of media attention or don't provide unique angles to environmental challenges are less likely to be selected. 

Eligibility 

Applicants must self-identify as Indigenous and will be asked to provide the name of their Indigenous community in the application. Applicants can be from any country in the world. 

For the purposes of this grant opportunity, we will accept applications in any language but those we receive that are not in English will be subject to machine translation. We do ask that applicants have either a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with EJN staff for follow-up interviews or, if selected, for mentorship and engagement. 

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with investigative reporting experience and a history of covering environmental issues. We encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations - 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 10 grants with an average budget of $1,250, depending on the proposal and needs outlined in the budget submission. We will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative or investigative approaches that may be more costly and time-consuming. 

We plan to issue grants in late April with the expectation that all stories will be published by the end of September at the very latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their work plan. 

All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. We have not set a specific amount for each grant 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, such as travel and accommodation. We expect that stories will be produced with equipment applicants already have access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies or devote a large amount to applicants’ salaries. 

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.  

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 first in their affiliated media as long as EJN and the grant funder, Nia Tero Foundation, are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely. Freelance reporters should demonstrate a plan for publication or broadcast, and all applicants are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from their 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? Are 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 urge action? 
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches, multimedia and data visualisation will be considered a plus. 

 

Application process 

  • 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 finalise the application. 
  • 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 has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies. We will consider some costs for the reporters’ salary, particularly if the applicant is a freelancer, but this should be a small portion of the total budget. Please include the cost for translation, if necessary. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story. 
  • 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. 

 

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered. 

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.  

 

Banner image: Indigenous peoples in the Philippines led a protest against mining in 2008 / Credit: Keith Bacongco via Flickr

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