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Reporting on Air Pollution in Jakarta, Indonesia

Call for Proposals
Published on
21 Aug 2022
hazy Jakarta at dawn
19 September 2022, 08:59 AM, Asia/Jakarta WIB (Extended Deadline) info.ejn [at]

Call for applications available in: Bahasa Indonesia.

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) invites journalists from Jakarta, Indonesia to apply for a story grant to report on air pollution in the city.

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


Air pollution is one of the biggest challenges in Indonesia and across the world, posing serious threats to human health, economy, and the overall ecological balance. Data from the Environmental Agency air quality monitoring station (SPKU) Kebon Jeruk shows in 2019, Jakarta experienced 8 days of poor air quality where the PM 2.5 level was above 200.   

 The country’s capital is also its economic backbone: Jakarta accounts for ~16% of national economic development. This of course, is one of the main factors driving the rapid growth of its population and its anthropogenic activities that produce air pollutants.

Air pollution and its associated public health risks have caught the attention of policymakers and researchers, but there is a lack of common understanding of this complex issue by various stakeholders.  A 2017 report published by the World Health Organization in the WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health found that air pollution risks are poorly reported on, and coverage is mostly one-dimensional and sometimes even misleading. The limited reporting – studied in the Indian media context but equally applicable to Indonesia – could be due to the complex nature of air pollution science and the barriers to understanding air quality data, as well as inadequate information available to journalists.  

The Information Ecosystem Assessment conducted by Internews in Jakarta under the Clean Air Catalyst project also highlights the existing information gap on air pollution and recommends that media, civil society organizations and government agencies should consolidate their efforts to bridge this gap and educate the public about its misperceptions. Clean Air Catalyst is the U.S Agency for International Development’s (USAID) flagship program that brings together a global consortium of organizations and is led by the World Resources Institute and Environmental Defense Fund, to accelerate clean air solutions by working with communities around the world to identify and raise awareness of local pollution sources, and to build focused coalitions which deliver interventions leading to cleaner, healthier air. The five-year program will build capacity for tailored, self-reliant solutions that reduce air pollution and improve human health in developing countries.  

As part of this project, EJN is offering story grants and mentorship to journalists in Jakarta to improve the quality and quantity of coverage of this issue, recognizing that mass media is critical in shaping public perceptions well as policies around air pollution.

Story Themes  

We welcome story ideas that focus on air pollution, especially in Jakarta and surrounding areas, and the threats it poses to local populations.  

Journalists may explore the impacts of air pollution on the local environment, the economy, health and development, among other topics. We welcome solutions-driven story pitches that focus on actions to reduce the level of air pollution and improve the quality of air in the state.  

We are particularly interested in story ideas that aim to report on air pollution in a gender-sensitive manner and ideas that center on gender issues, especially in communities that are highly vulnerable to air pollution. Ideas that have already received a lot of media coverage or don't include gender perspectives to air pollution challenges are less likely to be selected.   

We aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about air pollution among communities and policymakers at the local, national, and regional level.   


Journalists from Indonesia are eligible to apply. Those who participated in the Clean Air Catalyst media training workshop held in Jakarta, Indonesia in August 2022 will be given preference.   

Groups of journalists 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 be accepting applications in English and Bahasa Indonesia. Selected grantees can produce stories in English or Bahasa Indonesia.   

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with professional reporting experience. We welcome applications from early-career journalists and experienced reporters with a track record of covering air pollution. 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.  

Story logistics  

We expect to award up to 14 grants with an average budget of $1000 each. Generally speaking, applications with smaller budgets will be more competitive, but we will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative, collaborative or investigative approaches that may be more resource-intensive and time-consuming. 

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

Safety: We encourage reporters to follow best practices for Covid-19 while reporting. 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 English or Bahasa Indonesia. However, applicants who intend to write or produce stories in Bahasa Indonesia need to provide EJN with an English translation of the story in summary or its entirety. 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 and accommodation.    

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.   

We will consider a stipend for the reporters’ salary, particularly if the applicant is a freelancer. 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, the Clean Air Catalyst project and the grant funder, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely.  

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, 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 and data visualization 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 the end of November.  


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. Since we recently updated our website, you might have to reset your password by clicking the “Forgot password?” link in the log in page. If you don’t have an account, you must register by clicking “Log in” on the top right of the page and click the “Sign up” link at the bottom of the page that opens. Click here for detailed instructions on how to create an account, and here for detailed instructions on how to reset your password.  
  • 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. Please consider submitting at least one day in advance of the deadline to avoid any issues. 

Banner image: A hazy Jakarta at dawn / Credit: John and Melanie (Illingworth) Kotsopoulos via Flickr

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