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Investigating Environmental Policy in Latin America

Call for Proposals

Published on
17 Mar 2021
27 April 2021, 06:00 PM, EST (Extended Deadline) info.ejn [at] internews.org
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EJN is offering reporting grants to support the production of enterprise stories that will explore how international diplomacy is shaping environmental policy in Latin America as well as the health and well-being of certain communities.

Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process. A translation of this call is available in Spanish and Portuguese below.

Overview

Latin America is one of the world’s most biologically diverse regions, home to 40% of the Earth’s species, more than a quarter of its forests and its second-largest reef system. But like much of the planet, the impacts of a warming climate are wreaking havoc on those rich ecosystems, endangering agricultural production and harming human health and livelihoods. Industrial activities, such as mining and deforestation, as well as the trade in wildlife and forest products are exacerbating these problems.

At the same time, responding to these environmental challenges is no longer just a local or regional concern, and other major actors, including the United States, the European Union, and China, are increasingly attempting to influence environmental and climate policies in the region.

What do those political plays mean for individuals and communities in the Latin American region, particularly those that have traditionally been overlooked or underserved? How are current environmental policies in the different countries that make up this region influencing political and economic relationships within the region and beyond, particularly among the US, EU and China? And what impact are decisions made at the state level having on individuals and local communities?

This project aims to provide new insight into Latin America’s environmental challenges and the region’s various policy responses. It will explore the political and economic implications of environmental policymaking, with a particular emphasis on how those decisions are playing out at a local level.

Story Themes

We welcome any story ideas that explore environmental and natural resource governance and the way the environmental policies of Latin American countries – particularly Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru – are shaping their foreign and economic relations. One example is how the EU is pushing back on a trade deal with Mercosur because of deforestation in Brazil. We are particularly interested in stories on environmental degradation related to extractive industries, deforestation, illegal and unregulated fishing and more. Here are some questions applicants might consider in drafting their proposals:

  • How are ties between countries in the region and those outside it, specifically the EU, China and the US, shaping environmental policies in Latin America?
  • How much political power do local extractive industries (including mining, fishing, forestry) wield in Latin America and how do they affect policies and/or enforcement?
  • What are the risks facing environmental activists/defenders in the region?
  • How might international climate conversations and the decisions made at high-level conventions, such as UN climate talks, shape conditions at the local level?
  • What’s the environmental impact of supply chains that facilitate the export of goods from Latin America to Europe, the US, China and elsewhere?

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 and don’t provide new insights into the environmental challenges and opportunities in the region are less likely to be selected. For the purposes of this opportunity, we welcome stories that look at either land or ocean-based environmental issues.

Eligibility

We will be accepting applications in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Applications written in a language other than these will not be considered. Applicants must either have a working understanding of English or Spanish or have a translator available to assist with communication with Internews staff. Writing samples can be in any language but will be subject to machine translation for judging.  

For the purposes of this grant, we are accepting applications from reporters in Central America, South America and the Caribbean (see the complete list here).

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with experience in investigative reporting and covering environmental issues. We also welcome applications from business reporters interested in reporting on the environment and economic linkages.

We encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations - international, national, local and community-based. We do ask, however, that your proposed story is targeted to the audience that your publication reaches.

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 at least four grants at an average grant size of $1,500 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. Proposals with smaller budget requests will generally have an advantage upon review. Mostly, we are looking for high-quality stories and ideas, whatever the budget request.

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.

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, The Wilson Center, are also given proper credit and the 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? Is the main idea, context and overall value of the story 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 visualization 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 finalize 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. 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 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.

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

If you encounter any difficulties submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email [email protected].

Banner image: The road to Machu Picchu, Peru / Credit: KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

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