Call for Proposals
EJN is offering story grants to journalists from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Vietnam to report on viral zoonotic diseases and efforts to prevent their spillover from animals to humans.
Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process.
More than 6 out of every 10 known infectious diseases are zoonotic – transmitted from animals to humans through direct contact or through food, water or the environment. One estimate suggests that 75% of emerging pathogens are zoonotic in origin. COVID-19 highlights the devastating global consequences of zoonotic diseases, yet, more than two years into this pandemic, we do not yet understand everything we need to know in order to prevent the next one.
Public awareness of the risks of zoonotic diseases is limited, and in many parts of the world the pandemic response has been characterized by a lack of data and rampant misinformation. In order to act effectively, governments, policymakers and communities need reliable, evidence-based and robust information to make informed decisions and push for change.
To enable journalists to disseminate science-based information to the communities most at risk, EJN has joined a global consortium led by Tufts University and USAID, known as STOP Spillover, which is working to understand and address the risks posed by known zoonotic viruses with the potential to spill over from animals and cause outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics in humans.
As part of this project, EJN is offering story grants to journalists to increase public information and journalists’ capacity around this topic. With 1-1 mentoring, journalists will be well-positioned to combat mis- and disinformation and produce high-quality reporting on the threats of zoonotic diseases as well as the solutions to prevent future spillover events.
We welcome story ideas that focus on the following zoonotic viruses:
- Animal-origin zoonotic influenza viruses
- Animal-origin coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV)
- Nipah virus
- Lassa virus
We aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about viral zoonotic diseases and drive conversation among communities and policy makers at the local, national, and regional level. 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 or don't provide unique angles are less likely to be selected.
We welcome stories that highlight data and the latest scientific research and explain the drivers of zoonotic spillover, identify prevention strategies to anticipate and mitigate future outbreaks; and elaborate on the intersections of public health and other global issues.
We are particularly interested in story ideas that aim to report on zoonotic diseases and spillover in a gender-sensitive manner and highlight ideas that center on gender issues, especially in communities that are highly vulnerable to spillover threats. To that end, ideas that don't include gender perspectives to zoonotic diseases and their spillover challenges are less likely to be selected.
Only journalists based in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Vietnam are eligible to apply.
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 accept applications in English and French. However, stories may be produced in any language.
Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio). Freelance reporters and staff reporters from international, national, local or community-based outlets are eligible. We encourage applications from early-career journalists, but experienced reporters with a track record of reporting on health and environmental issues are also welcome to apply.
EJN reserves the right to disqualify applicants from consideration if they have been found to have engaged in unethical or improper professional conduct.
We expect to award at least one grant to each target country, with an average budget of $1,200 each.
We plan to issue grants in August 2022 with the expectation that all stories will be published by November 30 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 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 and accommodation. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story.
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 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. 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 funder, USAID, are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely.
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 November 30.
- 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 finalise 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.
Visit the STOP Spillover website for more information and to subscribe for project updates.
Banner image: Avian influenza surveillance at Bangkok’s Klongtoey Market / Credit: Richard Nyberg, USAID via Flickr.