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Story Grants to Report on South Africa Pathways to Net Zero

Call for Proposals

Published on
13 Jan 2023
electricity transmission wires in an open landscape
20 February 2023, 11:59 PM, Africa/Johannesburg SAST info.ejn [at] internews.org
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EJN is offering reporting grants to journalists in South Africa to support the production of in-depth stories on South Africa’s Road to Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions.   

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


Overview 

In recent years, several countries have set increasingly ambitious decarbonization goals. At COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, South Africa committed to reach Net Zero by 2050 and increased its ambitions to cut emissions. South Africa is responsible for 1.06% of the world’s total carbon emissions. The world’s 13th highest emitter, it is the largest emitter in Africa. 

What will this transition entail? What steps are needed to move towards the target, and what will need to be done to ensure the country is on track for a just transition?  

The country is tasked with achieving this goal by developing policies and plans to execute the pathways most fit for various sectors of the economy to get there. Journalists have a unique responsibility to disseminate factual, contextual, and enriching stories about this critical transition – the risks, opportunities, and challenges.  

This grant call is part of EJN’s Pathways to Net Zero in India and South Africa project. The project aims to increase the quality and quantity of net zero-related stories in the media; and build the capacity of journalists to improve their coverage of related topics. Interested applicants are encouraged to read EJN’s tipsheet, A Journalist’s Guide to Covering Net Zero in South Africa, before applying. 


Story themes 

We welcome unique story ideas that focus on: 

  • socio-economic challenges and opportunities to achieving net zero,  
  • sectoral plans and policies in industries like transport, electricity, automotive, fuel, mining, agriculture and manufacturing; 
  • finance and capital investments, available and suitable technologies, and infrastructure; 
  • areas of potential growth and development in a green economy 
  • gender, and minorities most affected by potential disruption to decarbonization efforts. 


Journalists may explore in depth features on labor and communities on the fringes of high-emitting industries; data journalism projects on energy, finance and markets, as well as stories that highlight opportunities for previously disadvantaged groups and local economies.  

We aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about South Africa’s net zero target 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 to environmental or climate challenges are less likely to be selected.  


Eligibility 

The workshop is open to journalists from South Africa.  

Self-motivated journalists interested in covering the transition to Net Zero are invited to apply. We are especially eager to hear from journalists reporting on business, finance and tech perspectives, or those closely covering the country’s emission-reduction policies. 

We welcome applications from journalists from print, television, online and/or radio, with a demonstrated track record of producing incisive, in-depth stories. 

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 only be accepting applications in English. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages currently. Applicants must either have a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with Internews staff. 

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 five story grants with an average budget of EUR 1000.  

We plan to issue grants in March with the expectation that all stories will be published by the end of May 2023. 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 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 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 June 2023. 


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. 


Banner image: South Africa pledged to reach Net Zero by 2050 / Credit: Bruchin Noeka via Unsplash. 

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