As an organization, the Earth Journalism Network has a long history of institution building as part of its efforts to establish national networks of environmental journalists. EJN has used its small grants program to provide seed money for these local initiatives that range from holding trainings, creating SMS news networks, sponsoring youth environmental journalism competitions, and founding new journalism networks.
This grants program was created as a mechanism to respond the needs of the EJN's community of environmental journalists. With a focus on building the capacities of local networks and their members, EJN is able to cultivate and expand its network of partners by working with local journalists in their native languages. In most cases, grantees create self-sustaining local institutions that can provide their members with long-term capacity-building programs and the kind of clout that comes by working as a coherent group. Grant recipients are as follows:
Nigeria - The Development Communications Network trained environment journalists to use tools such as data wrapper, JEO WordPress template -- a GeoJournalism platform which allows news organizations, bloggers and NGOs to publish news stories as layers of information on digital maps -- Google fusion and other mapping tools to report on environment issues in Nigeria.
The participants also discussed topical issues in environment reporting and formed the Network of Environment Journalists in Nigeria under EJN's umbrella with a mission "To ensure a safe and healthy environment through effective communication, engagements and technological applications to stir up actions for change."
Bulgaria -- BlueLink created a "Virtual Newsroom," an operational not-for-profit journalism network. A designated web space for quality journalism stories entitled Evromegdan.bg was designed and launched by BlueLink during the project's implementation period, using matching project funding from the European Economic Area NGOs Grant Support Program for Bulgaria.
A key partnership for the success of the project was established with students and young journalists – founders and members of Reaktsia Radio – a web based radio channel, hosted by the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communications at Sofia University.
Bluelink reported that activities seeded with this grant have initiated continued work beyond the scope of EJN's funding, including a roundtable in November on quality journalism.
Pakistan -- Pakistan's National Council of Environmental Journalists (NCEJ) focused their project on strengthening their network via the recruitment of new membership through training. NCEJ held 10 training workshops (classroom and field training) on the most crucial environmental issues – particularly those pertaining to water threats – facing Pakistan. This series of trainings resulted in over 70 published stories and initiated a redesign of the NCEJ's official website, transforming it into an information hub for environmental journalists and a repository for stories produced as the result of the trainings.
Following these changes, a mainstream Pakistani private Urdu language television channel Abb Takk contacted NCEJ and asked to sign an agreement with Abb Takk under which they will broadcast video and print stories from NCEJ's new website, The Nature News (TNN), shared on their official website.
Brazil -- A grant was provided to O Eco, a leading pioneer in the burgeoning GeoJournalism movement, to facilitate the creation of CartoChaco, the first multimedia journalistic and data hub of information about the Chaco, a four-country region in South America that has seen a great surge of deforestation caused by agricultural activities and cattle ranching.
An alliance of organizations launched CartoChaco in July. The site uses richly designed maps powered by satellite data and journalistic stories to reveal the impacts of natural resources exploitation in this part of South America. CartoChaco's multidisciplinary team of researchers, cartographers, developers and journalists have the goal of creating a community of experts, media and citizens involved in the conservation of the Gran Chaco.
Mongolia - According to the World Health Organization, Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar is the world's second most polluted city, yet in-depth coverage of the public health threat this pollution poses is lacking.
To strengthen Mongolia's network of environmental journalists, the Press Institute of Mongolia (PIM) used EJN's grant to hold a series of education and training programs for both professional and student journalists on the issue of air pollution, its environmental and health impacts, and first-hand data collection using available sensor technology.
In Argentina, Claves21, an environmental news site, is uniting environmental journalists with new media specialists to develop a series of Spanish language training materials on how to integrate Web 2.0 tools - multimedia storytelling, crowd-sourced data collection, and mapping - into environmental reporting.
The Réseau des Journalistes pour le Droit de l’Homme en République Centrafricaine (Network of Journalists for Human Rights in the Central African Republic) is holding a series of workshops focused on environmental topics relevant to the Central African Republic (CAR) and distributing the resulting stories to a network of 15 radio stations.
The Third Pole Project will work to create new networks of environmental journalists throughout Central and South Asia as part of an on-going project to connect journalists across the region and provide information on environmental change in Asia's mountain regions.
The Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists is building a SMS-based news service that connects hyper-local reports on environmental issues and disaster events to a national audience. The project includes the development of a new website and trainings held with local journalists and their audiences.
In Tunisia, a new environmental reporting network will be created through multiple mechanisms, including workshops, sponsoring members of the network to report from international environmental conferences, and working partnerships with fellow environmental journalists in other countries on the Mediterranean. To house the stories written by network members, this project will also set up an environmental news section of NAWAAT, an independent collective blog that aggregates media from a variety of sources to provide a forum for citizen journalists.
European Youth Press’ Reporting on the Green Economy challenged 50 young journalists from Europe to file media reports about green economy success stories and green solutions in their communities. “The EJN grant will help young journalists in Europe gain valuable skills in environmental reporting and will contribute to the birth of a new generation of environmental journalists.” - Carmen Paun, European Youth Press
Eco-Forum’s Development of a Network of Environmental Journalists in Uzbekistan carried out a range of activities, including a national environmental journalism contest and building an electronic database of publications on major environmental issues. “We believe that the EJN grant will help to achieve improved quality and sustainability of the local media through capacity building of environmental journalism in the country, creating a clear and workable, high quality, high-grade network that can grow and make a real contribution to addressing environmental issues.” - Artur Vakhitov, Eco-Forum of Uzbekistan
The Cambodia Institute for Media Studies’ (CIMS) Building Cambodian Journalists’ Capacity to Report on Climate Change held climate change reporting trainings for Cambodian journalists and worked to build a stronger local network of environmental journalists.
The Union of Environmental Journalists’ (UEJ) Rebranding of Environmental Journalism in Sierra Leone sealed the collaboration of four existing networks of environmental journalists in Sierra Leone. “This grant is going to be a rescue-line for our handful of local environmental journalist networks and the rebranded African Network of Earth Journalists in Sierra Leone formed with this grant will become a rigid platform where we can cultivate 21st Century skills and survive the tidal variations of future environmental reporting.” - Harold Williams, UEJ