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Internews’ EJN is offering story grants of USD 1,500 to USD 2,500 to journalists to produce stories on transnational conservation crimes in the Amazon Region and the threats faced by Indigenous peoples and local communities in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Peru.
Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process.
An increase in environmental crimes poses significant risks to the Amazon Region. Wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, unsustainable fishing, and the expansion of mining and agricultural activities are some of the issues threatening the Amazon ecosystem and the Indigenous peoples and local communities it is home to.
Journalists, independent media outlets, and environmental defenders, already constrained by a lack of economic resources and training, are often confronted with violence and threats to their security.
In this context, it is important to improve the quality of coverage of environmental issues in the Amazon and expose the several threats prevalent in the region.
To help meet this need, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Internews Americas team are offering story grants to journalists and communicators from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Peru, to strengthen their capacities to produce high-quality, factual, and engaging public information on the impacts of conservation crimes, their association with biodiversity loss and climate change, and to highlight viable community-led and policy-driven solutions to mitigate these impacts.
This opportunity is offered as part of the Together for Conservation project, which aims to strengthen the capacities of civil society actors and their regional networks to conserve biodiversity and prevent environmental crimes in the Amazon. It is led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The project aims to facilitate safe and effective collaboration among journalists, independent media, and communicators to support the production of content that amplifies Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ issues. The goal is also to promote transparency and accountability to combat transnational conservation crimes in the Amazon basin.
We welcome story ideas that focus on the threats to biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods due to activities such as illegal logging, unsustainable fishing, wildlife trafficking, and illegal mining.
We also welcome solutions-driven story pitches highlighting the actions of policymakers, civil society organizations, Indigenous peoples and local communities, and business sectors to deter and mitigate the threats posed by conservation crimes in the Amazon. Such activities include, for instance, sustainable forestry management practices, tracing and monitoring wildlife trafficking, and efforts to deter illegality across the value chain, such as certification, among others.
We aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about conservation crimes among communities and policymakers at the local, national, and regional levels.
Proposals related to transnational economic or illicit activities and/or focusing on supply chain investigation are preferred.
Applicants can be based in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Peru; applicants residing in the Amazon region of these countries are preferred.
Groups of journalists are eligible. However, the application must be made in the name of one lead applicant. If awarded, the lead applicant is responsible for communicating with EJN and receiving funds on the group’s behalf.
For the purposes of this grant opportunity, we will be accepting applications in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
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 environment conservation topics in the Amazon region. 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.
We expect to award up to 30 grants of around USD 1,500 to USD 2,000 each. We expect applications requesting higher amounts of around US$2,500 to include cross-country collaboration and/or be produced in partnerships of two or more outlets or organizations.
We plan to issue grants in February 2023 with the expectation that all stories will be published by August 2023 at the latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their work plan.
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. You should include Covid-related costs, such as tests or personal protective equipment, in your budget if needed.
Before starting their reporting, selected grantees will also have to participate in a free online one-day workshop on digital and physical security provided by Internews.
Language of publication: Stories can be produced in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Applicants who intend to write or produce stories in languages other than English must also include an English translation. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary.
Story budget: Successful applicants are expected to allocate grant resources toward travel for field reporting, accommodation, travel insurance, story research and production.
All applicants must provide a detailed budget with justification for the requested amount using the template provided. 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 multimedia, 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. Please note: the use of drones is regulated by law and will require a license and authorization from the relevant government.
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.
Acknowledgment of EJN support: Published stories and/or broadcasts must disclose EJN support by including this tagline: “This story was produced with support from the 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 Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the grant funder, the United States Agency for International Development (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? Are 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: Using 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 August 2023.
- 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 on 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 clicking 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.
If you encounter difficulties submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 before the deadline to avoid any issues.
This grant opportunity is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This call and the outputs produced by story grantees do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government or Wildlife Conservation Society.