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Pacific Islands Story Grants: Strengthening Reporting on the Ocean in the Pacific

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is offering 12 reporting grants to support the production of in-depth stories that will call attention to critical environmental issues in the Pacific region.



Deadline: 30 April 2022, 11:59 PM, (UTC -11)

info.ejn@internews.org


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

Overview

The Pacific Islands are extremely vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation. Communities in the Pacific depend entirely on the sea and shrinking land masses for survival. Many fear the loss of the endemic flora and fauna that are a source of cultural and economic richness.


Although Islanders’ lives are reliant on ocean health for food, livelihood, transport and economic development, Pacific Ocean habitats and marine species are increasingly threatened by proposed deep-sea mining, ocean acidification and eutrophication, overfishing and pollution.


Island communities are further impacted by frequent floods, sea level rise, coastal development, deforestation, invasive species, food insecurity and other environmental hazards. Displacement, migration, and managed retreat has become all too common.

The protection of the resources and people in this region is a matter of extreme urgency, yet Pacific Island communities rarely have the opportunity to tell their stories in the media.

To meet this need, EJN and the Waitt Institute aim to build the capacity of local journalists to improve their coverage of climate and environmental topics; and increase the quality and quantity of stories from the Pacific Islands in the media.


On March 28, March 31 and April 4 from 1-3pm (Fiji time), a virtual media workshop, “Strengthening Ocean Reporting in the Pacific Islands”, will be held for journalists in the Pacific, to discuss ways to advance public understanding of the serious state of the environment and ocean, foster public awareness of the need for marine protection and sustainable ocean management, and to cultivate a sustainable network of Pacific Islands journalists who are knowledgeable about the challenges and solutions to protect and conserve the ocean.


Following the workshop, up to 12 story grants will be made available. These story grants are made possible with support from the Waitt Institute, a non-profit organization that supports countries around the globe to balance the needs of the economy and the environment through marine conservation, and Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. In addition to funding, selected journalists will receive support from experienced mentors through the story production process.


Story Themes

We are pleased to offer up to 12 story grants to selected journalists from the Pacific Islands to produce in-depth or investigative stories on environmental and climate issues in the region. It is expected that at least six of these stories will be focused on ocean issues, such as efforts and solutions to protect the ocean, ways to increase ocean’s resilience to climate change and regulate sustainable use of its resources.

Journalists may explore questions such as (but not limited to):

  • How important is ocean health in the fight against climate change? What can be done to ensure we’re keeping our oceans healthy?

  • What environmental policies or strategies in place to protect and manage the oceans and coastal regions of the Pacific Islands? What are important next steps?

  • What is being done to ensure that commitments to ocean restoration are followed by action and not just talk? How can Pacific governments, NGOs and the private sector “walk the talk?”

  • How can proactive measures be taken to protect the ocean? What are success stories of people taking a leadership role in this space?

  • How are early-warning systems and disaster mitigation being adapted to account for climate change and increasingly severe weather?What actions are Pacific leaders taking to protect the environment and lives of their people? What more needs to be done?

  • What is being done to balance economic growth driven by mining, fishing and other resource-dependent industries with protections for land and marine biodiversity?

  • Are there ongoing efforts towards adaptation, mitigation and building resilience that deserve more coverage? What lessons can be shared with other island nations?

  • What are opportunities to shift livelihoods away from being dependent on industries that are damaging to the environment?

  • How are people who have changed livelihoods or migrated to avoid climate change’s effects – particularly fishing communities – adjusting? What do their lives look like?

  • How are women and other vulnerable groups (including youth, indigenous people, ethnic minorities, the poor) impacted by climate and changes to the ocean in the region, and how are they mitigating this change?

We aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about ocean issues in the Pacific region, and drive conversation among communities and policy makers at the local, national, and regional level, bringing about positive change for a sustainable future for all Pacific Islanders.


We encourage stories that report on potential solutions and highlight how vulnerable communities are responding to environmental challenges. Issues that have already received a lot of media coverage or don't provide fresh angles to well covered issues are less likely to be selected.


Eligibility

Journalists from the Pacific Islands are welcome 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 only be accepting applications in English. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages at this time. Applicants must either have a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with Internews staff.


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 reporting on environmental issues. We encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, and community-based. We are especially interested in stories that will be published in local media outlets across the Pacific Islands.


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 12 grants of up to US$1000 each.

We plan to issue grants in April with the expectation that all stories will be published by August 31, 2022 at the latest. 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. 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 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 funders 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 August 31, 2022.

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 info.ejn@internews.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.

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