Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Journalism Opportunities: Fund for Environmental Journalism

SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism welcomes applications for grants of up to $5,000 to underwrite story projects.
Applications are being accepted for the Summer 2015 cycle, deadline July 15, 2015. FEJ grants will be available for coverage projects in two categories: land use issues of North America and open topic, including international.
The Fund for Environmental Journalism aims to underwrite the best in investigative or explanatory public service journalism. The jury looks at news value, undiscovered or under-reported news, a fresh take on a familiar story, and potential for community impact.


Journalists working independently or on the staff of either a for-profit or non-profit news organization worldwide may apply for a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism. SEJ membership is not required, but all applicants must meet eligibility requirements for SEJ membership. Membership disqualifiers include paid employment in public relations, media relations, or lobbying on environment-related issues. If you're not sure, please review SEJ's membership eligibility requirements.
Applicants are limited to one grant per 2-year period and two grants per 5-year period. There is no lifetime cap on the number of grants a journalist may receive. (There is a one-year blackout period for applicants having served on the FEJ jury.)
Journalists may request up to $5,000 to produce stories on any topic. In the Summer and Fall 2015 cycles, a substantial portion of the grant fund is earmarked for land-use issues (broadly defined) of North America (United States, Canada and Mexico).* Applicants must indicate whether they would prefer to have their proposal reviewed in the context of land-use issues. This selection may produce a slight advantage in that the proposal may also be funded from non-earmarked funds.
Examples of eligible expenses include travel costs; document-access fees; costs related to environmental testing; and fees for professional services such as graphic design, website development, and legal and translation services. In addition, in the Summer and Fall 2015 cycles, budgets may include a stipend for non-salaried journalists' time. (A supplemental stipend is not designed to replace a fee at the host outlet; we expect each outlet to pay our reporters a standard story fee.)
Project expenses NOT eligible for funding include equipment purchase or maintenance, and indirect expenses such as office rent or utilities. Funds may not be used to reimburse past expenses on a project; only expenses that would be incurred after receipt of a grant check (approximately 60 days after the respective application deadline) will be considered.
All application materials must be in English as the SEJ program does not have translation resources.
Applications must be submitted using the forms and links provided; applications are not accepted via email, fax or mail.
Applicants based outside of North America must give consideration to how they will pay the application fee and receive grant funds. No more than $100 of a grant may be spent on accessing the funds.
Grantees will be selected based on criteria that include the following:
  • What is the news value of the project or venture including its topic and the importance of that topic to the community the work will inform?
  • If the story topic is broad or familiar, does the project make an original and leadership contribution to the field of environmental journalism?
  • How strong is the publication/dissemination plan for the completed work? Who is the potential audience? What is its potential number?
  • How strong is the applicant’s case that the work will be significantly enabled and improved through support from the FEJ?
  • How strong is the connection between the proposed expense (i.e., travel plan, training plan, consulting expense) and the quality or quantity of eventual environmental journalism outputs?
  • What are the qualifications and track record of the applicant?
Summer Cycle: apply by July 15; applications are accepted starting May 15 and winners are announced mid-September.
Winter Cycle: apply by November 15; applications are accepted starting September 15 and winners are announced mid-January.
SEJ Members: Fee waived
Non-members: $40 (If you apply and are approved for SEJ membership during the grant application review period, you may apply the fee to first-year membership which is also $40. Please note that this is a completely separate application from the grant application.)
Application deadlines are July 15 and November 15. Applications are accepted starting 60 days before the respective deadline.
If you are not a member of SEJ at the time of your proposal submission, even if you have submitted a member application, please use the non-member application form.
In addition to the application form, applicants must upload four documents:
  • Proposal narrative - doublespaced type, maximum approximately 1200 words including timeline and dissemination plan
  • Budget - maximum two pages. Applicants are encouraged to apply for the minimum budget required for success of the project rather than ask for the maximum grant amount. Partial funding may be offered. Provide detail, such as airfare based on search date, lab-test price quote, etc. In addition, each personnel line item, including journalist stipends and professional services, must include each professional's name, projected number of hours worked, and a rate of pay.
  • Resume/CV - maximum two pages
  • At least one letter of commitment, or at least interest, from a publisher, broadcast organization or news site manager. Failure to include this or to explain its absence will compromise the competitiveness of the proposal.
Applicants may provide additional documents and links that they feel will strengthen their case for funding.
Please note: Applications not conforming to guidelines cannot be considered for funding.

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