Fund for Environmental Journalism welcomes applications for grants

SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism welcomes applications for grants of up to $5,000 to underwrite story projects. The next application deadline is November 15, 2015. Contact Jeanne Scanlon with questions about this program.

In 2015 grant cycles, funding is available for story projects in three categories: 1) open topic, including international; 2) coverage of land-use issues of North America; and 3) coverage of  biodiversity conservation and climate-change impacts in North America. For the first time, applicants may also include a stipend in the proposed budget.

SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism invests in top quality public service journalism on environment-related issues, and the journalists who produce it.  FEJ grants support development and dissemination of significant coverage that otherwise could not be completed. The selection jury looks for news value, undiscovered or under-reported news, a fresh take on a familiar story, and potential for community impact.

BE SURE AND READ THE NEW 2015 GUIDELINES FOR APPLICANTS:

WHO MAY APPLY FOR A GRANT?

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.)
HOW ARE  FUNDS TO BE USED?

Journalists may request up to $5,000 to produce and disseminate environmental coverage. In the Summer and Fall 2015 cycles, one portion of the total grant fund available will be available for story projects on any topic, including international topics. Another substantial portion of funding is earmarked for coverage of land-use issues of North America, with a third portion earmarked for coverage of  biodiversity conservation and climate-change impacts in North America. North America is defined as United States, Canada and Mexico.

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 of FEJ competition, proposals submitted by freelance independent journalists may include a budget line item for journalists’ reporting time. Such stipends are intended to supplement rather than replace standard fees normally paid by media outlets distributing the work. Journalists on staff at media outlets are not eligible to receive stipend payments from FEJ grants made through competitive cycles 2015-2016.

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.
ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES

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?

APPLICATION DEADLINES

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.
APPLICATION FEE

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 FORMS AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

Application deadlines are July 15 and November 15. Applications are accepted starting 60 days before the respective deadline.

Application form for SEJ members. 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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