[Regional] Call for Proposals: Internews’ EJN & SEAPA Environmental Story Grants




Announcing new grants by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) for Environmental Journalists from Asia and the Pacific to produce stories focused on promoting free speech and the environment in the region. Successful applications will show how information can empower at-risk communities to make better decisions and build resilience.



Asia-Pacific is home to 60 percent of the world’s population, and boasts rapidly growing economies and rich pockets of biodiversity. Policy decisions made in countries and intergovernmental forums in this region will influence how drastically global climate will change, and other environmental challenges. Our planet’s future depends to a large extent on the state of the environment in the region.

Communities living where livelihoods are being most affected by environmental degradation face a two-fold problem: 1) lack of opportunity to have their voices heard, and 2) barriers to receiving information on potential drivers of and adaptation to change.

Causes range from information that is unintelligible to the public and policy-makers, to a lack of media coverage and poor communications infrastructure that result from a history of marginalization, censorship, and poverty. Finally, for many local journalists in the Asia-Pacific region, access to critical information and data needed to support efforts to produce environmental stories are often made more difficult by a lack of funds, time and expertise, ill-equipped research institutions, and the risks of uncovering and exposing sensitive issues.

In the face of these challenges, Internews and SEAPA seek to improve the quantity and quality of environmental coverage in Asia-Pacific by supporting journalists and local media outlets in the region:

  • to produce untold or little-explored in-depth stories on environmental and natural resource management issues;
  • to disseminate news and information to vulnerable communities;
  • to improve reporting and raise public awareness and discourse around complex environmental issues;
  • to give voice to vulnerable and marginalized communities, including women, who are most at risk from environmental challenges.


Proposed stories must:

  • Focus on climate and environmental change, or natural resource management issues in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, or Papua New Guinea

Stories may include, but are not limited to, those:

  • Focusing on women, youth and indigenous peoples and their ability to adapt to environmental or climate change.
  • Reporting on solutions and the coping strategies of vulnerable communities while amplifying their voices on cultural heritage and environmental protection.
  • Seeking to turn global issues into local stories or stories which take local issues to a global audience.
  • Supporting silenced communities find a voice to protect their cultural heritage and environment.
  • Unlikely to be published/broadcast in their local media owing to censorship, restrictions (legal or otherwise), or risks of retaliation
  • We also encourage proposals which rely on collaboration and network building amongst journalists, advocates, and the community.


Internews and SEAPA offer grants ranging from $500 to $3,000 depending on the scope, method of coverage and reporting (e.g. multiple platforms such as print and broadcast), with some flexibility for in-depth stories using innovative, multimedia, and investigative approaches that may be more costly to produce.

Stories can be in English or local languages (English translations are a must). Applicants should include the cost of translation in their proposed budgets.

Please submit a plan for publication prior to January 31, 2019.

Applicants should identify a media outlet for their stories and an editor who will work closely with them during the entire story production. For freelancers please indicate your target media outlet/s.


Environmental Journalists (online, print, television, radio) and other media practitioners, including freelancers, with a track record of reporting on climate change, natural resource management and other environmental issues are welcome to apply.

Journalists working outside the country capital and in alternative or community media, as well as women journalists are strongly encouraged to submit proposals.

The grants are open to journalists from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

Collaborative proposals from journalists, environmental advocates, researchers, bloggers and/or other members of communities are welcome, provided journalists take the lead in developing joint stories. Joint applications must involve a maximum of three individuals and will be subject to a single grant.

Grantees are free to publish or broadcast their stories in their target media outlets other media while Internews and SEAPA will reserve the right to publish, broadcast, and distribute them freely. All stories will be posted on at least one of Internews’ Earth Journalism Network’s Geojournalism platforms: Mekong Eye, Ekuatorial or Infopacific.


Applicants should submit a CV and a proposal of no more than three (3) pages indicating or composed of the following:

  • Story idea and its basic premise (in 100 words or less)
  • Initial research clearly showing the newsworthiness of, and providing justification for, the proposed story, addressing such questions as: Why should the audience care about this story? Why is this story relevant today? What is its anticipated impact?
  • Applicants should provide extensive background research on their proposed topics and explain the extent of media coverage of those or similar issues. They should also explain how their proposed story will fill the current gap in media coverage of those topics.
  • Reporting/research plan indicating the following:
    • Timeline (for desk and field research, interviews, writing, and editing)
    • Target areas for research and interviews
    • List of target sources or interviewees
  • Three samples of published or broadcast work, preferably in the past 3 years.
  • Recommendations from two people, preferably editors, who have worked with the applicant. Please provide their contact information.
  • Proposed budget (please download and use this budget form to complete your application).Applicants should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. Budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies will not be considered. If you are receiving funding from other donors, please indicate it in your budget form.
  • Proposed media outlet where the story will be published or broadcast, with a corresponding letter of endorsement from the editor, who is expected to work closely with the applicant and monitor progress if the proposal is approved.

All stories under this grant must be published/broadcast not later than January 31, 2019.


  • Relevance and clarity of the story plan. Does the proposal meet the program criteria and objectives? Are the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly framed?
    Has the story been done before? Does it seek to go beyond the news cycle and promise new insights into the topic? Does it offer a fresh take on a familiar or enduring issue? Is this an innovative approach to storytelling?
  • Strength and impact. Does the pitch have the potential to be transformed into a compelling narrative or investigative piece that will inform and engage, draw attention, spur debate, and urge action?
    Can the project, based on the expected output and work plan, be realistically completed within the target time frame, notwithstanding the anticipated challenges?
    Does the applicant’s experience, published work, personal statement, and letters of recommendations warrant timely and quality outputs? Does he/she have the ability to tap good sources and conduct as much reporting/research as necessary? Can he/she analyze and unravel the complexities of an issue
  • Demonstrated need: Without this grant, is this story likely to be published/broadcast?
  • Overall quality of the proposal and anticipated impact of the story: Has the applicant put effort into presenting a strong case? (Allowances will be made for applicants whose first language is not English.)
  • Diversity: This applies to applicants and story themes.

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