Mongabay.org launches $20,000 competitive grant for in-depth reporting on key environmental themes.
Today Mongabay’s non-profit arm launched a new journalism program that funds in-depth or investigative reporting on key environmental topics. The first reporting opportunity under the Special Reporting Initiatives (SRI) program is titled: Innovation in tropical biodiversity conservation.
While deforestation rates have slowed and areas under protection have increased in recent decades, global biodiversity continues to decline at alarming rates. We are – as biologists have long been warning us – in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction. In tropical forests, biodiversity conservation has seen a number of innovations in recent decades: land purchasing programs, sustainable development of non-timber forest products, debt-for-nature swaps, forest certification systems and commodity roundtables, indigenous parks guards, and payments for ecosystem services (PES) like carbon (REDD+) and water. Although many of these efforts have enjoyed some success, clearly we need more.
This reporting project asks: what is the next big idea in tropical biodiversity conservation? What new models are conservationists employing in the field? How are these working? Are they socially and economically sustainable? Are there effective models emerging out of sectors outside traditional tropical biodiversity conservation, like healthcare, microfinance, poverty alleviation, or energy production? Are there effective models or strategies being developed by companies or governments?
Mongabay.org will commit up to $20,000 to fund the top proposal: $15,000 as a stipend and up to $5,000 for reporting and travel costs. The fellow, who will be selected by an independent panel that consists of six journalists and issue-area experts, will have three months for travel and research and three months for writing. He or she can work from anywhere in the world.
Mongabay.org was founded, in part, to facilitate detailed reporting on key issues affecting forests and the communities that depend on them. Our Special Reporting Initiatives program enables professional journalists to conduct in-depth reporting on a specific issue that may be otherwise overlooked or underreported by the broader media. In contrast to an aggregation of case studies in a single report, a series of in-depth articles highlights each case study or story separately, boosting its prominence. SRI fellows are given the funding and support to become issue area experts, adding value to their own career and contributing to the wider conversation regarding the state of our natural world.
The Application Deadline for this SRI is September 30th, 2013. Keep on the lookout for more SRIs to follow in the coming months.