Mongabay.org was founded, in part, to facilitate detailed reporting on key issues affecting the environment and the communities that depend on it. Our Special Reporting Initiatives (SRI) program enables professional journalists to conduct in-depth reporting on a specific issue over a three-month period. Some of the resulting articles are published on Mongabay under a Creative Commons license that allows for, and encourages, re-publishing elsewhere. Others are published in external media outlets, reaching as wide an audience as possible.
The value of the Special Reporting Initiatives program is that it enables high-quality and detailed reporting on an environmental 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.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Every two to three months, Mongabay.org will announce a new Special Reporting Initiative (SRI). The theme of a SRI may be specific to a certain region and topic or it may be broad. Mongabay.org offers a $12,000 honorarium and up to $3,000 for reporting, travel, and research costs for each project.
Once the application window is open, journalists can submit their application on why they should be selected for the reporting project. For more details on our application process, visit our Apply page.
Applications will be reviewed by an independent selection panel that consists of 4-5 journalists, academics, and issue-area experts. Within 30 days of the close of the application window, the selection panel will choose the top candidate for the SRI project based on a set of criteria including the quality and originality of the proposal, the scope of reporting, previous work, and proposed outputs (number and types of stories, multimedia, etc.), among other factors.
Once a decision is reached, Mongabay.org will notify the candidate. Pending his or her acceptance of the SRI terms and conditions, including the volume of content he or she would produce and the timeline of production, the candidate would publicly be announced as the winner.
The winning journalist, or “fellow”, will then begin research activities within the specified two-month period. After the research period, the journalist will then have another two months to produce a series of articles while working with a professional editor. During this period, the journalist is expected to follow through on their pitches to third party media outlets, with the stipulation that if one or more of the stories is picked up by a publication, an extended or abridged version of the story would be allowed to appear thereafter on Mongabay. Accepted journalists will be expected to publish a minimum of six articles on the topic on mongabay.com, as well as publish other articles for external publications.
Articles published on Mongabay would be produced under an open Creative Commons license so they could be shared on other web sites or developed by the author into derivative works, including articles for other publications, books, as well as videos and film.
Articles published would be designated as having been produced by the Mongabay SRI program. These stories would be aggregated in a news-feed so the complete body of work would be easily accessible and will be disseminated via our social media channels (120,000+ fans on the Mongabay Facebook page and 200,000+ followers on Twitter).
Applying for all Special Reporting Initiatives (SRI) is the same process, but you must indicate on the pre-application survey which specific SRI you are applying for. You must fill out the survey once for each application, and if you are applying as a team of two or more people, please see our FAQ page for specific next steps.
APPLICATION STEP I
Immediately fill out the pre-application survey — You must fill out and submit this survey as soon as you decide to apply in order to get the information for your recommenders and submitting your other application materials by the stated deadline. The survey does not ask for any specific information about your proposal, just name/address/education and work experience information. A submitted survey does not mean a completed application – your application will not be considered complete until we have received all of your supporting materials.
APPLICATION STEP II
Email the materials listed below — you will be given a specific email address at the end of the survey (above) where you should send the documents listed below by the stated SRI application deadline. Be sure to include the specific email subject line given at the end of the survey. While you are encouraged to fill out the pre-application survey as soon as you decide to apply, your application will not be considered final until we have received all of your supporting materials.
1.). SRI Proposal — Your proposal must be no longer than three single-spaced pages and written in English.
Your proposal should answer the following questions:
- Where will you focus?
- What questions will you ask?
- How will you structure your work? (please see note* below)
- What media will you employ to tell your stories?
- What is your specific proposed timeline? (note: ideally both field work and writing/production would be finished within four-five months of the application deadline)
- What travel would be required?
- Why are you the best candidate for this SRI?
Note*: While we expect the winning journalist to sell a certain number of pieces on this topic with major media outlets other than Mongabay, some of the resulting reporting will be expected to be published first on Mongabay under a creative commons license. The proposal presented should allow for multiple substantive stories on the given topic. Visit our FAQ page for more information, but details on publishing requirements will be worked out on a case-by-case basis after being selected as an SRI fellow. Please see the specific page for the SRI you are interested in for more details on what to include in your proposal.
2.) Resume or CV
3.) Two letters of recommendation — Your recommenders should be two persons who are familiar with your work and your SRI proposal. They must email their letters directly to Mongabay by the stated deadline for the specific SRI you are applying for. Fill out and submit the pre-application survey as soon as you decide to apply to get the correct submission information (email address and subject line) to send to your references.
4.) Three samples of your previous published work — Please indicate publication date and place for each of your samples, though the content should be the most important factor when choosing your samples. Each part of a series counts as one selection. Do not submit more than three samples – the panel will only view three and we would like you to decide which three best represent your work. Please be sure samples are of reasonable length.
5.) Short pitch information— Please provide us a description, in one page or less, of why you would be successful in pitching your work to major media outlets, as well as a specific list of the places you plan to pitch articles related to this SRI. Include as many specific details as possible (names, contacts, previous success in having pitches accepted). If you do not have a long history in publishing, tell us what resources you will use to ensure success. If you have already pitched a story relating to this SRI to an editor, please include that pitch, as well as the editor’s response. A candidate’s success in getting their work published in external publications may factor in to the selection panel’s decision. We encourage candidates to think globally as well as locally in their pitching plans.
Please note: All applications must be submitted in English. This is an application for journalists, and not for support of academic research or conservation projects.
Application Deadline: Be sure to follow the specific deadline for the SRI you are interested in.
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