Thanks to generous funding from the Grantham Foundation, and individual members and friends of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), we are pleased to announce grants totaling $12,500 to five journalism projects selected in SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism Fall/Winter 2013 grant cycle. In addition to the grant, SEJ will provide mentoring support to any grantees requesting it.
SEJ launched the Fund for Environmental Journalism in 2010 to support reporting projects and entrepreneurial journalism ventures related to the environment. Since inception, including the current cycle, small grants totaling more than $90,000 have been awarded to both staff and freelance journalists to cover costs of travel, document access, graphics and website development, translation and other budget items, without which journalists might have been unable to produce and distribute specific, timely stories about important environmental issues.
Congratulations to the grantees in the Fall/Winter 2013 cycle:
$1,500 for reporting a piece in Alaska on how climate change is affecting native Alaskans' food security and diet, which traditionally has relied on hunting and fishing
Elizabeth Grossman is a freelance/independent journalist and writer specializing in environmental and science issues. She is the author of several books, including Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry; High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health; and Watershed: The Undamming of America. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Scientific American, Yale e360, Environmental Health Perspectives, Environmental Health News, Ensia, Al Jazeera America, TheAtlantic.com, Chemical Watch, The Washington Post, Salon, Mother Jones, The Nation, The Pump Handle, Earth Island Journal, InsideClimate News, Yes! Magazine, The Huffington Post, and Grist. She has been a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a science journalism fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. She also received travel fellowships from the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Global Investigative Journalism Network and COMPASS, among others. A native of New York City, she's lived in Portland, Oregon since 1996.
Funded project: An in-depth article from Ms. Grossman's reporting trip, "Alaska's Uncertain Food Future," was published as a cover story on High Country News on Aug. 18, 2014, then reprinted on Alaska Dispatch News on Nov. 22, 2014 as well as online and in a Sunday print edition of Anchorage Daily News.
Other work by Ms. Grossman:
- "The Growing Concern About Arctic Oil Spills," published Apr. 28, 2014 on High Country News.org.
com/Elizabeth_Grossman/Home. html includes her latest book, Chasing Molecules, Island Press, Sept 2009.
$2,900 to complete a book set in Nicaragua that examines the environmental-justice and sustainability issues raised by the worldwide migration of the rural poor to cities
- Related to the funded project: "Mango, Mango! A Family, a Fruit Salad, and Survival on $4.50 a Day," Orion, Longreads, Summer 2014. Interviews focused on the Orion article: "Inside Nicaragua's Largest Central Market," by Veronica Rueckert, Wisconsin Public Radio, Sept 3, 2014; and "Inside the Mercado Oriental," presented by Andrew West, ABC.net/au, Sept 6, 2014.
- "Storms Without Names," Boston Review, February 2012.
- "The Lake at the Bottom of the Bottom," Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 2011.
Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism
Editor: Fiona Macleod
$2,200 for development of an online app that would alert residents and NGOs to environmental-impact assessments (EIAs) being done in their regions on activities such as deforestation, fracking, mining, construction of dams and power stations, and creation of new landfills
Fiona Macleod is founder of Africa’s first journalistic investigation unit focusing on environmental issues. The Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism combines traditional investigative reporting with data analysis and geo-mapping tools to expose eco-offences and track organised crime syndicates in Southern Africa. Prior to founding Oxpeckers, Macleod worked as an award-winning journalist and editor at a range of the region’s top media. She served as environmental editor at the Mail & Guardian newspaper for 10 years, and was awarded the prestigious Nick Steele award recognising her contributions to environmental conservation through her pioneering reportage. She is currently still editor of the M&G Greening the Future and the M&G Investing in the Future CSI/R awards programmes. Macleod is a member of the judging panel of the eta Awards, which reward exceptional effort in the more efficient use of energy. She has also served terms on the judging panels of the SANParks Kudu Awards and she ran The Green Trust awards, SA’s premier environmental awards programme, for four years. She is a former editor of Earthyear magazine, chief sub-editor and assistant editor of the M&G, editor-in-chief of HomeGrown Magazine, managing editor of True Love and production editor of The Executive. She has also edited several books, including Your Guide to Green Living, A Social Contract: The Way Forward and Fighting for Justice.
Funded Project: Oxpeckers finalized development of the #GreenAlert prototype, the first data-driven public service on EIAs to which citizens in Africa can subscribe. The source code is open and installation instructions available to the public. Oxpeckers also developed a stand-alone micro-site to advertise #GreenAlert to a global audience. For more on Oxpeckers past and planned work to inform the community on environmental hazards, see the organization's website. In October 2014, Oxpeckers won the coveted SAB (South African Breweries) Environmental Media Award for Online and Print. Judges commended the center for "a pioneering effort to facilitate collaborative environmental journalism on an international scale."
Marcus Stern and Sebastian Jones
$3,000 for travel associated with reporting an investigative series on pipeline safety
Marcus Stern, 60, and Sebastian Jones, 27, first teamed up at the nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica. Since then, Jones has done various investigative journalism projects and served as an editor at the Washington Monthly. Stern, who most recently worked at Reuters news service, has shared numerous national journalism awards, including the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and the 2005 George Polk Award for political reporting. The two have done environmental reporting in the past, but this energy pipeline safety inquiry is their first major investigative project focused on the environment.
Funded project: An extensive investigative journalism project, "Boom: North America's Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem," was published on December 8, 2014 by InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel. The project includes a poignant short documentary by Weather Films, a division of The Weather Channel, and a lengthy main story and sidebar editorially overseen by InsideClimate News, The Investigative Fund and freelance investigative projects editor Keith Epstein. The story was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. The Alicia Patterson Foundation provided the bulk of funding; other funders included the George Polk Award program at Long Island University and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
Other work by the grantees:
- Mssrs. Stern's and Jones' article, "Too Much Propane Could Be a Factor in Exploding Oil Trains," offers insights on why trains carrying Bakken crude are so explosive, was published on InsideClimate News on March 5, 2014, then picked up by Bloomberg News.
$2,900 for travel in India, and video and web-production costs, to produce a multimedia story on India’s construction of reputedly the world’s largest nuclear power complex, even as other countries back away from nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster
Shamsheer Yousaf is a freelance journalist based in Bangalore.
Funded project: Mr. Yousaf and his small team traveled extensively in India and interviewed many villagers and officials. Their investigative work in print, "The Story of a Resistance - How Villagers Stood Up Against the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project," was the cover story for the February 2015 issue of Fountain Ink. A multimedia version of the story, named "Jaitapur: A Fight Without an End – How the Government Failed the People of Konkan," was developed for the same magazine's website.
Here are some links to Mr. Yousaf's other work:
- Assorted stories on Live Mint.
- "How a wasp won the great papaya war," Fountain Ink Magazine, Jan 4, 2014.
To learn more about the FEJ grant program, including applicant eligibility and submission guidelines, or to see information and links about past grants, please go to the Fund for Environmental Journalism web page.
Please consider making your own donation today, to help SEJ build the Fund for Environmental Journalism and support new work! If you would like to help experienced environmental journalists to continue producing rich, rigorously investigated and unbiased content, please make a gift on SEJ's secure website.