FEJ 2018 Coverage Projects Delivering News to Mass Audiences

March 19, 2018

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SEJ News: FEJ 2018 Coverage Projects Delivering News to Mass Audiences


Independent coverage of Western Lands, the Gulf of Mexico, Peruvian Amazon and Puerto Rico will expand over the coming year through projects of SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism (FEJ). The Society of Environmental Journalists has disbursed a new round of project grants to individuals and news organizations, made possible by individual gifts and foundation grants to SEJ.

“Our purpose with this program,” said Beth Parke, SEJ founding executive director, “is to build capacity for independent environmental coverage from freelance journalists and newsroom staff, in both for-profit and nonprofit newsrooms. Since 2011, FEJ has disbursed more than $350,000 for story projects and $1M to underwrite new full-time positions, bureaus and co-publishing partnerships.

“SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism provides an editorial firewall function, valued by donors and essential to journalists and news organizations,” said Parke. “SEJ irons out separate agreements. Topics for coverage are very broadly defined. Editorial independence is protected. Donors can strengthen coverage through a simple, hands-off role. SEJ guarantees outcomes of public benefit appropriate to charitable grants and tax-exempt gifts.”

FEJ-funded story projects will span the globe in 2018. $40,000 was awarded to nine grantees, selected by a panel of independent editors through FEJ competition:

Irina Zhorov for “Puerto Rico’s Resilience,” covering the aftermath of hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico in 2017, resiliency and disaster planning for effects of climate change, a series of radio and multimedia reports including a one-hour special for “The Pulse,” a national health and science series from WHYY-FM, Philadelphia.

Sandy Ong and Edward Carver for “Madagascar Rosewood: From Mighty Tree to Ming Dynasty Furniture,” exploring China’s impact on the environment in Madagascar, a series of print and online articles for Newsweek, The Guardian and The Atlantic.

Lauren Markham for “The Dissolving Temples: How Climate Change is Impacting the Ancient Temples and Worship Practices in the Himalayas,” a feature article for Orion Magazine.

Natasha Daly, with Columbian partners, for “How Habitat Loss Feeds Wildlife Trafficking in the Amazon,” articles and TV segments for National Geographic and Caracol Television, Colombian National TV Network.

Peter Thomson and Mark Hertsgaard for “Forest Carbon and the Fate of the Planet,” investigating the implications of recent research finding tropical forests have flipped from being carbon sinks to carbon sources, for PRI’s The World and The Nation through multimedia, radio, print and online.

Barbara Fraser and Peruvian radio station partners for “When the River Runs Black: The Indelible Legacy of Oil in Amazonian Indian Communities,” covering the pollution and environmental health impacts of oil extraction in the Amazon, for multiple outlets through print, video, photography, radio and digital multimedia.

Lyndsie Bourgon for “The New Ivory,” on old growth timber poaching in the Peruvian Amazon, as it lives and dies at the hands of organized criminals, and how local organizations in Peru are working to quell the impacts of timber poaching on their local land, an article for National Geographic via National Geographic Explorer program.

Virginia Gewin for “Protecting Peru’s Wild Foods,” on how Peru's indigenous community is losing its wild food sources to deforestation and the spread of palm oil plantations, a long-form multimedia story for bioGraphic.com and award-winning NPR podcast, “The Four Top.”

Lourdes Medrano for “The Fisherman and the Vaquita,” exploring conservation efforts in fishing communities in the upper Gulf of California, one of Mexico’s most important fishing regions, photos and article for Undark, the digital magazine of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.

  • Read more about the FEJ grantees here.

Recent foundation grants have made it possible for SEJ to underwrite projects proposed by three news organizations:

  • For Reporting on Marine and Coastal issues of the Gulf of Mexico 2017 - 2019:
    The Times-Picayune |NOLA.com for expansion of its Coastal Desk.  This team has produced several hundred print, multimedia and online stories, including comprehensive features co-published with The New York Times.  More than 700,000 individual visitors have read Coastal Desk reports online. Tens of thousands more were reached through print editions and broadcast partnerships. The Walton Family Foundation is SEJ’s third-party underwriter for this project.
  • For Reporting on Western Lands:
    1. The Guardian | theguardian.org and co-publishing partners for “This Land is Your Land,” investigative reports on U.S. Public Lands and related issues including “privatization, energy extraction and climate change,” 2018 - 2019.
    2. High Country News |HCN.org, general support for HCN in-depth reporting of public lands, western economies, wildlife, renewable energy, fossil fuel development, and other conservation and community issues, 2019 - 2021.

    The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is SEJ’s third-party underwriter for these projects.

Past support for SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism was provided by the Burning River Foundation, Compton Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation, Energy Foundation, Grantham Foundation for the Environment, Cornelius King Foundation, Wyss Foundation, and members and friends of SEJ.

Please donate to support new projects.                           For more information contact: Beth Parke, bparke@sej.org

* From the weekly news magazine SEJournal Online, Vol. 3, No. 12. Content from each new issue of SEJournal Online is available to the public via the SEJournal Online main page. Subscribe to the e-newsletter here. And see past issues of the SEJournal archived here.

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