EJN Ocean Media Initiative Story Grants 2023: Reporting on Marine Pollution

Applications are open for the EJN Ocean Media Initiative Story Grants 2023: Reporting on Marine Pollution. Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is offering reporting grants to journalists worldwide to support the...

Jan 25, 2023 - 00:01
Jan 25, 2023 - 00:01
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EJN Ocean Media Initiative Story Grants 2023: Reporting on Marine Pollution

Deadline: February 13, 2023

Applications are open for the EJN Ocean Media Initiative Story Grants 2023: Reporting on Marine Pollution. Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is offering reporting grants to journalists worldwide to support the production of in-depth stories on the sources and impacts of different forms of marine pollution and solutions to curb them.

By 2050, it is expected there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. Every year, over 1 million marine species (including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and seabirds) are killed due to plastic debris in the ocean. The ocean, already under stress from climate change, is the ultimate sink for many pollutants besides plastics (and increasingly, microplastics), including sewage, radioactive waste, industrial and agricultural chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, and oil spills.

Other lesser-known threats include light, thermal and noise pollution – as coastal development and human activities such as shipping, military operations, desalination, mining and energy exploration underwater threatens the survival of marine species. The health of the ocean determines the health of the planet, however, marine conservation does not elicit the attention – and urgent action – it needs.

To fill this gap, EJN’s global Ocean Media Initiative, with support from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, aims to increase the quality and quantity of ocean pollution-related stories in the media; and build the capacity of journalists to improve their coverage of this topic, and hold policymakers to account.

Story Themes

  • They welcome story ideas that focus on marine pollution – its sources, impacts on ecosystems and marine species; and ongoing efforts to curb and regulate sources of marine pollution.
  • Journalists may explore the impacts of improper waste disposal, agricultural runoff, drilling for oil and gas, mining, shipping and other anthropogenic activities that are contributing to this crisis. Stories should highlight research and initiatives – either proposed or in effect – to curb the impacts of marine pollution. Solutions stories should explore policy and governance measures at the local, national and international level, while highlighting the challenges inherent to addressing these issues.
  • They aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about marine pollution and drive conversation among communities and policymakers at the local, national, and regional level. They are particularly interested in cross-border collaborations and stories. Proposals that focus on topics or stories that have not been widely covered are preferred. Issues that have already received a lot of media coverage or don’t provide unique angles to environmental or climate challenges are less likely to be selected.


  • EJN plans to issue about eight grants of approximately $1,200 each by late February 2023 with the expectation that all stories will be published by October 30, 2023 at the latest.


  • Applicants can be from any country in the world; applicants from coastal countries reporting on their home communities are preferred.
  • Journalists who have already received an Ocean Media Initiative (High Seas) reporting grant from EJN in 2022 or who have an active grant as part of any EJN programme are not eligible for this opportunity. Journalists who have received EJN support in the past are welcome to apply, and their past performance will be taken into account.
  • Groups of journalists are eligible, particularly from different countries seeking to produce a cross-border project. However, the application must be made in the name of one lead applicant. Lead applicants are responsible for communicating with EJN and receiving funds on the group’s behalf, if awarded.
  • For the purposes of this grant opportunity, EJN will only be accepting applications in English. Unfortunately, they do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages at this time. Applicants must either have a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with Internews staff.
  • Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with professional reporting experience and a history of covering ocean issues. They encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based.
  • EJN reserves the right to disqualify applicants from consideration if they have been found to have engaged in unethical or improper professional conduct.

Judging Criteria

Applicants should consider the following points when devising their story proposals.

  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives of the call? Why does this story matter and to whom? Is the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly defined?
  • Angle: If the story has been covered, does your proposal bring new insights to the topic or offer a fresh angle?
  • Impact: Does the proposal have a compelling narrative or investigative element that will inform and engage, draw attention, trigger debate and urge action?
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches, multimedia and data visualization will be considered a plus.
  • Plan for timely publication: Reporters, whether freelance or employed at a media outlet, will need to include a letter of support from an editor in their application, committing to publish or broadcast their stories by October 31, 2023. No extensions will be granted.


Click here to apply

For more information, visit EJN Grants.

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