MANILA, PHILIPPINES — One of the 18 most species-rich countries, the Philippines is home to two-thirds of the world’s biodiversity and numerous endemic species. However, human activities, including habitat destruction, wildlife trafficking, and climate change, are pushing many of these populations to the brink of collapse. That’s why it is crucial to train more Filipino journalists to cover biodiversity stories and investigate threats to the environment.
The Association of Young Environmental Journalists (AYEJ), an ecological literacy non-profit organization, is inviting journalists to join the Green Beat Plus, a free upskilling training program designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of Filipino journalists in reporting on biodiversity and natural resources management.
The Green Beat Plus is offered by RTI International and USAID’s Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes (SIBOL) Activity in partnership with AYEJ. It will run from June to September 2023.
Biodiversity plays a critical role in the lives of Filipinos. From the food on our tables to the sources of our livelihood, Filipinos are deeply linked to the riches that nature provides. This interdependence means that more Filipinos journalists should be equipped to accurately report on biodiversity stories, investigate threats and environmental violence, and explore community responses and solutions.
The Green Beat Plus features a virtual training program for 20 selected journalists from June to July 2023, where participants will learn from biodiversity and journalism experts. Selected journalists from this pool will receive reporting support and mentorship, and a chance to join an in-person advanced workshop in Palawan.
It is open to professional media practitioners, either staff or freelancers, working in any journalistic medium such as print, online, radio, podcast, television, and multimedia. They must be currently residing and working in the Philippines to join the program.
Applicants do not need to have prior experience with biodiversity reporting, but they should be able to demonstrate strong interest and commitment in the topic.
The participating journalists will undergo a four-week online training to learn about key biodiversity concepts and techniques and tools in reporting biodiversity stories. At the end of the training, journalists will pitch their stories on biodiversity and natural resources management. The 10 best story pitches will receive funding support and mentorship to pursue their reporting and publication.
The 10 journalists with the best story pitches will receive an all-expenses-paid opportunity to gather in an in-person advanced workshop in Palawan, which is one of the main areas of implementation of the USAID SIBOL project. The selected journalists will have the chance to present their progress in their reporting and the workshop will serve as a space to critique, polish and strengthen their stories, before their expected publication by mid-September 2023.
Interested journalists should send their CV or resume, at least two sample works, and a biodiversity story idea/pitch in the Green Beat Plus application form. Applications close at May 10 at 11:59 PM. Participating journalists will be informed of their selection by mid-May.