In the most difficult of times, journalism can play several roles in supporting communities around the globe. It can disseminate critical information to keep people safe and informed, it can illuminate stories that bring us hope and remind us of our shared human experience, and it can help us find and share solutions to wicked problems.
As COVID-19 continues to evolve and impact communities around the globe, the National Geographic Society is launching an emergency fund for journalists all over the world who wish to cover COVID-19 within their own communities. This fund will place particular emphasis on delivering news to underserved populations, particularly where there is a dearth of evidence-based information getting to those who need it. We are interested in local and even hyper-local distribution models. This fund is designed to quickly deliver support so that both individual stories and longer series of content may be created.
The fund will distribute support ranging from $1,000–8,000 USD for local coverage of the preparation, response, and impact of this global pandemic as seen through evidence-based reporting. Beyond reporting on medical and physical health related to COVID-19, we especially encourage reporting that covers social, emotional, economic, and equity issues. Narratives around the Pandemic necessarily include facts and numbers, but ultimately, must also go deeper—telling the stories of inequities that COVID-19 has brought to light.
We seek writers, photographers, videographers, audio journalists, cartographers, filmmakers, and data visualization experts to apply for this funding. Journalists should seek placement of this work within their local media ecosystems and must attribute their support to the National Geographic Society’s Emergency Fund for Journalists. However, you do not need to submit any formal commitments of publication or letters of support from editors or publishers. National Geographic Society or National Geographic Partners may also choose to publish some of this work as part of its global coverage.
Reporting may cover any aspect of the virus and its fallout, including but not limited to:
Social consequences of COVID-19 and measures to contain it, particularly related to equity—such as its impact on immigrant communities, domestic violence, and early childhood education.
Stories of resilience and solutions that could be applied on a regional or global scale.
Novel forms of data visualization or science communication to help communities better understand how to protect themselves.
Lessons learned from local response(s) to COVID-19 that could be applied to other large-scale challenges, such as climate change or the refugee crisis.
Best practices of how educators, students, and schools are reacting to this crisis, particularly as they illuminate under-resourced schools.
Priority communities include: Those at high risk or hit especially hard by the virus, indigenous communities, immigrant or refugee communities, underserved, urban, rural, elderly populations, and children.
Applicants may use up to 100 percent of their budget as personal reimbursement for their reporting time. We ask that applicants estimate their standard fee for reporting on or creating such content.
We also ask that recipients of this funding prioritize the health of yourselves and the communities in which you work. Many journalists are accustomed to putting themselves in harm’s way in pursuit of a story. We ask that you not only consider all precautions to protect yourself, but that of the people you are covering as well. Please follow local, regional, and national guidelines in terms of access for accredited journalists in your region. This guide provides advice for visual and other journalists.
Finally, all reporting must be fact-based and accurate. For the best and most up to date COVID-19 resources, see below:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization
Johns Hopkins Map of COVID-19 Cases
The COVID-19 AP Style Guide
All application materials must be in English, and applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time they submit an application. Normally, we require a project start date six months after application submission, but for this fund, immediate start dates are acceptable.
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