One year since the arrival of the pandemic in the Amazon, the situation has become dramatic for Indigenous peoples and traditional communities. The region has also become the focus of coronavirus mutations, exposing populations and the environment to even worse risks.

The dismantling of the regulatory institutions that act to protect the environment and people and the tragedy of covid-19, are having devastating impacts on Indigenous people, quilombolas, ribeirinhos (riverine communities), and urban populations. 

The same institutional backsliding and government neglect has opened space for the increase of illegal activities that have advanced in areas that should be protected. Once the pandemic is over, the damage caused in the Amazon could be irreversible.

Call for Proposals

In response to the severe impact of the pandemic, the Amazonia Rainforest Journalism Fund (RJF) and the Pulitzer Center are opening a new call for proposals for journalism grants to cover stories about the region in the times of a pandemic..

Journalists, editors, and independent media organizations are invited to submit their proposals. Stories involving collaborative reporting, or including local and/or indigenous journalists facing travel restrictions and health risks imposed by the pandemic, will also be encouraged. Letters of commitment will be required from relevant media outlets that will publish the stories.

We encourage projects that address the converging crises of covid-19, deforestation, and other critical threats to the region. Reporting should highlight local voices. 

Due to the current near-impossibility of reaching Indigenous lands and other vulnerable traditional populations due to public health constraints, it becomes even more important to strengthen local journalism and journalism practiced by Indigenous journalists, quilombolas, riverine people, and other traditional or local communities. Projects involving local media or journalists living in these communities will be prioritized.

Proposals for this special call must be received by April 15.

Additional proposal guidelines and suggestions:

  • Proposed projects associated with local press and journalists representing Indigenous, quilombola, ribeirinho (riverine), and other traditional or local communities will have priority.
  • Proposed projects may include the use of data, multimedia, or other innovative approaches.
  • Ideally, proposed projects should have wide distribution and include at least one commitment letter from a national or regional media organization.

 IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the serious situation of the pandemic in the Amazon, the emergence of mutations/variants of COVID19, and the strong health risk for local populations, the committee will not accept proposals involving the entrance of journalists, photographers and videographers in Indigenous lands, territories of traditional populations, such as quilombolas and riverine communities, as well as in areas where vulnerable populations live, even if invited by governments and/or community members. This restriction will be maintained until the health risks associated with the presence of press professionals can be fully mitigated. Special cases, supported by documentation that guarantee the safety of the population and journalists, will be analyzed by the committee.

Eligibility: The grants are open to all journalists, including writers, photographers, radio and TV producers or filmmakers; staff journalists as well as freelancers of any nationality living in the Amazon countries may apply. Teams can also apply and indicate the leader who will make the application on behalf of the collective. 

Applications can be submitted in Spanish, Portuguese, or English. Stories can be reported and produced in any language. The review committee will select a limited number of projects that meet the criteria of the call. We will seek a balance between Portuguese- and Spanish-language projects.

Applications must be submitted using the form at the link below. The form requires the following information:

  • Project description (max 400 words): agenda; relevance; methodology (details on coordination, reporting, editing).  In this description, the candidate should make clear how will carry out the story and achieve his/her objective;
  • Safety plan (if applicable): risk mitigation (health, physical safety) for the journalist and the communities involved in the project;
  • Media strategy (200 words maximum): distribution plan and media partnerships;
  • Preliminary budget estimate: basic description of costs;
  • Personal details of the journalist leading the project: contact information, resume, three examples of work, and three professional references. Letters attesting to the candidate's documented professional qualifications are important;
  • Staff information: job description, professional qualifications and resumes, where possible;
  • Commitments letters from interested media or partner editors. At least one of these should be from a national or regional media outlet; and
  • Applications may also include a more detailed project description in a section titled “additional materials” (optional).

Budget: The estimated maximum budget will be US$ 5,000 for this call for proposals, considering that the projects will not have travel expenses. Some exceptions may be made depending on the case (larger amounts will be analyzed for more ambitious proposals if justified). 

Budgets may include, for example:

  • Local journalists' fees, as appropriate
  • In some cases, editing or coordinating costs
  • Telephone bills
  • Internet access, including for non-urban areas, as needed
  • In some cases, equipment rental for journalists from indigenous and traditional populations
  • Multimedia, video, audio, data production costs.
  • Data collection & analysis costs 

For approved projects, half of the grant is paid before the report begins and the remainder after the deliverables are distributed. 

Timeline: Within one week of applying, the applicant will receive a confirmation. The deadline for receipt of proposals is April 15. Selected applicants will be notified within 30 days.

The deadline for submitting a proposal to this special call is April 15.

To apply, click here.

We are pleased to have institutional support for this special call from Agencia EFE.

Contact: Verónica Goyzueta (amazon.rjf@pulitzercenter.org)