Mongabay launches Conservation Reporting Fellowship for aspiring environmental journalists to cover biodiversity hotspots

Logged forest and oil palm in Malaysian Borneo.

Logged forest and oil palm in Malaysian Borneo. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.

  • Mongabay has recently launched a Conservation Reporting Fellowship to improve the capacity of aspiring environmental journalists in low- to upper-middle income tropical countries.
  • The program will support 12 fellows per year with the opportunity to work with Mongabay editors to develop their environmental reporting skills and create a portfolio to help advance their journalism careers.
  • Mongabay is now accepting applications for its inaugural cohort under this fellowship. The initial application window will run from June 21 to September 10, 2022.

Mongabay has launched the Y. Eva Tan Conservation Reporting Fellowship on June 21 to bolster the capacity of aspiring environmental journalists – a field where such experience can be hard to acquire.

“Mongabay has been long focused on helping create opportunities for environmental journalists in tropical biodiversity hotspots,” Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler said. “The establishment of this fellowship, made possible by the support of an extremely generous and thoughtful donor, will help empower the next generation of journalists who are reporting from Nature’s frontline.”

Building on Mongabay’s long-running internship program, which has provided training and first-hand reporting experience for dozens of budding journalists who have gone on to establish professional careers in journalism and communications, this new fellowship will support up to 12 fellows per year. Half of these fellows will work with Mongabay’s global English bureau and the other half with the organization’s Spanish-language bureau, Mongabay Latam.

Fellows will gain valuable experience working with a range of editors at Mongabay’s  international news outlet, where they’ll develop their environmental reporting skills and create a portfolio of original publications to help them advance their careers.

Mongabay is now accepting applications for its inaugural cohort under this fellowship. Click here for more information and how to apply.

One of the white rhinos released into Akagera National Park in Rwanda

White rhino in Akagera National Park in Rwanda. Image by Gael Vande Weghe / African Parks.

“This fellowship is a great initiative by Mongabay to ensure that journalists in priority regions have access to high quality training,” says María Ángeles Salazar, Mongabay program and translation specialist and who manages the new fellowship for the global English bureau. “Most of our coverage focuses on the tropics so it’s important to have reporters who are locals to these areas and can provide their expertise on these issues.”

Mongabay Latam Program Manager María Isabel Torrres, who directs the Spanish-language arm of the fellowship, echoes Salazar about the fellowship’s importance for journalism, especially in low to upper middle income tropical countries. 

“Latin America is the most dangerous region in which to practice environmental journalism. The increase in deforestation, illegal mining, wildlife trafficking and poorly controlled extractive and agricultural industries make it necessary, today more than ever, to strengthen the capacity of journalism to investigate and make these realities visible. However, there are fewer and fewer chances for young people to find opportunities for training and specialization,” says Torres. “That is why the Y. Eva Tan Conservation Reporting Fellowship Program, launched today by Mongabay, is a huge undertaking for the future of journalism in the region.”

According to Butler, the Y. Eva Tan Conservation Reporting Fellowship targets long-term value in environmental reporting. “Our hope is this program will have lasting and significant impacts on the field of conservation journalism, helping foster a more enabling environment for a wide community of people and organizations working on some of the most critical issues of our time, from biodiversity loss to threats against environmental defenders to climate change.”

In addition, Mongabay’s founder and CEO hopes to eventually broaden the program’s multilingual capacity. “Our ambition is to eventually expand the fellowship programs to other languages beyond English and Spanish. The top priorities will be languages of Mongabay’s other bureaus, including Indonesian, Portuguese, French, and Hindi. We’re looking for donors to help us turn that ambition into reality.”

The fellowship will run twice a year: April 1 to September 30 and October 1 to March 31. The application window for the first cohort will run from June 21, 2022 to September 10, 2022. The application window for the second cohort will run from January 1, 2023 through March 10, 2023. More details can be found here.

About Mongabay

Mongabay is a nonprofit conservation and environmental science news outlet that delivers daily news and inspiration from Nature’s frontline via its local-language bureaus and global network of more than 800 journalists in nearly 80 countries. Mongabay’s evidence-driven journalism is syndicated by a wide range of outlets, greatly extending its reach beyond the 4 million people who access its information monthly. Mongabay is dedicated to publishing journalism that fills gaps in understanding by highlighting underreported issues and holding decision makers accountable for the results of their decisions.

Contact Info

  • For inquiries about the fellowship program at the Mongabay global English bureau, please contact the fellowship editor Karen Coates: [email protected] 
  • For inquiries about the fellowship program at the Spanish-language bureau, Mongabay Latam, please contact fellowship editor Dora Montero: [email protected]
  • For media inquiries, please contact marketing associate Alejandro Prescott-Cornejo: [email protected]