Should I fill out the pre-application survey before I submit the rest of my application materials?
Yes, you should fill the survey out as soon as you decide to apply. The survey does not ask for any specific information about your proposal, just name/address/education and work experience information. The rest of your materials must be emailed to the specific email address listed at the end of the survey (with the correct subject line) by the established deadline.
Can I apply to more than one SRI?
Yes, though you may only be accepted for one SRI at a time.
Do you have to be from the US to apply?
No, everyone is allowed to apply.
Do you have to speak English to apply?
Yes, your application must be in English. Your pitch should also be intended for English-speaking audiences/publications, though resulting articles could be translated into foreign languages at a later time.
What about photo journalists? Can any type of journalist apply?
Yes, all journalists are invited to apply.
Does applying early raise my chances of being accepted?
No, applications will only be reviewed after the stated deadline. Everyone who applies by the stated deadline will be evaluated equally.
Can I do my full-time job while completing this SRI?
Yes, though you must meet all of the objectives and expectations of the SRI, which in many cases might be challenging. If you plan to work full-time, you must include that in your proposal and explain how you will be able to meet all of the objectives of the project while working full-time.
Can two (or more) people do one SRI?
Yes, though the stipend and travel award would remain the same and would need to be split between the participating journalists. Email Tiffany Roufs for details on how to submit an application from more than one journalist.
Can a former SRI fellow apply again?
Yes, though the timelines of the two SRIs cannot overlap.
Will I hear back from you if I am not selected?
Yes, you will receive an email either way after the review board’s decision, usually within one month of the deadline. Please do not email Mongabay.org staff asking for updates on your application status.
Can you provide feedback on a rejected application?
No, unfortunately due to the volume of applications and the individual nature of each proposal, we are not able to give specific feedback on your application or proposal.
How much content will the winning journalist be expected to produce?
The winning journalist will be expected to produce more than 5,000 words (most likely in 5-6 articles) to be published on mongabay.com, with the expectation that the journalist will actively pitch additional stories to external media outlets. The content of the stories published on Mongabay can be adjusted within reason to accommodate the publishing of material in external publications.
What if I have hard-copy materials I would like to submit with my application?
Since our review board will be virtual, we ask that you try and provide online copies wherever possible. Email Tiffany Roufs directly if you have something to submit that cannot be sent via email.
Will previous rejections or former unsubmitted applications be held against me in future applications?
No, as long as a full application is received by the stated deadline for an SRI, your proposal will be evaluated based on the contents of the proposal alone. Former rejections or unsubmitted applications will not be held against you.
Who will evaluate submissions?
Your application will be reviewed by a panel of professional journalists, mongabay.org staff, and issue-area experts.
What criteria will be used to evaluate an application?
We will evaluate proposals based on the professionalism of the application (spelling, grammar, organization, etc.), the creativity and originality of the pitch, the recommendation of references, your potential to get your stories published in external media outlets, and the demonstrated quality of your previous work.
Can I use the travel and reporting costs stipend ($3,000) to reimburse expenses incurred before the start of my SRI?
These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by Mongabay.org staff, and Mongabay.org makes no guarantee about reimbursement of previous expenses. Providing there is proper documentation for the expenses (ie: receipts) and that the purchases can be tied directly to the work being done during the SRI, there may be a possibility that you could be reimbursed for expenses incurred before the start of your project.
Who funds you?
Will funders have editorial control over SRIs?
No, the funder has no editorial role in an SRI. You will work with a professional editor who has no relationship to the funder.
Want to apply?
Check out our Apply Page for more details.
Want to stay informed on new SRI opportunities?
Mongabay.org will open a new Special Reporting Initiative every 1-2 months.
Sign up here to receive an email each time a new SRI application window opens.
Still have more questions?
Email Mongabay’s SRI Coordinator, Tiffany Roufs.