National Association of Science Writers Idea Grant proposals due November 4

Do you have a great idea for a science writing resource? Are you a member of a local science-writing group with big plans for an important project or workshop that has insufficient funding? In the last four years, the National Association of Science Writers has awarded over $350,000 as part of the Idea Grants program.

NASW invites proposals from individuals or groups to apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $40,000 for projects and programs designed to help science writers in their professional lives and/or benefit the field of science writing. Proposals can serve non-members as well as members. We encourage creative thinking, thus the guidelines for these proposals are consciously broad.

Proposals should include:

  • Name of applicant(s)
  • Indication of whether applicant(s) is/are members or non-members of NASW
  • Title of the project
  • Amount requested
  • Description of proposed project, impacts on the science writing community, why you or your team are uniquely qualified to undertake this
  • How the proposed project will serve NASW members and non-member science writers
  • Proposed budget and delivery timeline (various options for funding levels are helpful)
  • If applicable: list of team members and their roles.

The project must be in keeping with the mission of NASW. The project, if applicable, should be accessible to all science writers and open to members and non-members. The project should not be for individual works, e.g. underwriting a single investigative piece or book, but it could, for instance, underwrite a study of the state of science writing in the U.S. or beyond.

We especially support the efforts of regional science writing groups to make their professional development activities available to all NASW members and beyond via webcasts, transcription, live blogging and other online or digital resources.

Proposals of no more than 1,500 words, along with a resume for each team member, should be sent as a SINGLE pdf to Please put the name of the applicant(s), title of the project and amount requested at the top of the proposal. The email subject line should be formatted as follows with the last name of corresponding author and date of submission, for example, “Lloyd Idea Grant, October 1, 2014″.

To learn more about the program and awards made to date and read selected proposals from past projects, visit

The NASW Grants Committee will review applications, which are due Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Applications for more than $5,000 will also be reviewed by the NASW Executive Board. Applicants in this round will be notified by January 31, 2015, and can expect disbursements to begin soon thereafter, pending grantees’ acceptance of the grant contract. Applicants should take this timeline into account when planning events. In general, Idea Grants may not be used to fund costs already incurred.

A portion (typically 75%) of the monies will be distributed at the time of the award, and the remainder remitted at the conclusion of the project with receipt of appropriate financial records and report(s). Awards are intended to fund only direct project costs.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers graduate fellowship in specialized journalism

To create a new generation of expert journalists, the Illinois journalism department has launched a program to support as many as six master’s degree candidates each year who have deep knowledge in the form of advanced degrees, including the Ph.D., MBA, M.D. J.D, and aspire to work as journalists covering their fields of specialization. The program includes a tuition and fee waiver, plus a personal stipend.

Candidates will emerge not only with a year of intensive experience in journalism but also with a capstone project designed to demonstrate their journalistic abilities for potential employers.


For information on how to apply contact: Nancy Benson, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Journalism,


Former Echo reporter scores another national award, gives success formula

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

A former Echo writer has won national recognition for a series of environmental stories about the Great Lakes.

Brian Bienkowski, now a reporter and editor at Environmental Health News, received second place in a beat reporting category in the contest sponsored by the national Society of Environmental Journalists.

The series is called Stories of the Great Lakes’ People, Places and Creatures.

Bienkowski, a 2012 graduate of the Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, also received the same award in the same contest last year.

While at MSU, he received the center’s Rachel Carson Award for outstanding environmental journalism graduate student. I figured it would be a good idea to probe for his formula for success:

Groups to EPA: Stop muzzling science advisers

Read the full story from the Associated Press.


Journalist and scientific organizations accused the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday of attempting to muzzle its independent scientific advisers by directing them to funnel all outside requests for information through agency officials.


In a letter Tuesday, groups representing journalists and scientists urged the EPA to allow advisory board members to talk directly to news reporters, Congress and other outside groups without first asking for permission from EPA officials. An April memo from the EPA’s chief of staff said that “unsolicited contacts” need to be “appropriately managed” and that committee members should refrain from directly responding to requests about committees’ efforts to advise the agency.


Distrust Your Data: Jacob Harris on Six Ways to Make Mistakes with Data

Read the full post on The Source.

Critique is always annoying when it’s expressed in indefinite terms. So, I’m going to do something I don’t normally like to do and pick a recent example of a data journalism story gone wrong. This is not to scold those who reported it—indeed, I’m well aware of how easy it is for me to make similar mistakes—but because a specific example provides an explicit illustration of how reporting on data can go wrong and what we can learn from it. And so, let’s begin by talking about porn. [LB note: You have been warned.]

Society of Environmental Journalists Fund for Environmental Journalism: Request for Proposals

Thanks to generous support of the Fund for Environmental Journalism (FEJ) by the Grantham Foundation and many individuals, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) is able to offer professional journalists a fifth year of mini-grant opportunities for projects and entrepreneurial ventures related to reporting on the environment. The next deadline for proposals will be Midnight (EDT) on July 15th. Decisions are announced approximately 60 days after the deadline. Winning projects receive grants of $350 to $3,500.

Over the past four years, SEJ has provided over $90,000 in essential support, or acted as a fiscal agent to facilitate grant support, for 51 reporting projects in various media. Grants are made to both newsroom staff and freelance journalists to cover costs of travel, lab testing, graphics and website development, document access, and other budget items without which journalists would be unable to produce and distribute specific timely stories about important environmental issues. In addition to the grant, SEJ provides mentoring support to any grantees requesting it.

To learn more about the FEJ grant program, including applicant eligibility and submission guidelines, or to see information and links about past awards, please go to the Fund for Environmental Journalism page of SEJ’s website. Please note that at this point in time, only online applications in English are being accepted; and international applicants must give advance consideration to how they expect to receive funds, as SEJ cannot arrange wire transfers and no more than 10% of a grant may be spent on its delivery.

To the interested public, please consider making your own donation today, and help SEJ build the Fund for Environmental Journalism to support new work! If you would like to help experienced environmental journalists continue producing rich and rigorously investigated work, please make a gift on SEJ’s secure website. To arrange a sustaining (monthly), planned/legacy or memorial gift, please email the SEJ office.

Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources announces the Frank Allen Field Reporting Award

The Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources invites applications for their inaugural round of the Frank Allen Field Reporting Awards. The application deadline is April 25.

IJNR will accept proposals for grants of up to $1000 to help defray the costs of reporting projects that focus on natural resources, the environment, energy, development, agriculture, environmental justice, and public health.

The purpose of this grant is to provide financial support for qualified, professional journalists, in order to allow them to report on important topics that they may not otherwise be able to cover. At the discretion of the selection committee, up to eight awards may be granted.

Awards may be given for the full amount requested, or may be given for a percentage of the full amount.

Grant money may be spent on any costs incurred for normal reporting activities: travel, lodging, research, etc. If you have questions, please feel free to ask: