FAQ - Environmental Investigative Journalism

Please first take a look at the Grant Details of this programme. Still have any questions? Then there's a good chance they might be addressed in these Frequently Asked Questions:

What do I need before I can apply?

Basically, you need a good idea for an investigation, a cross-border team of at least two journalists or news outlets, and at least two letters of intent from professional news outlets who are willing to publish the result of your investigation.

You can read how to start from there in the grant details.

Can I apply alone?

No. You need to collaborate with at least one team member in a different country.

I have an idea for a cross-border investigation, but I don’t have a partner yet. How can I find a team member?

Check out our tip page How to find a teammate.

Do I need to publish my story in English?

No. The result of your journalistic investigation can be published by a professional media outlet in any language.

However, it is required to submit your full project application in English. English is the common language of our international jury, and all jury members need to be able to assess all applications on the same basis.

What do you mean with ‘Europe’? The EU?

By saying ‘Europe’, we mean geographical Europe, or the 47 member states of the Council of Europe plus Belarus and Kosovo.

What do you mean with environmental journalism "on European affairs, in or outside Europe"?

The investigation needs to focus on a cross-border environmental issue that (also) concerns Europe. This means that the investigation can also involve issues and locations outside Europe, if there is a link with European companies, banks, policies, etc.

Which costs are eligible to be included in project budget?

Our grant can cover two types of costs:

1. Working time of the journalists to conduct their investigation

2. Expenses:

  • Direct investigation expenses such as travel, visa, accommodation, translation, fixers, access to pay-databases, freedom of information (FOI) requests, legal screening, insurance, etc.
  • Development and support costs, if they have a clear and direct benefit for the specific investigation:
    • Costs covering team members’ participation in trainings and conferences, to gain or strengthen skills needed for the investigation and/or to meet experts and colleagues to discuss their supported research.
    • Costs for technology or development of tools necessary for the investigation (e.g. datasets, satellite imagery, but NO hardware).

Please note we encourage you to travel less and instead team up with your colleagues in that area. Collaborating with other journalists who already work there, have the know-how and knowledge can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and save money, as well as your time.

  • Following expenses cannot be covered by our grant programme: overhead (for example, coordination, project managers, financial or administrative officers), tangible investments goods (such as IT hardware, mobile phones, cameras, microphones), food and beverages, per diems.

How much money can I ask for?

It is perfectly understandable to ask this. We get this question a lot.

However, there is no clear answer. The amounts vary per project and depend on the duration of the investigation, the number of team members and necessary expenses.

We want to stress that you should start from a convincing project plan to conduct your investigation, and only then draft a realistic budget to fund that plan. The quality and realism of the budget you submit is one of the assessment criteria for the jury to grant your project. It is therefore not a good idea to inflate your budget.

In practice, grants could vary from e.g. €2,000 for smaller investigations to €20,000 or even more for very large investigations that involve newsrooms in many countries, require a lot of research and expenses, data access, legal screening, etc., and yield a large series of publications.

I have teamed up with other journalists and/or news outlets. How do we compile and submit our grant application?

One team member can start an application through the online application form. He/she can then invite multiple people to collaborate on the draft application. The online application-in-progress can be saved at any time.

A team can consist of two types of applicants:

  • Freelance journalists (natural persons);
  • News outlets (legal entities). This means that journalists in the team who are an employee of a news outlet do need to be listed as an individual applicant: they fall under the news outlet they work for.

If a grant is awarded to the project, the grant money will be allocated to the different applicants (i.e. the freelance journalists and/or news outlets) according to the submitted budget.

When will I know the result of my grant application?

Applicants are usually informed about the jury decision around 40 days after the application deadline.

Where does the money come from? And how can Journalismfund Europe safeguard my and its own independence?

Journalismfund Europe's Earth Investigations Programme is funded by Arcadia. The Fossil Fuel Grants programme is funded by The Meliore Foundation.

All formal agreements between Journalismfund Europe and its donors stipulate independence and no editorial interference. (Representatives from) donors can never be part of the juries that award the grants. Journalismfund Europe does not take money from donors that don’t agree with these terms.

We adopted an Ethical Funding Policy to ensure that Journalismfund Europe properly manages its priorities and projects with appropriate independence from its funders. This Policy also aims at providing transparency regarding the identity of Journalismfund Europe’s sources of funding to avoid any suspicion of inappropriate influence or conflicts of interest concerning Journalismfund Europe’s activities.

Journalismfund Europe’s financial records are reviewed annually by an independent auditor. You can find all funding information and financial documents here.

I would like to self-publish our investigation on my own platform. Is that OK?

You are welcome to publish parts or your investigation in its entirety on your own platform or blog. However, for the grant application you must provide at least two letters of intent for publication from professional news outlets registered in two different countries, that will be independent from your own platform.

Is the information I submit to Journalismfund Europe about myself and about my investigation secure?

Journalismfund Europe strives for the highest standards for data protection and security. Read about our privacy and data protection measures here.

What is Journalismfund Europe actually?

Journalismfund Europe vzw is a Belgium based independent non‐profit organisation established with the purpose of promoting independent investigative journalism.

Check the general FAQ about our organisation.

What's the Fossil Fuel Programme about?

With this grant programme, Journalismfund Europe supports cross-border investigative journalism that scrutinises the wrongdoings of Europe’s fossil fuel industry and its proxies across the globe. Find more information here.

    More information

    Do you still have questions about this grant programme or about the application procedure? Do you want pre-application advance to discuss your project idea? Don't hesitate to contact us!

    Earth Investigations Programme