The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism is awarding $1,000 to the journalist doing the most innovative environmental coverage.
If you've come up with a new idea that is changing the way environmental news and information is communicated -- if you are using social media or' iPhone apps.' to cover the environment or pioneering with a new economic model or type of coverage -- you are encouraged to apply.
To enter, fill out an application form.'The contest is looking for innovations that are actually being tried or experimented with. In no more than 1,000 words, write about your idea. Include three letters of recommendation. A panel of experts will evaluate the idea and determine the winner.
Applicants must submit a proposal by April 30, 2010 to the Knight Center via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to:
EJ Innovator of the Year Award
Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, Room 382
Communication Arts Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
The winner will also receive an all expenses paid trip to speak about her/his idea at a conference in Michigan State University to celebrate the School of Journalism's 100th anniversary the weekend of Oct. 22-24, 2010.
Frequently Asked Questions Q: What are you looking for in an entry?
A: We seek examples of new technology, journalism techniques or other innovative efforts that advance environmental reporting and the public understanding of environmental issues. It could be a new way of financially supporting environmental journalism.' It could be something that tells an environmental story that otherwise would not be told. It could be a new way of publicly reporting an environmental issue. It could be a new way of engaging people to help report credibly on the environment. It could be something else. We're looking for innovations and you may have tried something that doesn't fit into any neat categories.
Q: That's hard to envision. You got an example?
A: Hey, if it were easy there wouldn't be an award for it. But maybe this will give you a bit of the flavor: Last year journalism students at Northwestern University developed a measure of how green the Congressional elections were swinging as the votes came in. Something like that would have been given consideration if we had the award then.
Of course, if you figure out a new way to financially support environmental journalism, all of us win much more than this award.
Q: What don't you want?
A: This is not a contest for the best environmental news story of the year.
Q: Can it be an idea for an innovation?
A: No. It must be something that has been actually put to use between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of 2009.
Q: Must it be created by a news organization?
A: It can be. But we also encourage entries from people or organizations that are not necessarily affiliated with journalism. Anyone is eligible to enter.
Q: Can it be a Web site?
A: C'mon, we're looking for innovation. The Web has been around more than a few years. A Web site might be the delivery platform, but the winner will have to do more than simply report environmental stories online.
Q: What can I win?
A: $1,000 and a handsome plaque.
Q: Will this contest continue in the future?
A: We hope that it will be an annual event. A lot depends upon what happens this year and whether we can obtain funding to support this competition in the future. This year's contest is being supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Q: Will I win anything else?
A: Yes. Winners will be asked to discuss their innovation with students and faculty at Michigan State University's School of Journalism during the J-School's centennial celebrations the weekend of Oct. 22 to 24, 2010. All of your expenses will be paid.
--Marly Falcon, Knight Foundation contributing blogger