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Future Oceans Story Grants

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network is commissioning a series of stories that explore disruptive innovations likely to affect marine conservation, providing a multi-dimensional, global look at the technologies, policies, and people that are creating a new future for the world's oceans.

Disruptive Innovations for Marine Conservation

The ocean is currently in the midst of a massive ecological and economic shift. Technologies ranging from deep water drilling to ocean-going robots to enormous freezer ships are enabling humans to explore and exploit the oceans at unprecedented scale in novel ways.  But there is reason to believe that we may also be on the threshold of profound changes in our ability to manage and regulate the seas. 

Articles selected as part of this collection will explore what new technologies and other innovations that are either in the lab or on the horizon have the potential to fundamentally alter how humanity uses and manages the oceans. Story authors should envision how use and management of the oceans may be disrupted or transformed over the next 50 years, grounding their reporting in science and other credible analyses, interpreting them in light of relevant current events. Competitive proposals should identify leading initiatives and individuals in engineering, science, NGOs, or business.

Funding for this series is being provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Story Themes:

We are open to your story ideas, but also have come up with some themes that we expect the stories will address. Applicants are free to offer a variation on these themes, or to propose entirely new ones, but we do expect that management of the future oceans, and the role of innovative technologies and policies, will be a key feature of all our stories.

Ocean Food:

  • What impacts can technologies that improve traceability and transparency in the seafood system have on fisheries conservation and management?
  • How do improvements in traceability shift practices and the expectations of seafood buyers and retailers?
  • What innovations are needed for improving management of both wild and farmed seafood stocks, especially in developing countries?

Ocean Energy and Resources:

  • The oceans currently serve as a sink for carbon emissions, plastics and other waste. How will the ocean respond to these waste streams and how can they be reduced?
  • What will be the role of the ocean as a source of energy and mineral resources?

Ocean Tech:  

  • What new tools are on the horizon for monitoring, understanding and addressing the condition of the ocean?
  • What role can robots, drones (gliders), satellites, and nanotechnology play in marine conservation?

Ocean Life

  • What innovations are changing the way humans value conserving marine biodiversity?
  • What will be the role of genetic engineering and geo-engineering (including inadvertent forms such as climate change) and how will they change the oceans?
  • What is the role of technologies that stimulate changes in the collection of marine life’s genetic information for biomimicry, medicine, and materials?

Ocean Policy:

  • How will the increasing sophistication of science for monitoring the ocean affect the management of the ocean?
  • How will the concept of exclusive economic zones, marine protected areas, and international waters be challenged or reinforced by innovations in marine conservation and exploitation?
  • Who are the new actors we can expect to see in marine conservation and the ocean economy in the coming century?
  • How can policy adapt to innovations in marine conservation and exploitation, and the rise of powerful new actors in the coming century?

Ocean’s Perceived Value

  • What technology or tools are needed and/or on the horizon that would provide ways to determine the importance of and the value the ocean provides to communities.
  • What efforts, information and/or campaigns will change the way humans understand the importance and value of the ocean?
  • What new or additional sources of data might emerge to help communicate the state of the oceans and the need to improve management?

Story Formats

Longform narrative: 2500 to 5000 words *

News Article 500 to 1200 words

Multimedia package: video, graphics, maps.

*Applicants for long-form articles should include multimedia elements in their pitch.

Who should apply?

Journalists (online, print, television) and other expert media practitioners with a track record of reporting on oceans, conservation, and/or technology are welcome to apply. We will be offering competitive rates for stories, but do have a limited budget. Story writers and producers will be free to publish or broadcast their stories in other media – indeed we encourage this – so long as Internews and the Packard Foundation are also given rights to publish, broadcast and distribute them freely.

Deadline for Applications: 03 April 2015

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