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Pulitzer Center Update May 26, 2023

FAQ: What You Need To Know To Join the Ocean Reporting Network



The Pulitzer Center has opened its call for applications for the second cohort of the Ocean Reporting Network (ORN). In its first year, the network selected a cohort of eight journalists to receive financial and editorial support to report on the worlds’ oceans. 

Fellows work on individual and collaborative reporting projects to systematically probe the drivers of the degradation of our marine environment. 

Ask Me Anything Webinar

To celebrate World Ocean Day on June 8, 2023, the Pulitzer Center hosted a conversation with Jessica Aldred, the Center's Ocean Editor, and Gustavo Faleiros, the Center's Director of Environmental Investigations. The conversation was be around challenges and opportunities related to reporting on oceans. During this virtual meeting, participants learned about the guidelines for submitting applications for the Ocean Reporting Network (ORN), got tips on how to make applications stand out, and got insight on what the Pulitzer Center is looking for in future Fellows.


What is the Ocean Reporting Network?

The Ocean Reporting Network, or ORN, is a Pulitzer Center initiative designed to facilitate cross-border reporting on illegal fishing, pollution, human rights violations, and other wrongdoings that continue to threaten marine biodiversity and coastal communities. The network will tackle the connections of industrial-scale water contamination to unsustainable supply chains, legal loopholes, and illegal money flows. 

Who can participate? Staff or freelance journalists?

Staff and freelance journalists can participate. We seek experienced reporters, passionate about oceans and innovative storytelling, and willing to work collaboratively with other journalists.  Please take into account this fellowship is a full time commitment.

Do I have to live near a specific ocean to participate?

No. Fellows can be based anywhere in the world; they must work for (or be hosted by) a media organization with national or international reach. 

What are the benefits of being a Fellow? 

  • The Pulitzer Center will cover your salary for a year. Your media organization will also receive financial support (see below for more details). 
  • You will get to work with a group of top-notch journalists from around the world on stories of regional and global impact. 
  • The Pulitzer Center will provide coordination, specialized training, and data support to the network.
  • Editors of the Pulitzer Center can help in finding opportunities for collaboration and syndication of the Fellows’ stories.
  • Fellows will work also with the Pulitzer Center engagement team.

Can I send a proposal without endorsement from a media outlet?

No. Regardless of whether you are sending your proposal as a freelancer or as a staff member, a letter of support by the media organization that employs you or has agreed to host you during your fellowship is required.

Is it possible to send proposals as a team or through my editors?

No. Proposals must be submitted by the Fellowship applicant. After you become a Fellow, it is possible to invite individual colleagues from your newsroom (who are working on your project) to join some of the network’s activities.

How much financial support will Fellows receive?

There is no set amount. We will determine a reporter's annual salary in a particular country after talking with the Fellow and the Fellow's media outlets. 

How long is the fellowship?

The fellowship lasts a year with the possibility of renewal based on performance. 

Are there resources to pay for travel?

The outlets hosting the Fellows will receive $10,000 to cover travel and other editorial costs.

How detailed should my project proposal be?

Your proposal should demonstrate that you have done substantial pre-research on the stories you want to pursue, including hypotheses that guide the work, data sources, and in-depth methodology. It is not necessary to detail how many stories will be produced, but we want to see that there is an ambitious, coherent, and realistic reporting plan in place. While we welcome projects on a broad range of issues related to ocean issues, we encourage applicants to have an ambitious reporting plan and a solid understanding of the scientific, environmental, social, legal, political, and commercial forces at play. 

Should I be exclusively dedicated to the reporting project?

Yes. We expect that this will be the Fellow's main reporting commitment for the year. 

What level of collaboration will take place among the Fellows?

Drawing from the model of collaborative environmental journalism created by the Pulitzer Center’s rainforest initiatives, the ORN is rooted in the principle that collaboration and sharing of data, expertise, and investigative methods result in stronger stories with broader regional and global impact. While each Fellow will pursue his or her own investigation(s), we envision robust collaboration among the Fellows and occasional cross-regional joint reporting when a bigger story merits that approach.  

Who is the primary funder of the network?

ORN is funded by the Norwegian Development Aid Agency (NORAD). 

What is the Pulitzer Center's role in the editorial process?

The Pulitzer Center will coordinate and support the network, including data and research support, but the Fellows and their outlets will have total editorial independence to do their work. Fellows may seek guidance and advice from ORN's editors as needed. 

Is editorial independence guaranteed?

Totally. Without any restrictions.

How should I send my proposal? 

Proposals can be sent through this online form. They should be written in English, but your writing samples can be in bahasa Indonesia, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. 

When is the deadline to apply for an ORN fellowship? 

Applications will be reviewed, and interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis. Early applications are encouraged. The last day to apply is May 26, 2024 at 11:59pm EDT.

If you have questions, please contact Jessica Aldred at [email protected] or Gustavo Faleiros at [email protected] .


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Ocean Reporting Network

Ocean Reporting Network


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