In the latest installment in Photo District News' "How I Got the Grant" series, Pulitzer Center grantees Sean Gallagher and James Whitlow Delan discuss the grant application process, offering advice to prospective grantees.
Sean Gallagher recommends starting small and working to build a relationship with Pulitzer Center editors:
“I would say to someone [making] their first pitch to the Pulitzer Center: Aim small and build up that relationship,” says Beijing-based photographer Sean Gallagher, whose work focuses on environmental issues in Asia. His first grant, in 2009, was a modest sum of money for a project about desertification in China. He has since submitted winning applications for five other grants. “The main thing is to be able to deliver on the story you’ve proposed. Once you’ve completed the first project, they’re keen to establish long terms connections with journalists.”
James Whitlow Delano stresses the importance of connecting international stories with a U.S. audience:
Delano says that a proposed project has a better chance of success if it connects American audiences to a pressing global issue. It took him a couple of attempts to get his first grant for the palm oil project, he explains, because his first proposal—a pitch for a story about deforestation, the violation of human rights, and indigenous people being pushed to the edge of extinction—didn’t link those issues to the U.S. in a direct way.
“Then the Gulf oil spill happened and people were talking about biofuels, and palm oil is used in biofuels,” Whitlow explains. He was able to connect palm oil production to the consumption of bio fuels in the U.S. “Whenever I find a local issue, it’s important to bring people in New York into it, and show how we [Americans] are affecting people on the other side of the planet.”
Read the full story on PDN's website.