Bylines of the Biosphere.
The goal is to encourage journalists to become more active in reporting biodiversity issues in their countries. "The contest recognizes the most outstanding environmental journalists in each of the participating nations," says Haroldo Castro, vice president for CI's international communications and founder of the award. "These professionals are raising public awareness and triggering debate over critical environmental issues, such as the loss of global biodiversity."
To provide a unique training opportunity for these professionals, the first-prize winners are invited to attend the World Congress of Environmental Journalists, organized by IFEJ. In 1999, two winners participated in the annual gathering held in Bogota, Colombia. In 2000, Zilia Castrillon Marquez from Colombia, Jorge Jimenez from Guatemala, and Miranda La Rose from Guyana took part in the Eighth World Congress in Egypt.
This year, the first-prize winners will travel to Germany, from September 30 to October 4, to interact with over one hundred colleagues from all continents and share with them their experiences, challenges, and expectations. The second- and third-prize winners will receive a cash award, granted by the organizers, as well as a two-year membership to IFEJ, and a professional resource kit from ICFJ. An additional cash prize will be granted by the Madrid-based magazine Scenes of the World, which will publish the submitted article of one of the six first-prize winners.
Both staff and freelance journalists who are residents of each participating country are invited to submit entries. This year the deadlines have been staggered to accommodate the three different languages. For Brazil, the deadline is April 30, 2001; for Bolivia, Colombia, and Guatemala, May 31, and for Guyana and Ghana, June 30.
The "Biodiversity Reporting Award" uses the Internet as its main operating platform. Both judging of the entries and different stages of the contest are conducted and posted on a webpage specifically created for this purpose. All competing entries from the 1999 and 2000 contests, as well as the rules for the contest in each country, are posted on the award's official website at: www.conservation.org/intercom/award.