NOW CLOSED: Call for energy transition cross-border journalism

We are inviting: international journalists
Winter to Spring 2019
Import into your calendar

Dare to cross borders, cooperate across traditional beats and most of all: collaborate! Clean Energy Wire CLEW pleased to extend the call for a second round of applications for the 'Go collaborate! Energy transition story grant' as the Stiftung Mercator foundation has offered to fund an additional cross-border team of international journalists. Stiftung Mercator adds a first-prize of  5,000 euros to the two CLEW prizes of  4,000 and 3,000 euros. Three teams of international reports will now have the chance to publish in-depth stories, reach more readers and strengthen their impact, as well as attend the Global Energy Transition Journalism Conference 2019 with its focus on business journalism. All submissions are in the running for all three prizes.

All applicants will be informed of the outcome between 26 February - 1 March 2019.

Illustration: Mwelwa Musonko, Foresight Comics

Call for energy transition cross-border journalism - Go collaborate!

The energy transition story cuts both across borders and beats. Whether it’s foreign affairs, science, environment, domestic politics or business: journalists at all those news desks have a plethora of energy transition stories to tell.

In their reporting on the economic sector, journalists at the traditional business desk in particular often write about how corporations seek to meet new emission standards, or innovate in context with the energy transition. However, the connection between business on the one hand and the energy transition as well as the overall climate crisis on the other, is too often not explicit.

For second call for applications of the cross-border story grant, Clean Energy Wire is looking for stories with a clear-cut focus on the relationship between business and the energy transition.

How do businesses adjust to the climate crisis? How does incumbent industries’ transformation look like? Who are the innovators? Who is leading, who is lagging or even working against the transition? What’s the bottom-line and financial impact? How do companies act and shape the transition across borders? These are just some of the questions, the epochal shift to a climate-friendly economy raises.

The first round of the ‘Go Collaborate – Energy transition story grant’ yielded 18 in-depth stories, published in seven media outlets over seven months, following 150 compelling story ideas from 55 pitching teams across 61 countries and all continents. Now, CLEW is calling for a second round of relevant, internationally impactful story pitches that journalists might otherwise have difficulty pursuing due to limited resources and the fast pace of the daily news cycle.

This time, three teams will be awarded an overall sum of EUR 12,000. In addition to the award sums of EUR 3,000 and EUR 4,000 from CLEW, the Stiftung Mercator foundation offered to fund one more prize of EUR 5,000. The three finalists teams will pitch their proposals to the audience of the Global Energy Transition Journalism Conference 2019 in Berlin.

Clean Energy Wire is honoured to have the support of three highly distinguished judges who will help select the most promising cross-border energy transition stories. 

The Jury

Pilita Clark is an associate editor and columnist at the Financial Times where she writes a weekly column on modern corporate life, as well as features and other articles. She has worked for the FT since 2003 and spent six years as the paper’s environment correspondent covering climate change, renewable energy, water scarcity and other issues.  In both 2018 and 2017, she was named environment journalist of the year at the British Press Awards and in 2015 she was named specialist journalist of the year. She was previously a Washington correspondent for Australian newspapers and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.


London-based international journalist and broadcaster Isabel Hilton is founder and editor-in-chief of the independent, non-profit news website The bilingual online publication on the environment and climate change aims to promote a wider understanding of China’s urgent challenges in this respect. Initiated and run by the China Dialogue Trust, Hilton furthermore oversees the online publications and media services,,, as well as Hilton has authored several books, as well as worked for a number of renowned news outlets, including the Sunday Times, the Independent, the Guardian, the New Yorker and the BBC. She is also currently a Visiting Professor at the Lau Institute, Kings College London.


Clara Navío is an environmental journalist. Since 2011 she also chairs the Association of Environmental Information Journalists. In addition, she works for the newspaper La Razón and the blog of @signusecovalor. Throughout her career, she has alternated work in the media such as SER, La Vanguardia and El Sol among others, with communication for entities including SEO/BirdLife or the Nuclear Safety Council. Navío furthermore developed environmental disclosure projects with the Jane Goodall Institute and was co-author of the publications 'The earth, user manual', 'The challenges of sustainable development' and 'Key issues of sustainable development in Spain'.



 The application deadline was 14 January 2019.


What qualifies as a cross-border team?

We consider a cross-border team one in which journalists from different countries and, crucially, different media outlets in different countries pitch a story together. For example, two journalists from Germany, one planning to publish in Huffington Post in the US and the other in the Huffington Post in Germany would not be eligible.


What do journalists need to consider when working on this story?

Adherence to internationally applicable professional journalistic standards is a must. By submitting your application, you agree to follow the code of professional conduct for journalists developed by the International Federation of Journalists. You are also welcome to consult the principles of quality journalism and transparency that the Clean Energy Wire additionally subscribes to.

I am no longer a journalist but I’d like to publish the story on a blog. Am I eligible?

All applicants must be journalists who can publish the final story in a professional media outlet. If the blog is considered a media outlet, you may be eligible. If in doubt about this, contact us in advance via      

Do we require you to publish the exact same story in your different media outlets?

No, we don’t. The collaborative approach means your team will work together on aspects of the story that make sense to collaborate on – for example due to language skills, data access, familiarity with local experts, or knowledge of different story-telling formats. As for the stories resulting from your joint research, we think the journalists know best which story would most interest their readers. Frequently, you will want to write your own story on the basis of your collaborative work.

Is there a minimum number of stories you require us to produce if we are selected?

Each team member will publish at least one story in their respective publications. Of course, if you find a way to publish articles on interim findings connected to your work for the cross-border grant: even better, we encourage you to do so.

What languages can we publish the stories in?

The language you usually publish in! Applications for the grant must be submitted in English. As the stories are intended to reach international audiences, there is no specific language requirement for publication.

I know a great energy transition cross-border story pitch – but I don’t know a journalist in the other affected country/countries.

Go and have a look at the member list of the CLEW Journalism Network. You’ll hopefully find journalists who A.) cover topics within the realm of the energy transition that you’re looking for in the region of interest, and B.) are happy to be in contact with international colleagues. Join the network for access to the full list of members and their email contacts.


Can one journalist apply with more than one team?

One team member may be part of two different pitching teams. All the same members of one team should, however, decide which single pitch they want to submit. If you are in doubt about which story idea to put forward, look closely at the criteria CLEW and jury members will apply to each submission, and consider which story idea fits the criteria better.

What types of stories and formats are eligible?

This round’s focus is on the connection between business and the energy transition and climate crisis story. Make sure that your pitch is centered on this general topic. All types of formats are encouraged, including features, investigative journalism and comparative reporting. Submissions from print, online, TV or radio journalism are all welcome.

Which criteria the story should meet?

The story should meet the following criteria:

  •  Is it new, does it make sense? Is it relevant?
  • Is an editor‘s letter of publication intent included?
  • What specific story is your team proposing?
  • Collaboration: Does the proposal include a plan outlining how the collaboration will take place? Specifically: 1.) What role will each journalist have in the team? 2.) Does the pitch give an idea there is a story to tell in all countries specified?
Should the pitch include a budget plan?

Yes, it should. Please make sure that you answer those questions:

  • Is the budget plausible for the story suggested?
  • Does it cover all proposed stages of the research plan?
  • Does it include any additional sources of funding the journalists’ receive or specify that resources are lacking?

Submitting the application

Shall we submit one application per team or per team member individually?

Make sure to coordinate in advance which team member will gather all details from the other journalists, as you will only submit one application form per team.

I get an error message saying I’m over the character limit, but I don’t think this is correct.

The character limit is specified in the boxes. Note that it includes paragraph breaks. If you have removed all paragraph breaks and are otherwise 100% certain that you are below the limit specified, try using a different Internet server. For example, if you have previously tried submitting unsuccessfully via Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer.

I have submitted our team’s application but have not received a confirmation of receipt.

Please check your spam folder for the automatically generated email with the subject "CLEW Application”, which asks you to confirm that you/your lead team member indeed submitted an application.

You will then hear from CLEW regarding the outcome of your application in the last week of February 2019.

After the deadline

How are finalists selected?

The Clean Energy Wire will review all project proposals. Those that meet the submission criteria will be anonymised and submitted to the three-member jury. The judges will independently select three finalist teams.

All teams will be notified of the outcome of their application in the last week of February 2019.

If your team is among the finalists

How do we prepare for the Global Energy Transition Journalism Conference 2019?

Successful finalists will be invited to the GETJO19 conference on 07 - 08 April 2019 in Berlin. Pitching your story at the GETJO19 conference is a requirement of the grant. The travel and accommodation costs for two team members to attend the conference will be fully funded by CLEW.

Should your team consist of more than two journalists, please independently choose two team representatives who will make the project pitch. Of course the other team members are welcome to sign-up to the conference, pay their own way, and contribute to the pitch.

When will you receive the grant money?

At the GETJO19 conference, the selected grantees and CLEW will sign agreement forms for distributing the award. Immediately thereafter, 50 percent of each grant will be distributed, with the remaining 50 percent paid out upon publication of the final story.

Journalism for the energy transition

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