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The PCIJ Project for Innovation in Storytelling (The PCIJ Story Project for short) will provide grants, initially from P15,000 up to P75,000, for projects that document or expose abuse, negligence, or wrongdoing in the following subject areas:

• courts and criminal justice
• the use of public funds
• human rights
• media, free expression, press freedom, media ethics
• religious, ethnic, and sexual minorities
• poverty and inequality

The Story Project will encourage journalists and artists to team up to tell stories on these subject areas. It will provide support for journalistic projects, including video animation, documentary photography, and stories that combine text with image and sound. The PCIJ Story Project fund can also be used to seed projects – for example to do a story treatment, rough cut, or a trailer for a documentary project in order to seek further funding. It will support stories intended for legacy news media as well as social media platforms, digital-only websites, and non-digital platforms that have traditionally not been used for journalistic production, such as film, the visual arts, theater, and music. Multiplatform storytelling is encouraged, but proposals for stories told in traditional print or broadcast formats will also be accepted.

There are no set formats for final outputs. We will accept proposals for journalist-artist collaborative projects, including for short nonfiction films, photo essays, graphic novels, even spoken word as long as they are based on facts and are backed up by documentary or testimonial evidence. There is no requirement to publish or air on traditional media. We encourage projects that break out of traditional forms of storytelling. Stories intended for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or other social media platforms will be supported as long as they are accompanied by an ambitious and viable marketing, dissemination, and audience engagement strategy. In addition, they must be stories of significant public interest.

Applying to The PCIJ Project for Innovation in Storytelling

The PCIJ will accept proposals from journalists as well as photographers, filmmakers, and artists who work in collaboration with journalists. To apply, those interested should complete a proposal that follows this format:


Current employment, if any:
Links to (or copies of) previous work:
Title of Project:

Project thesis: In at most 300 words, explain the gist of your story – what is the abuse, negligence or wrongdoing you want to expose or document – and why it is in the public interest
Research/reporting methodology: Explain how you will document or prove abuse, negligence or wrongdoing on your chosen topic.
Previous work done by you or others on this topic: Explain who else has done work on this topic (including links to, or copies of, the work) and what new information, angle, or context you hope to add to what has already been out to the public.
Publication plan: Explain how you will present the findings of your research and reporting. Will your report be for a news organization? If so, which one? If not, how will you disseminate your story?
Social engagement plan: Explain how you will ensure maximum distribution and discussion of your project
Team members: If you are working in a team, name the team members, describe each one, and their respective roles
Budget: How will you use the funds?
Workplan: Present a week-by-week plan of work and what you hope to accomplish within a set timetable (say three months or six months). Set deliverables for the mid-point of the project and the end of the project.

Editorial Committee

Proposals to The PCIJ Project for Innovation in Storytelling will be evaluated by a committee of editors led by Sheila Coronel and Howie Severino. Those whose proposals are approved will be assigned to a mentor who will provide guidance to the project. Every project will be verified and fact-checked. They will also be subject to legal and editorial review by the PCIJ.

The criteria for evaluating proposals will include:
• Newness or freshness of story
• Depth and rigor of research and reporting required
• Potential for impact
• Potential for engaging audiences
• Innovativeness of storytelling
• Track record of individual or team making the proposal

Disbursement of Funds

30% upon approval of the project
50% at the midpoint of the project, and upon completion of agreed-upon deliverables
20% upon completion

Copyright and other Issues

The creators of the work will own the copyright, but PCIJ will have the right to link or include the work on a Facebook page or Web platform for The PCIJ Project for Innovation in Storytelling. No work funded by this Project can be released to the public without approval from the PCIJ. All outputs must credit The PCIJ Project for Innovation in Storytelling or #pcij #storyproject.

Deadlines, Inquiries, and Submission

Deadline for first round of proposals is September 15, 2017. Inquiries and proposals can be sent to storyproject@pcij.org.

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