Young Journalists and the News

SEJ posts information about the work of young journalists who are making an impact on their world; opportunities; useful websites; and items of interest about news, activities and events centered on young people implementing change.


Events & Opportunities



  • The annual Cinema Verde International Environmental Film and Arts Festival in Gainesville, FL (virtual in Feb 2021), features documentaries, shorts and student films with art, music and an ecofair. The event seeks to broaden the reach of sustainability education and to help make the world a place where we want to live. Multiple categories, including three for students. 2021 deadlines (for 2022 festival): May 27 (early), Aug 27 (regular) and Oct 17 (late).
  • LA Tutors awards students who showcase their creativity and make positive impacts with a $500 Innovation in Education Scholarship. On an ongoing monthly basis, this scholarship is open to all currently enrolled high school and college students who showcase their creativity while helping those around them (whether that be in a creative fundraiser, inventive new app, series of blog posts on a particular theme, or another idea). The application deadline is 11:59 pm PST on the 20th of each month.
  • Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Grants and Fellowships: The Pulitzer Center partners with individual journalists and news organizations to support in-depth, high-impact reporting on topics of global importance. Open to freelance and staff journalists. Scroll down to see a list of opportunities. Deadlines vary.
  • The American Society of News Editors' Youth Journalism Initiative helps students learn why news matters and acquire the skills needed to succeed as 21st-century citizens. The Initiative invests in the future of journalism and democracy by providing resources and training in youth journalism; news, information and media literacy; and the First Amendment and civic education. Includes an annual First Amendment Matters PSA Contest.


  • Young Environmental Photographer of the Year (21 and under) is awarded by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) in partnership with WaterBear for work showcasing the very best in environmental photography highlighting impacts on the Earth by humans. Winner receives brand new camera equipment, personalised certificate, an interview in CIWEM’s Environment Magazine, a profile on the WaterBear platform, a feature on Nikon Europe’s website and more. Deadline: Aug 14, 2021.
  • The Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award recognizes outstanding reporting and writing in non-technical, print journalism only, in any field of science, by science writers aged 30 years and younger. The winner receives $1,000 and expenses to attend the combined annual meeting of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW)/Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW). Deadline: Jun 30, 2021.
  • The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards crown a Comedy Wildlife Photographer of the Year who wins a one-week safari in Kenya with Alex Walker's Serian, a unique handmade trophy, Think Tank gear, a new website designed by Amazing Internet and an iPad provided by Affinity, along with their photo editing software. Five categories include one for video and one for those <16 years old. Free to enter. Deadline:  Jun 30, 2021.
  • A Digital Path to Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Latin America, a twice-yearly International Center for Journalists program on entrepreneurship and innovation, is for journalists, ages 25 to 40 years, in Latin America. During the 15-week virtual program, fellows receive one-week ICFJ-led virtual orientation, six weeks professional virtual newsroom attachments, eight weeks professional mentoring and a $1,700 grant for their digital project. Deadline: Jun 25 for Fall 2021.
  • Are you interested in expanding your journalism skills and learning from top journalism educators and professionals June 28-30, 2021? Apply for the virtual Missouri University Journalism Workshop by Apr 30 extended to Jun 14.
  • The Online News Association's Online Journalism Awards honor excellence in digital journalism around the world. Includes a student journalism category and a climate change reporting category. Deadline: Jun 10, 2021.
  • The Grist Fellowship Program offers two virtual opportunities for early-career journalists and media professionals with a variety of skills, from traditional reporting to multimedia whizbangery: News & Politics Fellow and Environmental Justice Fellow. The six-month fellowship, which runs twice yearly, pays $3,334 per month. Deadline: May 18 for Summer/Fall 2021.
  • The Native American Journalists Association invites student members to apply for the 2021 Native American Journalism Fellowship and/or 2021 NAJA Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship. Open to current Indigenous, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, First Nations and Métis college students, undergraduate and graduate, pursuing degrees in broadcast, print or digital journalism (fellowship) or digital media/journalism/communications (scholarship). Fellows receive professional mentoring; scholarships are one-time awards of $10,000. Deadline: Apr 30, 2021.
  • Canada's National Eco-Journalism Competition for Youth is an annual competition, part of Young Reporters for the Environment's international awards program. The Canadian program is coordinated by EcoSchools Canada, and recognizes inspired stories, photos and videos about local environmental issues from 11-18 year olds. Winners have the chance to be published by Alternatives Journal Magazine and ENVMedia. Deadline: Apr 25, 2021.
  • The 2021 Lorenzo Natali Media Prize will be awarded in three categories, one of which is the Best Emerging Journalist Prize: open to journalists under 30 whose media is headquartered in any country where DG DEVCO and DG NEAR provide development assistance, as well as in the EU Member States. Prize is €10,000 and a work experience with a media partner. Deadline: Apr 18, 2021.
  • The National Press Club Scholarship for Journalism Diversity Honoring Julie Schoo, aiming to bring diversity to U.S. journalism, is offering a $5,000 one-year scholarship (renewable for up to three years) to high school seniors with a grade point average of 3.0 or better who are preparing to enter college and intend to become a journalist. Deadline: Apr 15, 2021.
  • George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs' 2021 Planet Forward Virtual Summit, with a focus on the urgency of the climate crisis, environmental equity, inclusion — and the narratives that propel them, is for students who are studying journalism, communications or interested in science and sustainability. April 9, 2021, 12-4pm ET.
  • Youth aged 13-17 are invited to enter the National Wildlife Federation's Photo Contest. Cash prizes and a camera up for grabs. Deadline: Mar 28, 2021 extended to Apr 4.
  • SEJ's annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment includes an Outstanding Student Reporting category. First-place winner receives $500, trophy and a certificate (and is automatically entered into the Pulliam Award judging for $10,000). 2nd place: $250 and a certificate. 3rd place and honorable mentions will receive a certificate. Regular deadline: Mar  1, 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET. Late deadline, with fee: Apr 1.
  • Planet Forward Storyfest Awards recognize and reward the best and most compelling student-told stories illuminating environmental issues and solutions, shared during the 2020-2021 school year. These can be stories that students wrote for classes, student publications or original reporting. Deadline: Mar 29, 2021.
  • The Radio Television Digital News Foundation offers scholarships for outstanding students and fellowships for young professionals (<10 years experience in the field) pursuing careers in radio, television or online news. Both the Michelle Clark Fellowship and N.S. Bienstock Fellowship are given to promising minority applicants. Deadline: Mar 1, 2021 extended to Mar 10.
  • To encourage students to sharpen their abilities to communicate the outdoor experience, annual awards are being offered as part of the Norm Strung Youth Writing Contest and the OWAA Student Photo Contest. Cash prizes and a yearlong OWAA Student Membership will be granted in both categories, split over two age groups — high school (grades 11-12) and college. Deadline: Mar 1, 2021.
  • Bodie McDowell Scholarships are usually given annually to three or more students of outdoor communications fields including print, photography, film, art or broadcasting. The awards, offered by the Outdoor Writers Association of America, can range from $1,000 to $5,000. Open to all college students, undergraduates in their Junior or Senior year of study and graduate level, from all communications and journalism disciplines and all schools. Applications open Jan 1. Deadline: Mar 1, 2021.
  • Media professionals, age 40 and under, from the U.S., Canada and Germany are invited to apply for the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship, an opportunity to report from and travel in each other's countries. Share professional expertise with your colleagues across the Atlantic while working as a "foreign correspondent" for your hometown news organization. Deadline: Mar 1, 2021 for U.S. and Canadian applicants.
  • The Canadian Journalism Foundation's 2021 awards include the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award, a six-week paid internship at The Canadian Press head office in Toronto. Designed to give an early-career photographer trying to break into the business a chance to perform on the national stage. Deadline: Feb 19, 2021.
  • The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, for excellence by professionals under the age of 35, judge print, broadcast and online entries against one another, a practice of increasing interest as technology blurs traditional distinctions between rival branches of the profession. Three $10,000 prizes. Deadline: Feb 1, 2021.
  • The NAJA/NBC News Summer Fellowship, a partnership between the Native American Journalists Association and Comcast NBCUniversal, gives NAJA member-students real world experience and exposure to one of the world's leading news divisions as a paid summer 2021 intern. Deadline: Jan 27, 2021.
  • Amnesty International Canada's Youth Media Awards honour students who have created content covering international or national human rights issues with a particular emphasis on how they impact young people. Deadline: Jan 15, 2021.
  • The Alexia Grants are awarded to professional and student photographers to give them the financial ability to produce substantial stories that drive change in the effort to make the world a better place. Students also get scholarship opportunities. Deadline: Oct 5, 2020. 2021: The application period opens in mid-September and closes in early October.
  • The Society for Neuroscience Science Journalism Student Award enables students pursuing a science or medical journalism degree to attend the SfN annual meeting, October 24-28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Recipients get complimentary meeting registration, four nights’ lodging, a mentor, access to SfN staff and $750 to help defray the expenses of attending the meeting. Deadline: Jun 1. (The 2020 meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19; Neuroscience 2021 will take place Nov 8 -11 virtually, and Nov 13-16 at McCormick Place Convention Center, in Chicago, Illinois.)
  • Are you a photographer 18-25 years old? What ideas do you want to convey around the themes of conservation, biodiversity and sustainability of the natural world? The goal of the BigPicture Emerging Photographer Grant is to encourage young photographers with fresh approaches to this topic to present their perspectives in photographs and media. Two $2,500 grants plus mentorship. Deadline: May 31, 2020.
  • Young people develop their written, speaking, communication and leadership skills, while learning about diversity, through the annual Asian American Journalists Association's JCamp. The program is not limited to Asian American students; it's open to all high school students. Deadline: Mar 29 for the Jul 5-10, 2020 program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Due to the pandemic, JCamp 2020 was cancelled; JCamp 2021 will be held virtually for the original applicants that were selected in early 2020.
  • High school, undergraduate and graduate students (PhD & Masters included) are invited to compete for the David Carr Prize for Emerging Writers for SXSW 2020, March 13-16 in Austin, TX. Enter an essay or short story of 1,500 words or less addressing the question "What do we do with our time and lives if society no longer depends on us to work?" Deadline: Dec 6, 2019.
  • Kids These Days... Looking Out for Their Own Future, a panel during SEJ's 21st Annual Conference in Miami, October 2011, featured young environmental activists who discussed the initiatives they started at their schools and in their communities.




"10 Internship Alternatives for the COVID-19 Era," International Journalists' Network, Jun 11, 2020, by Damian Radcliffe.

April, 2020 – "State of Emergency" wins IRE's Student Award (large division) — a 2019 investigation into natural disasters by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a national multimedia reporting project produced by the nation’s top journalism students and graduates. Each year, students selected into the program report in-depth on a single topic of national importance.


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ASU’s Cronkite News Service Cleans Up in SEJ Student Awards
Jan 15, 2020 – One journalism school seems to have hit on a formula for success in generating award-winning student reporting on the environment. EJ Academy editor Bob Wyss on why Arizona State’s Cronkite News Service cleaned up in this year’s Society of Environmental Journalists’ student awards category. See the accompanying article by Chris McCrory, a young journalist looking for a quick report who found himself instead on a five-month odyssey to cover the hidden dangers of abandoned mining sites in the Southwest. His persistence paid off with a great story, and the first-place win in SEJ's 2019 Ray Reece “Excellence in Environmental Journalism” Student Award. Pictured at right: McCrory receiving the award from SEJ board member Gloria Dickie in October 2019 at SEJ's 29th annual conference in Fort Collins, Colo.


Rebecca Burton

Scientific American features SEJ member Rebecca Burton on its SA Incubator blog, June 11, 2013. Visit Rebecca's personal blog on health, science and hula-hooping: Layman’s Terms Media.



SEJ member Richard Zajac, an 18-year-old high school senior from Missouri, was already considering filmmaking as a career before the Fukushima disaster in early 2011. Determined to document, help out and inspire, he travelled to Japan, connected with the non-profit Safecast, which was measuring radiation levels. The following month, he interviewed ocean expert Jean-Michel Cousteau in California on the effects on marine life of radiation in the waters. Later in October, he attended the Society of Environmental Journalists' annual conference in Miami. There he previewed his documentary film "New Hibakusha." Read more.