Media Fellowship

About the Media Fellowship

The GAIA and BFFP media fellowship offers media professionals, media organizations, and academic institutions the opportunity to learn about environmental issues affecting the Asia Pacific region.

Fellows from different media outlets are provided the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of core issues such as Zero Waste, plastic pollution, and waste incineration aka waste-to-energy. Instructors and facilitators are experts in the fields and provide Fellows the data that help identify the false solutions offered by big companies and industries. By the end of the Fellowship, Fellows would have gained the experience in framing and reporting the region’s environmental concerns.


First launched in 2019 and held in Dumaguete City, Philippines and Penang, Malaysia. Fellows came from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The selected Fellows previously covered environment and human rights issues and presented the tenacity and proficiency in presenting the interlocking issues.

The Program

The program is designed to maximize the participation of journalists. As such, for face-to-face sessions, the Fellowship is held for five days jam-packed with information and skills sharing, lectures, workshops, site visits, mentoring sessions, and camaraderie with other journalists.

Meanwhile, our current virtual set-up is composed of weekly 1.5 hours sessions for 7 or 11 weeks. The program is still packed with lectures, sharing of previous Fellows, and mentoring sessions. However, instead of actual site visits, Fellows are familiarized with Zero Waste concepts through virtual site visits. From time to time, exclusive deep dives/media briefings are also included in the program.

After the Fellowship, selected Fellows are awarded a modest story grant to report their chosen story through one or all of their preferred media platforms: may it be print, video, broadcast, or digital media.

Aside from the story grants, GAIA and BFFP AP Fellows are also invited and occasionally requested to participate in media briefings/deep dive sessions (Greenwashing and Other False Solutions with Tarra Quismundo, PH, Mar 2021, The Unwrapped Project hosted by Adi Marsiela, ID, Apr 2021, The Plastic Atlas Deep Dive, Apr 2021, Trash Landing On You hosted by Ian McIntyre, MY, May 2021), press launches, and serve as mentors in communications training for GAIA and BFFP AP members.

Fellowship Objectives

While the Fellowship’s primary aim is to reach out to media professionals and create a sense of urgency on topics rarely discussed or covered by the media, the Fellowship also aims to:

  • Encourage media professionals, media organizations, and academic institutions to explore and communicate environmental issues in creative and innovative ways
  • Recognize and highlight the important role of media professionals in communicating environmental issues in the region
  • Value the role of journalists and the media in addressing the false narratives of the plastic and incineration industries
  • Support journalists in telling the stories of affected communities and other underrepresented sectors
  • Open the channel for journalists to meet other journalists and share experiences and insights
  • Give students and academic institutions the chance to learn from media professionals

Story Grants

After the sessions, the Fellows are asked to pitch their stories and those selected are awarded with a small story grant to produce their story.

Our Fellows have developed and published articles and videos on Zero Waste communities, an investigative pieces on Indonesia’s move towards waste incineration, the Philippines’ plastic recycling industry, and finding sustainable waste management solutions in Hanoi.

GAIA-BFFP Asia Pacific Comms Officers Fellowship

Story Grant Criteria

Criteria for the story grant are as follows:

  • Relevance to the campaign (35%)
  • Uniqueness of the story (20%)
  • Platform (TV, radio, broadsheet, online, multi-platform) (20%)
  • Mileage (reach of the journalists outlet) (15%)
  • Budget (cost-efficiency of the project) (10%)

Disclaimer of Course Materials Use