Media Fellowship

About the Media Fellowship

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

Fellows are provided with the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of GAIA Asia Pacific core issues such as Zero Waste, plastic pollution, waste incineration aka waste-to-energy, and climate. Mentors (instructors and facilitators) are experts in their fields and provide Fellows with on-the-ground experience of Zero Waste.

By the end of the Fellowship, Fellows would have gained experience in framing and reporting the region’s environmental concerns.


First launched in 2019 and held in Dumaguete City, Philippines and followed by a second in Penang, Malaysia, fellows came from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The selected Fellows previously covered environmental and human rights issues and presented 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 Asia Pacific 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 fellowships and trainings for GAIA Asia Pacific 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 communications students 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, videos, and investigative pieces on Zero Waste, waste incineration, waste pickers and waste workers, finding sustainable waste management solutions, and plastics.

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%)