InquireFirst awards two environmental reporting grants at World Conference of Science Journalists in Medellin

InquireFirst, in partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), is proud to announce that it has awarded two Historias Sin Fronteras reporting grants simultaneously for the first time in its seven-year history.

Two teams of Latin American science writers will receive grants for their cross-border projects after making compelling story pitches during our March 27 , 2023, InquireFirst workshop at the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in Medellín, Colombia. More than 40 journalists attended our workshop from 15 countries and Puerto Rico.

Historias Sin Fronteras co-founders S. Lynne Walker and Iván Carrillo announced the winning teams on March 28 at the WCSJ at the conclusion of a panel discussion on the impact of cross-border science, environmental and health reporting.

The teams will be focusing their investigations and multimedia projects on two very different subjects.

Reporters Barbara Fraser in Peru, Luis Alberto Guevara in Bolivia and Michelle Morelos in Mexico will be conducting their research on lithium mining and the enormous costs in terms of water use and impact on the communities in each of their three countries.

In making their successful story pitch they raised this thought-provoking question: Lithium, water and power…green energy for whom and at what cost?

Carrillo and Walker, who judged the projects, said the team proposed “a story that explores the relationship between the Global North and the Global South through lithium and its potential economic benefits.”

“We were drawn to the focus of the story, which explores not only scientific and social issues, but also the ethical relevance of this issue,” they said in awarding the grant.

The second grant recipient is a four-person team from Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia that will report on the impact of climate change on the region’s food supply.

Johanna Osorio of Venezuela, Maria Clara Valencia of Colombia, Ruth Vargas of Bolivia and Sonia Tejada of Panama plan to tell this complex story by focusing on favorite dishes from each of their countries to show a larger problem about a sustainable food supply.

Carrillo and Walker said they were drawn to “the promise of telling the story through the dishes that all of us enjoy, with one undesirable ingredient – climate change. This story offers a window into the environmental crisis by focusing on something that everyone cares about – the food on our dinner tables.”

Both projects will be published on our Historias Sin Fronteras website in the upcoming months.

InquireFirst launched Historias Sin Fronteras at the 2019 WCSJ in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Since awarding the first grant at that year’s conference, Historias Sin Fronteras has published nine cross-border projects.

In addition to publishing on our own website, 43 media organizations from Canada to Argentina have published one or more of our Historias Sin Fronteras projects.

By supporting this regional initiative, InquireFirst and HHMI’s Department of Science Education aim to convene, inspire and encourage the work of science writers in Latin America.

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