Student Environmental Reporting Contest

Student Environmental Reporting Contest

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Joining a wide array of politicians, scientists, activists, advocates, and religious leaders in recognizing the critical state of our environmental health, the Rutgers Department of Journalism and Media Studies and Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University are making an open call for student journalism stories focused on the topic of environmental health and justice in New Jersey. The best of these stories will be included as part of a statewide collaborative project, Dirty Little Secrets: New Jersey’s Toxic Legacy, which specifically focuses on the lesser-known stories of environmental contamination in the state. And the very best will be awarded cash prizes.

We are looking for New Jersey-based news stories in all mediums, which seek answers to the following question: How are particular environmental issues impacting the health of local communities in New Jersey? Consider the following topics:

  • Health impacts and remediation of toxic sites across the state
  • The state of our water, air, cities, and food — with particular concern to human and environmental health
  • Climate issues that have changed or impacted communities
  • Preparation for and effects of weather and earth events

In addition to original ideas, we will maintain a repository of specific ideas related to our project that students may draw from. Reporting well on one of these ideas, rather than generating an original idea, will not penalize a submission. Please write to to receive a list of reporting leads.

We are looking for stories that are specific, well-reported and which break new ground on telling the story of New Jersey’s toxic legacy.

Grand Prize: $650
Second Prize: $300
Third Prize: $150

Winners will be announced at a public event at Rutgers University on April 22, 2016.

Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at a New Jersey university or college, including community colleges.

Written stories should be no longer than 2,500 words.

Video and audio submissions should be no longer than five minutes.

Please send us your submissions using this Google form. Submissions are due on
April 1, 2016.

For more information contact Todd Wolfson at or Joe Amditis at

The judging panel will include Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting, George Rodrigue, editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Victor Pickard, associate professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, Andaiye Taylor of Brick City Live, and Ju-Don Marshall Roberts of LifePosts, Inc.