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



  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 26, 2021.
  • The National Press Club Scholarship for 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.
  • 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.
  • STDLabs is offering a $1500 award for the Fall 2020 semester (deadline Nov 1, 2020) and for the Spring 2021 semester (deadline Jun 1, 2021). Available to any student currently enrolled in any degree program at any accredited U.S. university. The mission of the "Test Yourself" Scholarship is to highlight the character-building value of facing a challenge head on.
  • 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 cover hard costs associated with upcoming travel for an international reporting project. The ideal project offers print, photography, radio, and video. Opportunities include travel grants to students at participating Campus Consortium schools. Rolling deadline.
  • 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..


  • 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 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: Nov 16, 2020 for Winter/Spring 2021.
  • The annual Cinema Verde International Environmental Film and Arts Festival in Gainesville, FL, 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. 2020 deadlines (for 2021 festival): Jul 27 (early); Sep 27 (regular); and Oct 17 (final).
  • 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; read the announcement for details. Deadline: Oct 5, 2020.
  • 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: Jun 30, 2020.
  • 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: May 31, 2020 extended to Jun 30.
  • 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, 2020.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Institute for Environmental Journalism Summer 2020, run by the Pulitzer Prize-winning news organization InsideClimate News, is for high school students and recent grads to explore the nation's most pressing environmental concerns, Jul 5-17, 2020, through ambitious journalism immersed in the rugged coast of Maine at the College of the Atlantic. Scholarships available. Deadline: May 1, 2020. 2020 program cancelled to due COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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: April 24, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET. Late deadline, with fee, was Apr 30. (Deadline is normally April 1 but was extended due to COVID-19.)
  • To encourage students to sharpen their abilities to communicate the outdoor experience, the Outdoor Writers Association of America offers the annual Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards. The contest features separate categories for poetry and prose, with cash awards in each, for two different divisions, senior (grades 9-12) and junior (grades 6-8). The work must have been published in a newsletter, newspaper, magazine, literary collection, etc. during the previous calendar year. The publication can be school or club related, or commercial. Deadline: Mar 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.
  • 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 29, 2020.
  • The 2020 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: Mar 15, 2020 extended to Mar 22.
  • Boston University's 2020 Summer Journalism Institute gives students ages 15 to 18 a virtual classroom experience to expand their skills and prepare for college during a time of uncertainty and limited travel due to this year’s pandemic.. Each instructor is also a working journalist, so what’s taught is grounded in real-life experience. Choose from three two-week sessions. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Scholarship apps due Feb 12. Financial aid apps due Mar 6.
  • In the U.S., students aged 11-25 may enter enter the Young Reporters for the Environment USA competition in one of three age categories. Participants investigate an environmental issue relevant to their community and report on it in writing, photography or videography, as individuals or as part of a class or group. This program was sunset in 2020 by the National Wildlife Federation, and replaced with their Photo Contest.
  • Earth Day Network's Foodprints for the Future Journalism Contest for secondary and post-secondary students comprises three categories: essay, video or podcast. Winners receive a trip to Washington, DC to participate in Earth Day 2020 activities on the National Mall on April 25. Deadline: Jan 31, 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.
  • The Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program, which begins in September annually, is for US professionals 40 years or younger (with 5+ years relevant work experience in their proposed field of work in Germany). Fellows complete a 9- to 12-month professional development program consisting of one or two high-level work phases in major German institutions and a traveling, European-wide seminar series. Typically, at least five of the competitively chosen fellows are from the field of Journalism/Mass Communications. The Bosch Foundation places fellows at major German news publications and broadcast media outlets. Includes stipend. No German language skills are required at time of application; intensive pre-fellowship language training is provided. Deadline: Nov 1, 2019. Discontinued after 2020-21 fellowship.
  • Young Environmental Photographer of the Year (under 21) is awarded by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) for work showcasing the very best in environmental photography highlighting impacts on the Earth by humans. Winner receives brand new camera equipment, personalised certificate and an interview in CIWEM’s The Environment Magazine. Deadline: June 30, 2019 extended to Jul 17. Contest to return in 2021.
  • The Korva Coleman Excellence Awards recognize outstanding digital media pieces produced by youth. Ages 14-23 are eligible to compete in the categories of audio, video and online print. Winner of each category receives a $1,000 scholarship and a trip to accept his or her Crystal Korva Award in person at the Spring 2018 awards dinner in Phoenix. Deadline: Jan 31, 2018.
  • The Climate Cost Project's Witnessing Change Video Competition asks high school and college students to make videos that tell stories about the climate impacts experienced by their own communities. Cash prizes of $500 and $250 for first and second place for each competition, and the project will promote winning video as a critical educational tool on the personal and financial costs of climate change that are happening in America now. Deadline: May 1, 2017.
  • 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.


Click to enlarge.

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 >>>