Opportunity for Brazilian Journalists to Investigate Scientific Disinformation

By: 12/06/2022

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is partnering with the Serrapilheira Institute to offer journalists, researchers and communications professionals from Brazil the opportunity to take part in the Disarming Disinformation “Investigathon” in the United States in April 2023. Up to three of the selected projects will receive grants to publish investigative and collaborative reports following the Investigathon. Applications will be open until Feb. 5, 2023.

The spread of  dis- and misinformation in the scientific world is dangerously common. Misleading data about medicine and vaccines became even more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic, but misinformation related to biology, chemistry, physics, computing and mathematics also goes viral – often through false studies and low-quality research.

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the Serrapilheira Institute, the first private non-profit institution geared towards fostering science in Brazil, are partnering to support collaborative reporting conducted by Brazilian journalists, communications professionals and/or researchers. The initiative is part of the global Disarming Disinformation program, launched by ICFJ with the Scripps Howard Foundation, and aims to support journalism that reveals the people and money behind disinformation campaigns.

 

Apply for the Serrapilheira Grants

Learn more about the application process


Through ICFJ’s partnership with Serrapilheira, Brazilian participants who work on issues of disinformation in science will be able to compete for up to five exclusive slots in the Investigathon, an in-person event that will take place in Austin, Texas, in April 2023. Project proposals must be collaborative, involving journalists from two or more media outlets.

At the Investigathon, the selected participants will join 15 professionals from other countries in the Americas and will receive mentoring to improve research, collaboration and distribution strategies for the news content they intend to produce. The Investigathon will take place immediately before the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ), hosted by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, at the University of Texas. Participants in the Investigathon will be provided airfare, lodging during both the Investigathon and ISOJ and free access to ISOJ.

Investigathon participants will have the opportunity to publicly pitch their reporting projects for funding, and up to three of the five Brazilians attending the Investigathon will receive grants of up to US $10,000 to produce and publish their projects in the first half of 2023. Expert mentors will provide guidance to the teams throughout the reporting phase.

“False information about COVID-19, climate denialism, lobbying by interest groups on food, public health or the environment have shown us how science has become one of the main targets of disinformation,” said Natasha Felizi, Serrapilheira's director of Science Outreach. “Think tanks, 'research institutes,' associations and communication channels emerge as spokespersons for anti-scientific agendas. In addition to understanding the phenomenon, it is necessary to investigate how it is articulated, financed and who benefits from it.”

“With this partnership, we want to encourage Brazilian journalists to investigate scientific disinformation from the multidisciplinary and international perspective offered by ICFJ,” said Cristina Tardáguila, senior director of programs at ICFJ. “We hope that the reports produced through the initiative reach a wide audience in Brazil and around the world.”  

We are looking for candidates who:

 

  • Live and/or work in one of the countries of the Americas (North, Central and/or South). Note: entries from other regions will not be evaluated.
  • Can actively participate and interact at an event held in English. ICFJ may request an interview with some of the candidates to assess this competence.
  • Is willing to work in a truly collaborative way and according to a schedule previously defined by the ICFJ with the interested parties.
  • Is a journalist, communicator, researcher and/or professional from other areas of expertise who have proven ability to contribute to the production and/or distribution of an investigative report on who/what funds scientific disinformation.
  • Have knowledge and experience in the area of ​​disinformation. 


Schedule

● Deadline is Feb. 5, 2023: Applications are due by 11:59 PM (Brasília time)

● April 2023: “Investigathon” in Austin, Texas + ISOJ

● June 2023: Reporting projects published
 

About ICFJ

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) empowers a global network of journalists to produce news reports that lead to better governments, stronger economies, more vibrant societies, and healthier lives. We serve our community by providing training, mentoring, fellowships, and financial support in investigative journalism, critical-issues reporting, media innovation, and financial sustainability through cutting-edge research and resources. Learn more at icfj.org.

About the Serrapilheira Institute

The Serrapilheira Institute is the first private non-profit institution geared towards fostering science in Brazil. It was founded in 2017 to place more value on scientific knowledge and to increase science visibility. It aims to stimulate a culture of science by acting in two areas: science itself and science outreach.

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