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Environmental Journalism Competition 2020

Full Details

** This competition is now closed, but you're welcome to review the Published Writing or publish your own piece to share with others.

What are the most important environmental issues of our time, dear writers? What hopes and fears do you have for our planet? Given your inheritance of this earth and the momentous time brought on by climate change, it is no surprise that the past couple of years have brought a surge of young voices broadcasting environmental awareness and demanding change. Now it’s your turn. Investigate an environmental issue close to home, and then tell us about it in a piece of groundbreaking journalism.
This competition welcomes two forms of journalism (check out the resources, which further outline each of these forms):
  1. An Op-ed that outlines your opinions (e.g. the importance of combatting air traffic sound pollution in your rural community).
  2. An Analysis of a local issue, and its impacts near and far (e.g. the shifting migration patterns of your backyard songbirds).

Guiding Ideas
Regardless of your chosen form of journalism, the following guidelines are designed to help you craft a compelling article:
  •  MAKE IT PERSONAL: We want to know what you think, or how an issue (or a person, if you’re writing a feature) impacts you. It’s always tempting to check out the research and opinions that are already out there before crafting your own response. But before you consider what other people think, carefully contemplate your chosen topic and jot down any ideas that come to mind, as well as any emotions that surface.
  • INVESTIGATE YOUR OPINION: Why do you think what you think? Can you identify the people or experiences that have influenced you in forming this opinion? Your friends? Your family? School? The media or the culture in which you live? Exploring the root of your opinion demonstrates to your readers that you have thought deeply about the issues at hand.
  • BACK UP YOUR IDEAS: Once you have a sense of what you want to say, start collecting evidence. Look at the existing research on your topic, find persuasive quotes from reputable sources, and/or identify experiences from your own life (or anecdotes from people you know) that demonstrate the validity of your perspective.
  • WELCOME CHANGE: As your knowledge deepens, your ideas will likely evolve. This is a good thing! Be open to your perspective becoming more complex and nuanced.
  • CAPTIVATE YOUR READER: A piece about the environment should be a riveting read. Make sure your writing is thoughtful, reflective and clearly structured. Think about starting the piece with a story or anecdote that hooks your reader. Use physical, sensory descriptions and active verbs to make the piece—and the place it’s about—vivid and visceral.
  • MAKE IT UNIVERSAL: As you share your story, keep in mind that your goal is to persuade your audience to listen up. Oftentimes, the most compelling pieces are both personal and universal. Try sharing an experience from your life that supports your opinion (or motivation for writing the piece), while also explaining (or showing through examples) how this topic impacts people on a broader scale. 
  • GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE: Don’t forget to cite your sources. 
Who is Eligible?  
Young writers ages 13-18  
600 – 1,000 words
Guest Judge
Jamie Margolin  is an 18-year-old community organizer, activist, author & public speaker. She is the founder and co-executive director of the international youth climate justice movement, Zero Hour.
  • Best Entry: $100 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the winning piece, and an interview with the author will be featured on Write the World’s blog) 
  • Runner up: $50  (Our guest judge’s commentary on the piece will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
  • Best Peer Review: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the best peer review and an interview with the reviewer will be featured on Write the World’s blog)     
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions? 
  • Prizes: The winning entrant(s) will receive $100, and the best peer-reviewer will receive $50.       
  • Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.       
  • Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday, February 10 and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.   
Key Dates 
February 3: Competition Opens  
February 10: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)      
February 14: Reviews returned to Writers  
February 18: Final Submissions Due
February 28: Winners Announced  
Upcoming Competition
Our Op-Ed Competition opens Monday, March 2nd.
Stay tuned for more details!  

Due Dates
  • Feb 10 - Drafts due for expert review.

  • Feb 18 - Competition Deadline