About the Award
The Biodiversity Reporting Award (BDRA) is an annual environmental journalism award organized by Conservation International, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ).
Both the ICFJ and IFEJ are recognized, well-respected and independent institutions that have helped guarantee the contest's prestige and credibility with the international media. In addition to these global partners, local partners collaborate on the award.
1999 - The BDRA is launched as a pilot project in Guatemala and Guyana, with support from the Marian Heiskel Charitable Fund. Nineteen journalists participate in the contest with 42 stories. First Prize winners Robert Bazil and Edgar Arana travel to the VIII IFEJ Conference in Bogotá, Colombia.
2000 - Based on its success, the BDRA is expanded to include Colombia. Thirty-five journalists, from 17 media houses, enter 85 stories. Winners Jorge Jimenez, Miranda la Rose and Zilia Castrillón go to Cairo, Egypt, to participate in the IX IFEJ Conference.
2001 - Financing from the Virginia W. Cabot Foundation allows the competition to be expanded to three additional countries: Bolivia, Brazil and the first African country, Ghana. From 88 participants, six winners are chosen who went on to attend the X IFEJ Conference in Germany.
2002 - Peru replaces Guatemala in this fourth annual contest. One hundred fifteen journalists enter 222 articles. Six winners travel to Baltimore, Maryland, USA, to attend the XII Annual Conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists of the US (SEJ).
2003 - The contest is organized in the same six countries. Additionally, a pilot project in Peru and Bolivia launches an award for Radio, with 18 participants in both countries. Six winners, selected from a total of 125 journalists, participate in the XIII SEJ Conference in New Orleans, USA.
2004 - Madagascar replaces Ghana and the contest continues to be held in six countries. In this sixth edition, 109 print journalists, representing 72 media outlets, participate in the award with 186 stories. Brazil launches a new category, Television, and receives 22 stories from 17 journalists from 11 television programs. The seven winners travel to Bangkok, Thailand, to take part of the III IUCN World Conservation Congress.
2005 - Financing from FB allows the competition to be expanded to Ecuador and Venezuela. The award program now comprises eight national awards for written press, and one television award for Brazil. The Regional Andean Award is celebrated for the first time, honoring the best two reports from the Andean region. During 2005, 212 journalists, representing 107 media, sent 376 written stories and 33 television reports.
2006 - The award is organized in nine countries and 12 categories with a participation of 588 printed articles, written by 363 journalists and representing 148 media outlets. Peru receives the highest number of articles: 104. Brazil holds, for the third time, its television contest, with 68 reports. The eight Latin American winners travel to Madrid to attend the Eighth Environmental National Congress of Spain; journalists from Ecuador and Colombia are honored with the First and Second Andean Prize, respectively.
2007 - Our partner ICFJ extended the BDRA to Belize and four countries in the Caucasus region. Once again, Peru received the highest number of articles: 147. Seven Latin American winners traveled to Bariloche, Argentina to attend the II Latin American Park Congress. Journalists from Bolivia and Mexico were honored with the first and second Latin American Award, respectively.
2008 - The contest received 559 articles (including 44 TV reports) submitted by 332 journalists from 161 news media outlets located in 13 countries: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Madagascar, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and the Caucasus Region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and part of Russia). The winners from Latin America were awarded with a trip to IUCN's World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in October. Miriam Telma Jemio and Ramiro Escobar La Cruz won the first and second prize of the Latin American Award with stories on the environmental impacts of the illegal trade of bats in Bolivia and an oil drilling project in Peru.
2009 - The Biodiversity Reporting Award (BDRA) took place in nine countries in 2009, including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the Caucasus region. A total of 473 news articles was submitted by 297 journalists representing 124 outlets. The first prize winners in each country were awarded a trip to the 9th World Wilderness Congress (WILD9) in Merida, Mexico, in November. Brazil participated in the Latin American category for the first time and immediately stole the spotlight. Renowned environmental journalist Liana John, from Terra da Gente magazine, was presented with the first prize by Conservation International's President, Russ Mittermeier, at a ceremony held during WILD9. She won for her story about araçaris, a species of bird that plays an important role in seed dispersal and reforestation of the Atlantic Forest. Bolivia's Mirna Echave won the second prize for her story about zambullidor, a threatened species of bird native to Lake Titicaca.
2010 - The award was held in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Madagascar and had the participation of 254 journalists from 109 news outlets, who submitted a total of 438 news articles. The first prize winner in each country were taken to the United Nations climate talks (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010.
Judging and Prizes
The judging process takes place online. The panel of judges, which varies from country to country, has direct access to a secure BDRA webpage, where they evaluate the entries. Using the BDRA website has enabled the organizers to select qualified, veteran environmental journalists and academics located around the world to judge the articles.
The BDRA has consolidated itself as a powerful tool capable of encouraging the coverage of environmental and biodiversity issues and useful for building local and international alliances. By giving journalists professional incentives to pursue environmental stories, they in turn have taken steps to lobby for more space for environmental coverage in their local media.
Furthermore, the award ceremonies themselves have increasingly become high-profile events that acknowledge not only the work of the journalists, but also the commitment of the media outlets. Key government officials and private sector representatives often attend the ceremonies, helping to make the award more prestigious every year.