The Ecologist Writers’ Fund has been established to support contributors to The Ecologist online who provide new content based on original research. We aim to pay £200 per article to help support writers who would not be able to publish without pay, and/or writers from underrepresented groups, as described below (see 2.7.2).
If you would like information further than what is set out below please do contact the editor, Brendan Montague, brendan (at) theecologist (dot) org.
1.1: The Ecologist operates on a not-for-profit basis to publish the latest in global environment news, from developments in science and policy to climate justice activism and ecological thought. All of our online content is free to read and whenever possible published under a Creative Commons 4.0 license.
1.2: Our small editorial team (1.5 FTE) publishes exclusive stories and features every day, the majority of which are sourced from three main groups: the staff of universities, charities, campaigning groups and NGOs; PA; and unsolicited submissions from freelance journalists and other writers. We retain a chief reporter on a freelance basis (0.1 FTE). We rely on the generosity of many freelance writers who contribute to The Ecologist regularly, providing their writing for free for our growing audience.
1.3: The Ecologist is working towards a publishing model that is fair and sustainable for all, one which reflects the diversity of the climate justice movement, and which enables the quality of investigative reporting that is required to hold corporations and governments to account, to report from the frontlines, and to develop sustained critical analysis. We recognise that the expectation that writers can provide work for free is a barrier to publication that can reinforce inequality and prejudice.
1.4: The Ecologist commits to the following editorial principles:
1.4.1: All writers deserve fair pay. We should work towards a funding model that provides for the adequate remuneration of all writers. Until we have funds to remunerate all writers equally, we should seek to remunerate equitably - this means financially supporting writers who would not be able to publish without pay, and/or writers from underrepresented groups, while continuing to accept some submissions for free.
1.4.2: The Ecologist should amplify the work and interests of underrepresented writers, marginalised groups and impacted communities. We respect writers’ self-identification with those groups.
1.4.3: Editorial policies and decision making should be transparent and consistent, with remuneration agreed prior to publication.
2.1: The Ecologist has established an annual Ecologist Writers’ Fund with the aim of raising £12,500 to support existing writers and encourage submissions from new contributors. This money will be raised through fundraising appeals to our newsletter subscribers and readers. This fund and policy will be reviewed after six months and then after each year. The fund will begin to distribute money as soon as is practicable. Monies raised above that total will also be reserved for use for the writers’ fund. A total of £10,000 will be distributed to writers with £2,500 contributing to the core costs for administering the fund and publishing The Ecologist.
2.2: The fund will make individual payments of up to £200 for one article.
2.3: We aim to publish one paid-for piece each week over the course of the year. Money will rollover in weeks where no paid-for articles are published, and articles may be scheduled in advance.
2.4: This fund is designed to support the publication of quality writing and to increase representation and accessibility.
2.5: We aim to support as many writers as possible - to this end, we will not make repeated payments to individual writers more than once every two months.
2.6 All articles or pitches should conform to The Ecologist’s style guidelines and be submitted via email (email@example.com).
2.7: Submissions will be considered for support from the Ecologist Writers’ Fund when the following information is supplied:
2.7.1: A brief description of how the submission articulates the aims and objectives of The Ecologist: educating the public about the benefits of connecting with nature and with each other on an individual, community, society or global scale - or the dangers of disconnection (ie. through exploitation). This description is not intended for publication.
2.7.2: A brief description of how the article amplifies the voices, work or interests of impacted communities, underrepresented writers or marginalised groups. This may include, but is not limited to, the following groups: BAME communities and people of colour; Indigenous peoples; people on a low or no income; women; disabled people; members of LGBTQ+ communities. We respect writers’ own identification with these groups and communities. This information will help the editors in distributing limited funds and increasing representation. This information is not intended for publication and will not be published without the author’s expressed consent. Articles do not need to reflect or discuss an author’s identification with any particular group or community.
2.8: Article submissions must also include the following information: Name of Author, title of Article, wordcount, article text or pitch, a single accompanying image (See 2.13), and a short author biography. Please do let us know if the article is time sensitive.
2.9: The Ecologist will allocate payments from the fund on the basis of overall demand, the availability of funds, the principle of increasing representation, and the quality of the submitted article. Priority will be given to articles that contain original research or investigations. Pay will be offered when editors directly commission an article whenever possible.
2.10: Submissions on behalf of organisations and/or their salaried staff will not be considered for remuneration. We will continue to accept these submissions on the basis that we have permission to publish them without payment.
2.11: We will not offer remuneration for writing already published online or in print, unless the author is producing a translation into English of a piece already published elsewhere. We will not provide payment for opinion articles significantly composed of material already in the public domain.
2.12: Members of The Ecologist editorial team and staff or trustees of the Resurgence Trust, owner of The Ecologist, will not be remunerated for articles.
2.13: A member of The Ecologist editorial team will inform you when you have been successful in your application. We will then commission the article and provide a deadline. On submission of the completed article a payment for half of the fee will be paid, or up to £100. On publication of the article the remaining fee will be paid, again up to £100. In the unlikely event that it is clear that the applicant has worked to produce the article, but it is not of sufficient quality for publication, we will only pay £100 rather than the full fee of £200. Our editors will work with writers to ensure when possible that the any articles are published.
2.14: Articles should be submitted with a single accompanying image. Images must be copyright free or available under a creative commons licence. Alternatively, permission for free publication of a copyrighted image will need to be secured by the author. We have no budget for image licensing or commissioning photography/illustrations.
2.15: Only articles that are approved for publication by The Ecologist’s Co-Editor (Content), and which are filed according to The Ecologist’s style guidelines, will be remunerated.
2.16: Authors must submit an invoice through an online form within 30 days of the publication of the article (and before the end of the financial year). We will endeavour to pay the invoice at the end of the month in which it is submitted and no later than the end of the subsequent month. We cannot pay invoices early and will not enter into correspondence about early payments.
2.17: Funds will be allocated by The Ecologist’s editorial team. The editors' decision is final and unfortunately due to our limited resources we will not be able to enter into further discussion about decisions not to publish or pay for the article. If, however, you feel you have been discriminated against because of a protected characteristic you can appeal the editor’s decision to the management team of the Resurgence Trust by contacting the trust manager, Angie Burke, via email.
2.18: Authors who aim to enter journalism awards can be assured that The Ecologist editorial staff will do everything possible to support such applications where they include one or more articles published on our website.
2.19: We accept applications from more than one author. However, the fee for the article will remain £200 and any division between authors would have to be arranged by the lead applicant. We will publish articles under joint by-lines.
3: Supporting Materials
3.1: Journalism: An Increasingly Precarious Profession, A special report published by HesaMag, the European Trade Union Institute’s health and safety at work magazine. 2017.
3.2: Freelance Fees Guide, National Union of Journalists.
3.3: Freelance Rates, Journo Resources
3.4: Guidance on Fees and Rates, Society of Authors
3.5: Reflecting on Diversity and Inclusion within the Climate Movement, Hope for the Future
3.6: Journalism’s lack of diversity threatens its long term future, The Guardian