Emerging Threats largeDeadline for applications: 12 July 2016

The news media plays a vital role in documenting conflict, instability and other security threats around the world. But media can also play a role in helping to prevent instability, by providing high quality reporting that highlights potential crises before they spiral out of control.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation, in partnership with the Stanley Foundation and Gerda Henkel Stiftung, is launching a new programme which will support journalists to uncover emerging threats in specific communities, countries or regions worldwide, and bring these stories to a wide audience.

The programme features:

  • A three-day residential story lab (19 October – 22 October 2016) taking place near London that will bring together journalists, security researchers, and experts to share insight on emerging security situations and explore or refine story ideas (costs of participation are covered by the programme)
  • The opportunity to apply for small grants to cover the cost of reporting stories
  • Access to experienced journalists who have covered security stories all over the world, who can provide advice and editorial guidance
  • Support with pitching stories to international publication platforms if needed

Uncovering Security: Emerging Threats provides a unique opportunity for collaboration. Participating journalists may choose to work in pairs or small teams and work on the same story together. They may also form partnerships with researchers who take part in the seminar – many of whom have experience gathering information ‘on the ground’ – to discover new leads, incorporate another story angle, or to deepen the content they produce.


Journalists must submit an online application before the June 30, 2016 deadline.

The application requires journalists to submit a brief story idea. All story ideas must relate to an emerging security situation in a specific community, country or region in the world.

If accepted, journalists will not necessarily be expected to pursue this story idea. During the seminar, journalists may learn of a different story, or modify their original story.

Applicants must also supply a letter from their editor consenting to their participation and to publishing/broadcasting any stories produced.

The opportunity to apply for funding will be shortly after the seminar.


We are looking for:

  • Journalists working for media outlets in the developing world, or the USA, Canada or Germany
  • At least three years’ experience in journalism
  • Experience covering security situations would be an advantage
  • Journalists working in any medium, or multiple media
  • Must be fluent in English


Click here to access the application form.


Please note: The topics below are simply suggestions to give applicants a sense of themes that could be explored. We welcome story ideas that concern other security threats in any region of the world.

Genocide and atrocity crimes – How do regional and global responses to escalating atrocity violence impact conditions for civilians on the ground?

  • In 2014, the world’s attention turned to Boko Haram when it kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls. The Bring Back Our Girls advocacy campaign galvanized international outrage and put a spotlight on Boko Haram’s violent tactics. Two years later, most of the girls remain missing. Boko Haram has grown more violent, massacring villagers and killing thousands of innocent civilians. What other areas are at risk of similar atrocities, and what, if anything, can be done differently to better protect individuals and their communities?

Global peacekeeping – Given the number and range of emerging security threats globally, will humanitarian systems be able to cope?

  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals incorporated a goal around conflict prevention. What does this look like in practice on the ground in regions where instability is increasing?
  • Violent groups are using media and communications technologies to recruit, train, and incite acts of terrorism. Are there areas of the world that are becoming more vulnerable to this threat?

Nuclear materials  With so much attention focused on the nuclear weapons capabilities of Iran and North Korea, is the global community overlooking the risk of poorly safeguarded nuclear material or facilities in other places around the world?

  • Radioactive material was stolen in Mexico in February 2016 and in Iraq in November 2015, highlighting the vulnerability of materials that could be used to make a dirty bomb. In fact, since 1993, there have been more than 2,700 confirmed incidents of illicit trafficking, unauthorised possession, or loss of nuclear and radioactive material reported by states to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Where should the global community be turning its focus to prevent terrorists from obtaining these materials?
  • As the nuclear power industry expands in countries around the world, are there new or increasing security threats, such as the risk of cyberattacks, theft, or accidents that deserve more attention?

Migration – how is the movement of people, whether voluntary or forced, contributing to worsening security?

  • Refugees: In 2015, the number of people forcibly displaced surpassed 60 million for the first time. In a global context, 1 in 122 people have fled their homes due to protracted violence from the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Burundi, and elsewhere. The rate of voluntary returns — a measure of whether refugees feel it is safe enough to go home — are at their lowest level in three decades. Where in the world is forced migration leading to new security threats?
  • Statelessness: In 2015, the Dominican Republic stripped citizenship from thousands of residents of Haitian descent and began deporting them from the country. The Rohingya in Myanmar are also stateless, deprived of citizenship rights by their government. In fact, an estimated 10 million people worldwide are stateless. Where is statelessness contributing to a worsening security situation?

Climate Change – Where could climate change introduce security threats, or multiply problems in areas already prone to conflict?

  • The COP21 Paris Agreement set a goal, agreed on by almost 200 countries, to strive to limit global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels. However, even if the COP21 commitments are fulfilled, the current trajectory of temperature rise is 3⁰C, which would cause devastating environmental and human impacts. How does this growing threat translate to communities on the frontlines of impact? Are the risks understood on the ground, and where could this lead to increasing conflict and deteriorating security?