Supported largely by the Virginia W. Cabot Foundation, BDRA is a partnership
among CI, the International Center for Journalists and the International Federation of Environmental Journalists. The 2003 awards honored scribes from six biodiversity-rich countries: Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil
, Ghana, Guyana
“The most important aspect of this prize is that it leaves me deeply committed to the environment and to journalism,” said Vanguardia Liberal’s Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, whose article on the threatened habitat of Colombian manatees won him ﬁrst prize in the Colombian contest.
BDRA is a powerful tool in expanding coverage of environmental issues
. “By giving local journalists incentives to pursue environmental stories, they in turn have lobbied for more environmental coverage,” explains International Communications Vice President Haroldo Castro.
The initiative has grown steadily since its launch in 1999. Last year, 125 journalists from 86 media outlets participated, submitting 241 articles. Compared with 2002, journalist participation was up 8.7 percent, article submissions 8.6 percent and participating media outlets 26.5 percent.
BDRA continues to grow in other ways, as well. Television and radio reporting categories have been added in some countries, and BDRA plans to launch a Web site that houses more than 700 articles, providing a valuable research tool for journalists and the public. In addition, BDRA will soon be launched in Madagascar
, diversifying the prize’s reach in the African region.