CARES Act Update for Outdoor Journalists

This information was received from OWAA and may be relevant for OWAC members. We want to get what resources we can into your hands to help protect your livelihood. OWAA compiled various sources on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for outdoor journalists to review and learn from, including information specific to freelancers, nonprofits and businesses. Within the CARES Act are opportunities for organizations and businesses to apply for loans from the U.S. government – many of which are forgivable loans.  
Unemployment benefits extended to freelancers
Part of the historic $2 trillion CARES Act is a section on changes to how unemployment benefits are disrupted and who is eligible—which now includes the addition of self-employed workers and freelancers. For the first time, 1099 workers can receive unemployment insurance. Here’s a FAQ from The New York Times or you can click here for an informational chart.  
Nonprofit loans under the CARES Act
The CARES Act defines a number of programs for which charitable nonprofits will be eligible. The National Council of Nonprofits has this helpful chart. If you are a nonprofit and fit the criteria you can apply for a Payroll Protection Program Loan. The purpose of these loans is to keep people employed. There is $349 billion allocated for nonprofits. If you maintain your payroll for eight weeks from origination of your loan, the loan is 100% forgivable! So call your bank, and ask about the program. 
National Geographic offering Covid-19 funds to journalists
As COVID-19 continues to evolve and impact communities around the globe, the National Geographic Society launched an emergency fund for journalists all over the world who wish to cover COVID-19 within their own communities. Read more about this funding opportunity. 
Covid-19 webinar for businesses
In this free Outdoor Industry Association webinar, you’ll find out how economic injury disaster loans work, what you need to do today, and how businesses and private nonprofits of all sizes can benefit in this short information-filled presentation by the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance.  Watch this free webinar here. 
Travel journalist’s media survey and Covid-19 
The Society of American Travel Writers joined forces with Development Counsellors International (a trade association for tourism boards) to understand better how travel journalists are faring during this global pandemic. This research is a snapshot of these journalists’ perceptions during the COVID-19 crisis. Read the full survey results.
The Counter: Call for personal essays
The Counter is looking for personal essays for a series of short pieces on how Covid-19 is changing the way we eat. Specifically, they’re looking for personal essays between 350-500 words that show how this ongoing crisis has affected your mealtimes. There could be a lot of hunting, fishing and other outdoor food-sourcing angles. Visit The Counter website for submission guidelines. 

New birding documentary and a birding checklist
You can watch a spectacular birding documentary and check off a birding list from your couch. While watching The Birders, a Melodic Journey through Northern Columbia, you can identify more than 100 Columbian bird species. No binoculars required. It could be a great ‘explore from home’ story angle to pitch to editors – or keep readers engaged with your blog.

Share your experience in OWAC Outdoors
How has Covid-19 impacted you? We’d love to hear from you. Do you have words of advice for other members? A professional tip? What have you learned by being on a stay-at-home mandate? Send 100-150 words to Bob Semerau (  for publication in our next issue of OWAC Outdoors.

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Peter Schroeder

Peter Schroeder



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