People on the ground, telling the real story, have the power to change our global future for the better. California-based Internews has just launched an online toolkit to help journalists to tell their eco-stories most effectively. Jeremy Torr reports.
Arcata, California 5 July 2011. With the goal of empowering environmental journalists worldwide, Internews Network and Internews Europe have developed the Earth Journalism Network (EJN) to enable journalists from developing countries to cover the environment beat more effectively. The latest EJN initiative is the Earth Journalism Toolkit (EJT), specially designed to assist journalists to report on the environment.
The EJT contains information about environmental problems and ways to address them in a story. It includes tips for journalists covering each issue, case studies of specific problems and examples of good reporting.
Since 2006, EJN has trained over 1,500 journalists from dozens of developing countries in a wide variety of environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity, water, environment health, and oceans and coastal resources. It does this by establishing networks of environmental journalists in countries where they don't exist - and builds capacity where they do – and by setting up training workshops with training materials, and dispersing small grants.EJN has trained over 1,500 journalists from dozens of developing countries in a wide variety of environmental issues.
As a direct result of these activities, print, radio, TV and online journalists have produced over 3,000 stories, not to mention extensive environmental coverage they produced afterwards.
The new Earth Journalism Toolkit is organised in three main sections— knowledge, skills and resources — with each page including links to other parts of the toolkit giving more specialized information and help. The EJT was produced by Internews with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and is designed to be an interactive and ongoing product. To this end, readers are encouraged to leave comments, questions or suggestions so the toolkit can grow in value over time
EJN has also organised its own Earth Journalism Awards program, in which over 900 journalists from 148 countries participated, and 15 journalists were honored for producing some of the year’s best climate change stories, focusing on key related themes, and hailing from different regions of the world.
The organization also partners with other non-profits to carry out Fellowship programs to crucial events – including summits on climate change, biodiversity and water. This allows journalists from developing countries to benefit from learning and reporting opportunities. Several of these stories from countries including China, Vietnam, India and Pakistan have won national and international awards after uncovering scandals such as wildlife smuggling rings and illegally polluting factories.
If you want to join the EJN online network to connect to hundreds of journalists from around the world with an interest in covering environmental issues, go to: http://earthjournalism.net/toolkit/
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