Mentoring matters: EJN program targets budding environmental journalists in the Philippines

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Earth Journalism Network, Manila, Philippines

The Internews Earth Journalism Network’s mentoring program for young, enthusiastic journalists has been a rewarding experience since we started it in June this year. I have not only built professional relationships, but also kept my journalistic skills sharp especially in tackling climate change issues in the Philippines.

Our mission is to improve climate change reporting, critique mentees’ stories, give direction and advice on the way they cover the human dimensions of climate change, and to network with other organizations or sources via email, telephone, text messages, Skype calls or meeting over coffee in person.

To mentor four young journalists is a challenging endeavor that requires significant investments of time and energy. But I find it fulfilling to see the growth of the next generation of well-informed and engaged journalists in climate change reporting.

In the past few months, I have seen the mentees become more and more enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the basic science behind climate change. Their writing and interview skills have also improved and they have built greater resources and more confidence in their reporting. 

In some instances, I also find time to accompany them in their newsgathering efforts or to interview sources in the community. Already they have been able to produce in-depth stories on the subject.

Allow me to share with you some of their thoughts about the EJN mentorship program:

LOTTIE SALARDA (interaksyon.com) – With the EJN mentorship, I have learned so many things like angling and putting a human face of climate change stories. The guidance was very useful as my mentor always allows me to focus and thoroughly think of humanizing a complex issue. It is really a challenge to write and convey climate change issues and their impact on humanity to our readers. But now, I am beginning to understand the science of it and how to relay to the readers.

ANNA VALMERO (Scidevnet) – The mentorship is a valuable resource for young journalists like me who want to tell better climate stories and raise awareness on why urgent action on the matter is needed. I hope to produce stories that balance the technical side of the subject and the human face by citing how vulnerable sectors are suffering the brunt of the inaction on the issue, while also highlighting stories of resilience that offer solutions on how small communities build back better after a disaster.

SHAIRA PANELA (freelance) – I have been covering science, environment and climate change topics from the scientific point of view. I expect that through this mentoring program, I’ll be able to explore different dimensions of climate change talks and climate change story presentations.

APPLES JALANDONI (ABS-CBN TV News) - My mentor kept on pushing me to improve my work. I receive a lot of encouragement and constructive criticism on my reporting, and that is what I need.