The GeoJournalism Handbook: Environmental Data Journalism

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Internews Europe, London, UK

GeoJournalism Handbook

What does this GeoJournalism Handbook consist of?

The Geojournalism Handbook is a continually growing set of online tutorials focused on providing environmental journalists with the skills and tools needed to incorporate GeoJournalism into their reporting. Our goal with this set of tutorials was to place Geojournalism in a very practical context in order to introduce environmental journalists to the wider data journalism community. The handbook launched with 11 tutorials on a wide range of topics from how to map solid waste with Ushahidi to how to source environmental data and even a tutorial on how to make a DIY satellite with a balloon and a camera.

It is important to note that there is already a lot of online documentation out there that is often created by the people who make the tools we’re using. But already existing materials are usually more general and doesn’t handle issues that are specific to environmental coverage. We are lucky that we pretty much know who our audience is and we can make materials designed for them. That is why we are focusing on how data journalism techniques can tackle specific issues that arise for environmental reporters. We view this handbook as both an introduction and invitation to learn more.

How the project was initiated?

The Earth Journalism Network has a long standing partnership with the Brazilian environmental news agency O Eco and collaborated on the creation of InfoAmazonia. As InfoAmazonia matured, more and more environmental journalists started asking us how they could make something similar. During a fellowship program to Rio+20, a group of journalists from across the globe decided they could work together to build the capacity of environmental journalists to do Geojournalism and launched the Flag It project through the European Youth Press. They have been holding in-person trainings over the course of 2013 lead by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) Knight Fellow Gustavo Faleiros (IFCJ is a co-sponsor on this project). We worked together to build the Geojournalism Handbook as the online component of the project.

How do you think environmental journalists will benefit from this project?

Environmental stories are broad by their very nature and it’s the job of a reporter to help readers pin down the often interconnected influences that drive environmental change. The growth of large, publicly available datasets about environmental topics has presented the media community with a new opportunity. Our hope with this handbook is that journalists from throughout the world now have the resources they need to turn this trove of information into compelling stories.

 

The launch of this Handbook was possible with financial support of the European Commission through the “Youth in Action” programme and the Knight International Journalism FellowshipsAdditional in kind support was provided by Internews´s Earth Journalism Network .