EJN is helping environmental journalists gather data in new ways, including using sensor devices, such as the DustDuino, a sensor designed for low cost, simplicity, and flexibility.
For many journalists, especially those working in developing countries, coverage of sensitive environmental issues is severely constrained by a lack of accessible information and data. And in certain ecosystems, such as the Amazon rainforest or Ganges Delta that are in constant flux, reliable data can be difficult to find.
To address this issue, over the next year, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) will launch a pilot project aimed at devising innovative methods for its global network of environmental journalists to collect and incorporate data into their reporting, particularly reporting on environmental health issues.
The project, which is funded with a small grant from the Internews Center for Innovation and Learning, will capitalize on groundbreaking developments in the realm of sensor technologies.
The burgeoning sensor journalism movement is steadily gaining momentum, as EJN’s executive director James Fahn wrote recently in the Columbia Journalism Review. Several mainstream outlets have used available sensor technology to deepen their reporting:
EJN is working to bring these existing techniques and technologies – and those it devises in the process – to the smaller, developing country outlets that comprise its global network. It is in these countries that audiences will benefit the most from this kind of in-depth environmental coverage.
Environmental health coverage
The field of environmental health lends itself in particular to the ever-widening range of sensor technologies. EJN’s pilot project will build off exisiting work by others and focus on air and noise pollution. Exposure to air pollution – both indoor and outdoor ̶ is on the rise in many developing and urbanizing countries, most famously in China.
EJN will also experiment with sensors to monitor noise pollution, which can have severe impacts on public health, particularly in bustling urban areas.
Throughout the project, EJN will work with the DustDuino, as well as its creator, Matt Schroyer, a sensor designed for low cost, simplicity, and flexibility.
A weeklong workshop on sensor journalism is planned for next year in collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley so that participating journalists can learn how to use sensors of their own to bring to their home outlets and peers.
Making Data Personal
Internews, Washington, DC
Feel Me? The promise and perils of sensor-based journalism
4 November 2013