Since August 2017, EJN’s Asia-Pacific Project has trained 11,258 journalists in a range of environmental topics, provided story grants and mentorship to 306 journalists, supported 52 media outlets and civil society organizations to implement environmental journalism projects, brought 38 journalists to report directly from the UNFCCC Climate COP and produced 778 original stories that have received more than a million views.
As part of the project’s second phase, we organized a Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop from 24-27 May 2022 in Phuket, Thailand with 24 staff members, nine newly awarded media grantees and two long-term media grantees from across the world – the Society of Indonesian Environmental Journalists (SIEJ) which runs Ekuatorial, a geojournalism platform for environmental news in Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) in Fiji, which represents the interests of media professionals in the Pacific region and runs the geojournalism website Pasifika.
Recognizing that the target participants often deliver training workshops on environmental reporting and related topics, this ToT was designed to strengthen their capacity to train and lead capacity-building activities that support the generation of high-quality environmental reporting.
The four-day workshop had a packed agenda, from sessions on fundraising and business sustainability to solutions journalism and covering the climate emergency. Over the course of the workshop, participants discussed and revised their EJN-supported project activities, shared key environmental challenges in their home countries and suggested how specific gaps in reporting on these issues could be addressed.
The media grantees also received training on how to integrate a trans-disciplinary One Health approach into their projects, how to monitor and evaluate their work and on how to use social media to promote their projects more effectively.
Dr. Chanettee Tinnam from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand led a session on identifying internalized biases and countering gender bias while reporting stories.
The session on Digital Tools for Factchecking conducted by Mike Raomanachai, a columnist from CoFact Thailand, was an in-depth practical session on how to combat mis- and disinformation, how to fact check and how to use geolocation and satellite imagery to strengthen environmental journalism.
This was especially relevant to media grantees Barta1 from Indonesia and Dataful from Bangladesh, who are working to improve journalists’ access to and use of data in their reporting. With EJN support, Barta1 will focus on strengthening the capacity of journalists to report on the environmental impacts of nickel mining in Indonesia, while Dataful will improve climate data accessibility for journalists by cleaning, gathering and curating Bangladeshi climate data from different government sources in an open-source data bank.
“I’m impressed by how EJN is listening and answering to the needs of journalists and media organizations. My favorite part of the workshop was fundraising – it is essential to run an NGO and know about fundraising activities and it’s interesting to learn from EJN’s own experience of fundraising,” said Khaliun Bayartsogt from the Mongolian Center for Investigative Reporters (MCIR), which will produce in-depth reports on desertification in Mongolia's Gobi region with EJN support.
“The workshop was a great learning opportunity. It gave me exposure to different people [across the globe], and I could learn from their experiences and expertise, which is very meaningful for me and my organization,” said Binaya Shekhar Guragain from the Antenna Foundation, which produces and distributes audiovisual stories in Nepal.
The highlight of the workshop was a field trip to Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands, where participants learned about the marine ecosystem of the Andaman Sea, saw firsthand how eco-tourism can be a conservation solution, enjoyed snorkeling and a day out in the archipelago.
The workshop concluded with an open space discussion session where participants determined the agenda and were free to move between discussions, which ranged from environmental issues such as hydropower to the impacts of climate change on human health.
“Great learnings from the discussions! Now I’m interested in doing an Open Space session at the Pacific Islands News Association’s (PINA) Pacific Media Summit in Solomon Islands later this year,” said PINA’s Managing Editor, Makereta Komai.
Participants of the workshop were later invited to share their feedback anonymously through a survey. One respondent shared that they particularly enjoyed the session on covering the climate emergency. “Too often we focus on the challenges, sufferings of our people and communities when we are reporting on climate crisis/emergency [but] Solutions Journalism is about providing solutions with challenges. We need to go out there and look for these 'solutions' stories. Great insights and knowledge gained from the reporting experiences of the two presenters.”
“I’m glad we’re able to get together with our partners and staff in person again. Over the last couple of years, we’ve moved our training online and supported our partners to redesign their activities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, the pandemic is a reminder of how salient our work is, working with journalists and partners worldwide to inform the public how dependent our well-being is on the health of our planet,” said Amy Sim, Senior Asia Program Manager.
Banner image: A group photo from the workshop / Credit: Aarushi Tanwar.