Fiji Environmental Journalism Training Expands Climate and Ocean Reporting

Group gathering in Fiji

Fiji Environmental Journalism Training Expands Climate and Ocean Reporting

Journalists in Fiji have been producing stories for The Fiji Sun Climate Watch page, a just-launched special section, and other media outlets with a local and regional reach, building on the training they received during an environmental reporting workshop hosted by EJN and our partners at the Fiji Media Association.

Workshop participant Makereta Komani, for instance, wrote this piece recently about the need to protect Suva Point since it serves as a vital habitat for at least five migratory bird species.

This continued coverage was one of the aims of the training, which took place in Nadi, Fiji, from 24-27 November 2020. Yet even as the workshop was under way, it generated news, with some media in Fiji featuring stories from the presentations, like this one in The Fiji Times that offers advice from trainer and Pacific Environment Weekly editor Cherelle Jackson.

As part of the training, Jackson and EJN Pacific Islands Partnership Coordinator Donna Hoerder talked about linking environmental science to wider regional and global commitments, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Jackson and Komai, who manages the Pacific Islands News Association, spoke about their experiences reporting at international climate conferences, such as the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

And presenters from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), an intergovernmental organization based in Samoa; SeaWeb, a nonprofit ocean conservation organization; and the University of the South Pacific Applied Science Division discussed the science and data grounding environmental issues.

The training, which was aimed at journalists who could use the information to then train their own peers and colleagues, also included group work sessions where participants were tasked with presenting what they had learned to an editor and to fellow staff at their media outlet.

In order to join the workshop, participants had to commit to an information-sharing session or one-day workshop with their co-workers within six months of the training. The Fiji Sun held its training in December and has since run a full page spread each week in a special section called “Climate Watch” that looks at issues such as relocation and how communities in Fiji are becoming champions of climate resilience.

Other media outlets plan to hold their sessions within the coming weeks.

As a testament to Fiji’s recognition of its climate challenges, the training was opened by the country’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Waterways and the Environment, Joshua Wycliff, who acknowledged that a strong partnership with the media was needed to ensure accurate and timely stories.

Resources

Banner image: Group shot at the opening of the Fiji training in November with Fiji Media Association General Secretary Stanley Simpson in pink, Permanent Secretary Joshua Wycliff in the middle in white, and the Director of Environment Sandeep Singh.

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