Since 1970, April 22 has been recognized as Earth Day (and in many parts of the world, April as Earth Month), to promote awareness about the health of the environment. The theme this year is “Invest in our Planet”: an urgent call to come together to drive climate action.
At EJN, we believe that investing in climate and environmental journalists – and in a robust environmental media – is indeed an investment in our planet. In fact, ever since Internews’ Earth Journalism Network was established in 2004 to improve the quality and quantity of environmental reporting around the world, we’ve been treating every day like Earth Day.
That’s why we’re taking a beat now to celebrate some recent highlights from our Earth Journalism Network, as we celebrate Earth Month 2022.
In the last year, our network has continued to thrive and expand: In addition to our website with nearly 15,000 journalists registered, we now have EJN feeds with 10,000+ followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn, along with Google Groups connecting around 2,500 journalists.
Altogether in 2021, EJN provided support for the production of at least 598 stories. In addition, during this period, we and our grantees trained 1,155 journalists, of whom 576 were women. We also had 3,843 attendees for our EJN webinars. To make our training options more varied and accessible, we’ve also started developing online courses that journalists can take on their time.
Fellowship Program to UNFCCC (Climate) COP26 in Glasgow – After the cancellation of numerous environmental conferences in 2020 and most of 2021, in November of last year, the UN was finally able to hold its COP27 Climate Summit in Glasgow. This also marked the resumption of one of EJN’s most popular activities, the Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP). We had around 400 applications for our Fellowship program, and brought a team of 35 journalists, trainers and staff to the COP, where they produced at least 226 stories, participated in daily team meetings and mentoring sessions, took part in daily broadcasts to remote journalists and participated in a CCMP side event. Simply organizing all the logistics and travel amid Covid-related restrictions felt like a huge achievement, and we are proud we saw it through with no major setbacks. You can read more about the program here, and check out many of the stories here.
UC Berkeley Earth Journalism course: This year, to mark the 10th year of the Earth Journalism course at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, we carried out a survey of our alumni and were able to highlight their many milestones and achievements. Take a look at our e-publication compiling stories from the course over the years here.
Ocean Media Initiative – Our support for marine coverage included starting or completing at least 7 different projects:
- A regional Murky Waters investigation in multiple languages and media outlets uncovering how pollution from the Amazon is spilling out into the Atlantic and fueling the largest belt of algae on the planet, huge floating mats of sargassum that are despoiling Caribbean coasts and waters;
- Coverage of fisheries subsidies and the impacts they’re having on declining fish stocks around the world, and efforts to forge a global treaty under the WTO;
- Intensive coverage of illegal fishing in around the Galapagos archipelago;
- Improved coverage of the high seas and efforts to craft a treaty on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdictions;
- A new project to improve coverage of a wide variety of coastal resilience issues in the face of rising sea levels and other impacts of climate change;
- Our new Mediterranean Media Initiative aimed at building coverage of the environmental challenges facing the sea, with a focus on the Western Mediterranean; and
- a project to improve coverage of ocean issues in the South Pacific, ahead of the Our Ocean conference in Palau.
We’re expanding our work in East Africa and are about to launch a major new project in the Amazon. You can also check out other projects we’re currently implementing, including the Biodiversity Media Initiative, EJN Asia-Pacific, the East Africa Wildlife and Conservation Journalism project, Renewable Energy in India, Indigenous Environmental Journalism, Clean Air Catalyst, STOP Spillover, Green Recovery (to the Pandemic) and the recently completed Bay of Bengal Resilience Reporting project.
In recent months, EJN has also led more special projects that involve investigation, trans-boundary collaboration among multiple media outlets and data journalism, for instance, our Asian investigation in six countries on who is continuing to fund fossil fuel power plants.
We’ve also carried out a couple of in-depth reports, one on gender in environmental reporting and the other on our efforts to use Outcome Harvesting to monitor the outcomes from specific stories in producing environment-related changes in public policies, debate and behavior.
EJN’s efforts to document the impacts of our work, and of environmental journalism in general, have also yielded results. We now have a web page dedicated to reporting on Impacts, and you’ll find more on that in this newsletter too.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and all the challenges that came with it, it has been a period of growth for EJN, as we continue to invest in our planet by strengthening environmental journalism worldwide.
Banner image: EJN grantees interview the director of the Kuruwitu conservation project about their work protecting the reefs in Kenya / Credit: Sara Schonhardt.