EJN has recently pulled together a resource of databases relevant to environmental journalists that we’re calling the “Earth Journalism Data Compilation” (EJDC). In recognition of data resources playing a bigger part in the types of stories that environmental journalists do, EJN has designed EJDC as tool for journalists looking for reliable data.
Sam Schramski, EJN’s special projects editor, started the task of researching and curating the sources for EJDC in mid-2021. From there, the project was crowdsourced from partners in the environmental journalism community, including EJN’s network of more than 14,000+ members. Given the huge amount of relevant material out there, Schramski felt it was important to get a sense of the most pertinent data from practicing journalists first. After those first few “curations,” EJDC was ready to go and was published on the EJN website late last month.
Some of these resources in the EJDC are well-known and yield news stories every day, such as the IUCN's Red List, but most haven't been substantially featured in reporting, even though they may be helpful to journalists. Using the biodiversity example, the Barcode of Life database is a treasure trove of information used by scientists who research biodiversity, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility is also quite robust. Neither are commonly consulted by environmental journalists. The Red List receives much more attention, but this is far from the sole resource available to journalists reporting on this topic.
As an open resource, EJDC is always evolving, so if you know of any additional databases that should be included, please feel free to contribute and provide feedback. “We’re hoping the tool is both increasingly utilized and improved upon by journalists in our extended network, so check back frequently,” said Schramski. “We also highly encourage journalism trainers and educators to make use of it, as well.”
Finally, EJN is looking forward to adding other aspects to the EJDC page later this year, including “recipes” for how to do data-driven stories, as well as examples of stories that benefitted from its availability.
For further examples on how data is being used by journalists to tell compelling environmental stories, please check out EJN's "Mekong in Deep Water" special project (scroll down to the bottom to see the data bank).
Banner image: Data codes / Credit: Kevin Ku via Pexels.