Newly appointed Manager of Internews' Earth Journalism Network (EJN) Gustavo Faleiros talks about reporting on the environment and his future plans for EJN activities.
In 2007, I was an environmental politics correspondent based in Brasilia, Brazil. Most of my stories that year demonstrated the dramatic links between global warming and the local political action to halt deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. That December, the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali was the one place to be as an environmental journalist. Ihad to be there. But the costs and the challenge of being away from the newsroom for two weeks seemed insurmountable.
That was when I learned about the Climate Change Media Partnership, a partnership between Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN), the International Institute for Environment and Development and Panos, that sent journalists to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) summits. I applied for the grant and was lucky enough to be among a group of 40 incredible reporters, brought to report from the conference for two weeks. Even today, that experience means a lot to me. I not only got to meet some of the important scientists who worked on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, but had the chance of reporting first-hand on the newly created policies to tackle deforestation in Brazil.
Of course I could not imagine at that time that six years later I would become a member of the EJN team myself. This past May, I became EJN manager, a new role for EJN tasked with strengthening our network of environmental journalists around the world.
Along with EJN’s James Fahn and Willie Shubert and our new Council of Partners, I’ll be looking to expand EJN’s major streams of activities: creating ties between journalists reporting on the environment around the world, providing education and tools to these journalists, and building GeoJournalism from our flagship platform, InfoAmazonia. With my base in São Paulo, I particularly have an eye for increasing the opportunities for our network of journalists in Latin America, and we hope to launch an InfoAmazonia sister site called CartoChaco, which will help monitor the deforestation in the Chaco ecosystem in Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.
I’ve always believed in the importance of environmental journalism, from my earliest stories on politics, climate and conservation of forests. The focus of EJN activities could not be more exciting for the kind of work I have been doing.
Gustavo Faleiros is EJN Manager and InfoAmazonia.org Founder. He was editor at the Brazilian news agency O Eco and twice a Knight International Journalism Fellow through ICFJ.