The Bulbul, an initiative to build a Pan-Himalayan network for climate change reporting, kicked off with an inception meeting on June 11. Conceptualized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), with the support of Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN), the initiative has selected 14 journalists and scholars from the Himalayan region in India and Nepal to join the first of two six-month Media Fellowship programs in climate change communication.
“Climate change today presents existential problems for us. Our economy, health, biodiversity and the availability of natural resources are intertwined with climate impacts,” Dr. Ajay Mathur, TERI’s Director General, said during his keynote address to the first batch of Media Fellows.
“I look forward to all our Fellows, under this media training program, producing the kind of solution-based stories that are crucial for the Himalayan communities to become climate-resilient, resource-efficient, and self-dependent,” he added.
The fully online training program includes an exclusive Learning Management System designed by Nomad, a group of Open Source Technology enthusiasts. In addition to live, virtual classrooms, this platform will allow journalists to use online video and sound editing resources for collaborative multimedia production. The Bulbul will also pilot an internet-based radio service dedicated to people, culture and environmental issues in the Himalayan region.
By structuring the program in this way, the initiative hopes to draw in younger, more remote journalists who don’t typically have access to such resources or outlets for reporting.
“India's large demographic of young voices will lead climate initiatives in the future,” said Sheila Teft, a senior lecturer at Emory University who will steer the course’s climate change communication lessons. “We should focus on young journalists and local communities to bring out stories of change.”
Through this Pan-Himalayan journalist network, TERI also hopes to support reporting that benefits marginalized communities and helps them better understand new practices, policies and technologies to address climate change.
“With our global network of journalists, we work with a motive of telling the complex story of climate change impacts in a manner that encourages action,” said Ramesh Bhushal, EJN’s South Asia Content Coordinator. “We look forward to working with TERI on this Media Fellowship to build new narratives on climate change.”