A Year in Environmental Reporting

With 2021 right around the corner, we’ve spent the last two weeks looking back. On Twitter and Instagram, we shared the #BestofEJN2020 – a reflection of how our entire network stepped up amid a global pandemic to keep reporting on the environment. We’ve accomplished so much in 2020, despite some major challenges, and we have many more new programs, projects and opportunities coming in the new year that we can’t wait to share.  

Here’s just a taste of what EJNers were up to in 2020. 

Exploring the intersections between health and the environment 

Even before the pandemic took over the news, we launched a special reporting series on the intersections between health and the environment. That work would prove foundational, as journalists everywhere began exploring Covid-19's many impacts on the environment, climate change mitigation efforts, and more. Here’s a small sample of that groundbreaking reporting: 

Some of our grantees pivoted their initial story ideas to look at how the pandemic was exposing gaps in issues such as poaching and air pollution. We also supported reporting on the ripple effects of the pandemic and efforts to debunk misinformation about Covid-19 and its links to the environment. 


Continuing to investigate the illegal wildlife trade 

Wildlife trade banner

That included exploring how the pandemic was impacting enforcement and prevention measures: 


Documenting the pandemic’s impact on ecotourism and conservation 

This year’s relaunch of our Biodiversity Media Initiative gave us the opportunity to explore a topic that became extremely relevant this year: Ecotourism and international travel. We hosted a webinar with conservation experts from around the world on how communities could adapt to the loss of tourism revenue and just released a tip sheet for journalists to use in their reporting.  


Expanding coverage of environmental justice and solutions journalism 

climate justice
Credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

EJN also made it a priority this year to further explore issues around environmental justice. We hosted a webinar in July on this subject and later released a tip sheet to help journalists better incorporate equity and justice concerns into their reporting. One way is to report on the actions communities are taking to build resilience and protect their environments.  


Creating new digital formats 

In-person trainings and workshops are a core part of our work at EJN. And while we moved quickly to hold these activities online when the pandemic prevented travel, we also had to find new ways to ensure our webinars and workshops were engaging and accessible. That shift meant fewer environmental stories were produced with EJN support, but we were able to train a greater number of journalists and reach more people than we would have without the digital pivot. We were also able to explore entirely new topics and draw important connections to the environment and health issues. Here’s a shortlist of some of our favorite webinars from this year: 


EJNers’ best work from this year, in their own words. 

Finally, we crowdsourced our network, asking them what work they were most proud of in 2020. Here’s a selection of the stories they submitted: 

Banner image: A conifer sapling / Credit: Matthew Smith on Unsplash

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