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4 Media Grantees Train 80+ Communicators to Report on Environmental Crime in the Amazon

a gold miners' raft in a river
This update is available in Spanish and Portuguese
 

Rampant environmental crime in the Amazon Basin, often driven by illicit drug trafficking, is endangering the region's rich biodiversity and the well-being of its Indigenous Peoples and local communities.  

Journalists, communicators and independent media outlets, already pressured by a lack of adequate resources and training, are often confronted with violence and threats to their security while reporting on wildlife trafficking, illegal logging and mining. 

To improve the capacity of media, journalists, and local communicators to safely produce accurate and in-depth coverage of environmental crimes, Internews' Earth Journalism Network (EJN), along with the Internews Americas team, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), awarded four grants to media organizations in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru through the Together for Conservation project in June last year: 

The four selected media organizations were: 

  • (((o)))eco, to promote knowledge exchanges between young communicators from the Amazon and the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil. 
  • El Foco, to train Indigenous journalists and communicators from the Peruvian Amazon in covering illegal wildlife trafficking. 
  • Rutas del Conflicto, to assist Indigenous communities in the Colombian Amazon in producing stories related to carbon credits. 
  • Youtopía, to train and produce investigative, solutions-driven stories and build a network of Ecuadorian Amazon journalists. 

Besides funding of up to $15,000 each, the organizations also received support from Internews in developing and carrying out their project activities and recording their achieved impacts. 

Collectively, after five months of work, these organizations trained 84 journalists and communicators on how to improve coverage of environmental crimes in the Amazon Basin of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.  

They also produced 19 stories on issues ranging from hummingbird conservation to the booming black market for jaguar body parts to deforestation driven by cattle ranching and more, which were published in the supported media outlets and disseminated locally. 

“This support for media organizations enabled the training of dozens of local journalists and communicators in the Amazon, enhancing their capacity to understand the complex drivers and impacts of environmental crime, and improving the quality and quantity of local coverage of these issues,” said Bryan Araújo, Amazon Program Officer at Internews. 

O Eco produced these stories from Brazil: 

Rutas del Conflicto produced these stories from Colombia: 

Youtopia published these stories from Ecuador: 

El Foco produced these stories from Peru: 

“Thanks to this support, we were able to strengthen the capabilities of journalists and communicators in the Amazon and position ourselves as a specialized media outlet in environmental issues. For a small and newly established media outlet, accessing scholarships and funding is challenging. This program allowed us to carry out these initiatives and motivates us to continue working on environmental issues,” said Isabel Lucía Alarcón, journalist and coordinator of Youtopia. 

The project’s second cohort of media grantees will be announced soon.  Stay tuned for more updates on their achievements in the coming months.  

 

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This project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content is the responsibility of Internews and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or the Wildlife Conservation Society.  


Banner image: Gold miners' rafts in front of the city of Manicoré in Amazonas / Credit: Jhualisson Veiga for O Eco.