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New Research Reveals How EJN's Support has Impacted the Careers of Environmental Journalists

two men seated outdoors during an interview

cover imageNext year, Internews' Earth Journalism Network (EJN) enters its third decade of work. Since we launched in 2004, EJN has trained nearly 15,000 journalists from hundreds of countries on a wide variety of environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity, forests, water, health, oceans, fisheries and coastal resources. 

In the lead up to our 20th anniversary, we wanted to understand: What impact has support from EJN — in the form of fellowships, trainings, story grants and organizational grants — had on the professional development of grantees?

We commissioned an independent researcher with the aim of achieving the following objectives:

  • Identify impacts on the career trajectories and professional output of the journalists that EJN has supported, which can include career advancements, awards, better quality of coverage produced and other similar professional milestones;
  • Identify a sampling of the impacts that EJN’s support has had on the quality of coverage produced by individuals and organizations that received it; and,
  • Understand how EJN’s support contributed to these changes and identify any other factors that also led to these changes.

Launched on Earth Day 2023, "Strengthening Reporters, Strengthening Reporting" reveals the extent to which journalists and media organizations attribute positive developments to EJN’s support.

Through surveys and interviews, researcher Courtney Tolmie found that respondents overwhelmingly reported improvements across several categories of benefits, including: knowledge, skills and quality of work; networking and collaboration; impact and viewership; and pitching and financial success. They cited awards won and recognition received, and spoke about increased cross-border reporting opportunities and promotions following their engagement with EJN. In many cases, their stories, improved with training and mentorship provided by EJN, have led to real change on the ground. 

"During the past few years that I have been working as an environmental and climate reporter, these opportunities both in the form of the direct grants and the trainings and network I was able to create and build because of EJN… have been a really formative part of my work as a reporter. I think they were able to really provide part of the building blocks of my career," said Jhesset O. Enano, a journalist from the Philippines.

By putting the strength of its network behind journalists, EJN's support has amplified voices that may otherwise have been marginalized, said Gustavo Faleiros, a 2007 Climate Change Media Partnership fellow and the co-founder of InfoAmazonia. "To me, what EJN has done which is very important is bring this perspective that you need to collaborate in a network. It gives importance to the international perspective. A lot of journalists involved in EJN are now much more visible and relevant and important than [those working in] mainstream media of the North," he said.

"At our most basic level, our mission is to help people," said James Fahn, EJN's Executive Director. "So it's gratifying to see the many ways that EJN has directly improved the careers, even the lives, of our members, and how that goes on to benefit media coverage and society at large." 

The report also points to a small set of targeted recommendations that would further strengthen the impact of EJN's support in coming years. Read the full report here.

a woman with a camera
Journalist Denise Hruby said EJN’s support allowed her to take reporting risks that she would not have otherwise been able to take, which led to big rewards for her as a reporter and for the coverage of wildlife trafficking as a whole / Credit: Hannah Reyes Morales via DeniseHruby.com.
Pauline Ogada interviewing Monica Medina
Pauline Ogada, a journalist from Kenya interviewing U.S Monica Medina at COP27 in Egypt last year. Pauline was promoted to her newsroom’s new climate desk shortly after the announcement that she was selected as the only 2022 Climate Change Media Partnership fellow from Kenya / Credit: EJN.

Banner image: Ofani interviewing San Jorge Island elder Samuel Ufulu. Ofani's investigation into illegal logging in the Solomon Islands led to the suspension of licenses of two timber companies / Credit: Ofani Eremae.