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Launch of New Programme to Improve Climate Change Journalism

On Tuesday, which was World News Day, the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and Temasek Foundation launched a new programme to strengthen climate change journalism.

Launch of New Programme to Improve Climate Change Journalism
Warren Fernandez: “Journalists will need a good grasp of the climate crisis, and the skills to tell this story in a compelling way.” Photograph: Melissa Bradley on Unsplash.

Climate change is an urgent and big issue for all society. For journalists, it brings particular challenges. Beyond the need to provide the public with information and analysis that is scientifically sound and accurate, journalists need to ensure their coverage is engaging, independent of vested interests and conveys the human story. They must also avoid being cast as doomsday prophets, and balance climate change’s real risks and threats with stories of hope and solutions, says WAN-IFRA.

The Temasek Foundation – WAN-IFRA Journalism Programme seeks to equip newsrooms with capability on science reporting, specifically fresh knowledge, tools and techniques, to improve their coverage of issues impacting the warming planet. Supported by Temasek Foundation, the programme focuses on solutions oriented journalism and making climate challenges and solutions relevant to everyday audiences.

Targeting journalists and editors from Asia, the virtual programme consists of a six-module workshop training to address the central challenges surrounding reporting on the climate crisis and other environmental and sustainability related issues. They will participate in workshops to understand the science of climate change, storytelling techniques, how to engage the audience, and navigate misinformation and spin. This will help participants develop a personal toolkit of skills and knowledge, and contribute back to their respective newsroom’s efforts to uphold public trust, as well as to their communities on the debate on our future well-being and sustainability.

Held in September and October 2021, the first run of the programme training has attracted the participation of close to 50 journalists from 11 countries, from across South Asia and the Asia Pacific region.

Under the programme, a newsroom handbook to help journalists enrich their coverage of climate change will be published in November and shared with newsrooms worldwide. In addition, a Global eSummit with a focus on journalism and the climate change story will be held in February 2022 to share best practices among newsrooms.

Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief of Singapore Press Holdings and current President of the World Editors Forum, within WAN-IFRA, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic will eventually pass, but we will then face an even bigger challenge in global climate change. To help audiences make sense of the changes around them, from ever more extreme weather patterns to new green technologies and sustainable business approaches, journalists will need a good grasp of the climate crisis, and the skills to tell this story in a compelling way. That is what this programme will help them do.”

Benedict Cheong, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation International, said: “It is vital for communities to have access to information and the science underpinning this so that they can work collaboratively to address the issue of climate change. We hope that through this programme, newsrooms can translate multifaceted and complex global sustainability issues into readily understandable insights and information for the communities they serve. We look forward to more impactful stories from our journalists that will support the community response in climate action.”

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