Telling the whole Story: Covering Climate Change with Solutions Journalism

Summary

One can always learn something about great natural disasters and catastrophes: in the field of new, innovative and original journalistic solutions, the projects of Julia Migne and Priti Salian go in this direction and are aimed particularly to report issues starting from the difficult and dire climatic situations on the Earth to concrete, alternative and factual solutions through stories and reporting while emphasizing the need to collect data and consult experts on the related subject as well as to give to affected people a voice.

Project

Project 1 (Julia Migne) – Through a series of six stories scattered around the world, the author refers to both the problems and solutions that can improve the environment in the journalistic field, with clear reference to climate change as well as the importance of giving and producing a narrative linked to global solutions. Project 2 (Priti Salia) – The author has developed a series of reports that refer to the difficult conditions after a major natural disaster in India and how the communities in the devastated area – especially children – have reacted to the dramatic challenges that have arisen; education to kids is the key for a new start and should entail innovative solutions and programs.

Both projects focus on the concrete solutions that modern data journalism can find for current global problems and concerns with reference to climate change and natural disasters which more often are also indirectly caused by man. Mitigating the devastating aspects that can destroy nature is a good beginning to start a new life, thanks to reporting stories on the field and empowering affected people by also making their stories available to many.

Both authors focused on the importance of finding reliable sources, both academically and concretely on the field. The former aspect, the importance of data gathering is stressed and crucial to ensure a good service to the readers (but this is not always possible), while the latter, finding the true and precious stories of those implicated in natural disaster must also take into account the emotions of the people affected (and which is not always possible to do so accurately).

Takeaways

1. Climate-related problems are human problems and are solvable by humans in the short or long term;

2. We must never forget empathy when talking to people and visiting places hit by natural disasters;

3. The increasing importance of data journalism must be stressed but the latter must be based on facts and stories directly impacting people’s lives.

(Published on Prague Media Point)

Report

The world changes and climate with it, but journalism also changes, and new formulas of storytelling evolve between environment and emotions, solutions and people’s direct experiences, academic reports, and catastrophes. The importance of the concept of community and empathy, as well as resilience, seems to be the main meeting point between climate change and journalism. Julia Migne knows this very well: with the project LEDE, she brought to light a whole series of stories about the relationship between climate and storytelling: «We wanted to give an overview on the practices through six different stories», she said. Thus, crossing the planet between Mali and Mexico, the author reported on how to alleviate problems of floods and boosting agriculture in drought areas, through «different techniques and approaches to improve the environment». Learning from the past is important according to Migne, but «when you tell your stories between reporting and climate change, it is important to never lose empathy». entering in touch with people affected by natural disasters, for example, can raise the attention on climate changes; «climate crisis can be seen as a dry topic but bringing up human stories creates really powerful narratives». Indeed, LEDE tries to bring journalism and storytelling to a global stage giving a voice to the voiceless looking for alternative solutions around climate change, engaging people. This aspect was also stressed by Priti Salian, who referred to how children are affected by difficult conditions imposed by the recent monsoon in Kerala, India, where hundreds of people died and over fifty thousand houses were damaged. Post-disaster management has been tough for the population: Salian’s research particularly focuses on the effect the catastrophe had on children’s education and how the event created new opportunities for them. Innovative solutions, especially at the school level, maybe the best solution: «there is a knowledge gap about the vulnerability of the regions» and dealing with problems is never obvious. In this, textbooks play a crucial role, but adding activities and other experiences to the lessons is important as well. Simultaneously, teachers «have been trained to deliver knowledge and add their experience to the lesson», but journalistic reporting helped to point the attention towards the catastrophe. Investigating and leaning both on concrete stories on the field as well as research/data gathering had a positive effect on the affected communities.

(Published on amedeogasparini.com)

Pubblicato da Amedeo Gasparini

Amedeo Gasparini, class 1997, freelance journalist, managing “Blackstar”, amedeogasparini.com. MA in “International Relations” (Univerzita Karlova, Prague – Czech Republic); BSc in “Science of Communication” (Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano – Switzerland)

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