“It was great working with mixed groups of journalists and environmental activists”, said Gus Silber. The workshops turned out to be highly interactive and gave the participants an opportunity to share experience and learn from one another how to better reach out to a large public to inform & raise awareness on climate-related matters. They were very responsive, many of them asking real questions about communicating the issues at hand. “I think they learned a lot from each other during the discussions. We made the point that all journalists are in some way activists, and therefore activists can just as much see themselves as journalists with stories to tell”.
The workshops have been eye-opening in terms of how many stories can be produced under the broad umbrella of climate change, and how they can be made relevant and engaging for as broad an audience as possible, on multiple media platforms and channels.
Each participant was invited to pitch a story that she/he would like to produce and try to get published, whether as a article, radio report, or multimedia post. Some really good story angles came out of the pitching sessions. “We were impressed with the quality of the story ideas, which were fresh and original, and strongly local as well as global in their angles and implications”, commented Mandi Smallhorne. A couple of the participants even went as far as writing full stories during the sessions, which proves how keen they are to get their stories out there!
The feedback from the participants was equally positive. “This workshop was very informative, very well presented, plus enjoyable. I have learned so much from your training that will assist me in my workplace. I came away from the workshop feeling so confident. Thanks for the new skills I now have”, wrote one of them.
ACRP is currently exploring the possibility of extanding this climate change reporting capacity building programme to other provinces – and countries. Increasing media coverage is expected to strengthen the impact of Climate Leaders’s efforts to raise public awareness and conversation about the reality of climate change, its impact on people’s lives and possible solutions.