IUCN promotes investigative environmental reporting for journalists
In an effort to harness the vital role of press and media institutions in raising the consciousness towards environmental stewardship and sustainable development, a group of Jordanian journalists were engaged in an interactive 3-day training workshop entitled Media for Sustainable Development.
The training was organized between Dec. 15-17, 2009 by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature through its Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA) in partnership with Ministry of Environment in Jordan through the Zarqa River Restoration Project and funded by UNESCO Amman Office and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
“The need to develop the capacity for a new generation of journalists and media professionals who are aware of the linkages and impact of local and global actions is critical to bridge the gap between the scientific and policy discourse,” said Dr. Odeh-Al Jayyousi, IUCN West Asia Regional Director during the opening of the workshop.
The training was an opportunity for journalists to sharpen their skills in writing effective environmental reports that address social, economic, and political dimensions. The IUCN facilitator and Business and Biodiversity Officer, Mr. Majdi Salameh, introduced the journalists to a wide range of current environmental and scientific terms that are addressed in our daily newspapers and TV reports. Throughout the training IUCN applied and reflected the UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development Media Training & Resource kit; a handbook for journalists to enable them to develop and articulate stories on sustainable development issues like climate change, energy use, pollution, and resource depletion.
Building and selling the environmental story with professionalism, accuracy and impartiality were topics introduced by the international media trainer, Mr Saad Hattar who provided some key tips and techniques on covering investigative reports. He showcased the difference between various kinds of news-writing and brainstormed with the participants on key environmental stories that could be addressed in Jordan using the hypothesis building mechanism as the basis for writing investigative reports.
On the other hand, the participants were introduced to the serious ecosystem degradation and pollution facing the Zarqa River basin through a field visit that was organized on the third day of the workshop. The participants were deeply engaged by the stories of local communities living alongside the river and how such environmental deterioration is substantially destroying people’s lives and health.
The Zarqa River Restoration Project Coordinator in the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Batir Wardam presented the efforts undertaken by the ministry in partnership with IUCN to rehabilitate the river through participatory planning, research and field evaluation, decision support systems, comprehensive plans, pilot projects, capacity building and process documentation. The project, funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, is building on the IUCN international experience in ecosystem management and restoration using ecosystem approach and integrated water resource management. The field visit was followed by launching an award for the best investigative reports on Zarqa River basin, where the winners will be announced in February 2010 by IUCN and its partners.
Journalists from daily newspapers including Al Ghad, Al Rai, Addustour, Al Sabeel, and Al Hayat participated in the training course in addition to Hawa Amman and Amen FM radio stations, Jordan TV, Petra News Agency and JO Magazine. The Ministry of Environment and a number of non-governmental organizations also took part in the workshop including Jordan River Foundation, the Royal Society for Conservation of Nature, the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development, Excellence Inc., in addition to a Jordanian independent eco-habitat architect.
For more information, please contact the IUCN ROWA Communications Officer Rania Faouri at: