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Commissioning media coverage of climate and development – collaboration with WRENmedia


Project Reference: KMGL-0024

Journalists in East Africa face significant challenges to reporting on issues related to climate change including a lack of training in reporting strategies, difficulties coping with technical language, the complexity of the science, limited access to credible and informative sources, and competition from other news areas.

In order to address these challenges, twelve East African journalists undertook an eight-day training workshop in Nairobi in April 2012.  Guest speakers from government, NGOs and the private sector gave presentations, Q&A sessions and one-to-one interviews on a variety of topics relevant to climate change. Coaching on script writing, editing and other aspects of effective radio reporting in conjunction with field trips to four locations enabled the journalists to effectively gather and present stories on renewable energy, water resource management, agricultural adaptation and information delivery.

The workshop was organised in partnership with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and facilitated by WRENmedia.

The participants’ reports were used to compile a resource pack of climate change-related radio features, distributed to 48 radio stations in Anglophone Africa.

Qualitative feedback provided through a written assessment of the workshop, in addition to verbal interviews recorded, provided many examples of the learning that has been achieved, highlighting the following outcomes:

  • Improved participants’ understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change, and strategies for adaptation and mitigation.
  • Increased participants’ confidence to tackle climate change topics, including handling expert speakers and people directly affected by climate change.
  • Improved participants’ technical competence in radio feature making, including equipment handling, recording in the field, interviewing, scripting and editing skills.
  • Participating journalists also used material gathered during the workshop for their own broadcasts on return to their radio stations, and several were invited to pass on the skills they had learned to their colleagues.

WRENmedia implemented a second phase of this project between March and June 2013, which involved a short online training programme for African print and radio journalists. Journalists were given the opportunity to interact with each other and staff from WRENmedia, and obtain input from a subject specialist. Activities included an online discussion of key issues in climate-compatible development reporting, one-to-one mentoring on a reporting assignment and funding to cover costs incurred in article or radio feature production.

Further information:

Timeframe: Phase 1: January 2012 – May 2012; phase 2: March 2013– June 2013

Project Manager: Lisa McNamara

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