Journalism and the environment

12. Environmental journalism: the journalistic stance to adopt for a good investigation /

We’re almost at the end of our journalism course. Before we go, let’s see how good investigative news reporting involves several components and should not be based on news agency dispatches alone.

All good reporting involves a thorough, working knowledge of the subject and issues.

For those who feel like novices in this area, there’s a wealth of online courses. Green fiscal policy, sustainable diet, an introductory e-course on climate change or states’ action plans to reduce CO2… whatever the topic, don’t hesitate to take the courses on This partnership, a joint initiative of more than 30 multilateral organisations, supports knowledge sharing and works on the development of climate change learning materials with the help of United Nations agencies and other partners.

The analysis of data available through official sites, NGOs, universities, research centres, and businesses, is essential too.

Providing the statistics from a study is good, but you have to go further and actually examine. And your understanding of current scientific literature and research, thanks to leading science journals such as Nature, will make a difference too.

As will making contacts on the ground beforehand. For this, don’t hesitate to turn to journalists’ associations and networks. Africa 21, for instance, is a network of African journalists covering environmental and climate issues with the support of partners in Europe and across the African continent.

This will give you the opportunity to talk with fellow journalists who know the topic and ground realities. Climate Tracker is a good start. It is an international network of over 10,000 journalists across more than 150 countries. Its aim is to create and publish innovative narratives on climate change. But also to use new storytelling techniques.

As well as running workshops across 30 different countries, it also organises webinars and provides travel grants to young journalists around the world.

Quality reporting also involves interviewing members of civil society and NGOs. You have to check the facts through multiple channels. And you need to check sources too.

This involves testimonies, of course, but also fact-checking sites, internet searches…

I would also recommend that you analyse existing statistical data. The use of data journalism is not yet common practice in the profession. However it brings many advantages by processing and ordering different data on conflicts, natural disasters… Because data must not minimise the journalist’s role. It must guide your reporting, reinforce your analysis and enhance your objectivity.

Reporting that does not leave the reader feeling powerless is reporting that also looks at responses to issues and examines potential solutions.

For this, you can make use of the resources of the Solutions Journalism Network.

solutions and their Solutions Story Tracker.

You now have everything you need to adopt the right approach and be attentive in your future reporting.

A CFI project in partnership with France Médias Monde

Logos CFI et France Médias Monde