Making climate change a sexy story

23/09/2009 18:15

By Cherelle Jackson

APIA - Climate change stories rarely make front page and breaking news in the Pacific, at least not locally generated news items.
But all that could change, with more investment by environmental organisations into the specialised training of journalists with an interest in climate change.
This week Journalists from 13 Pacific nations have been participating in a training by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Climate Change Advisor for SPREP, Mr Espen Ronneberg says the media plays an important role in climate change awareness.
“I think it is very important to harness the power of the media in promoting awareness of climate change - its impacts, what can be done about mitigation and by whom, what are the options for adaptation.”
Ronneberg says an informed media can also inadvertently contribute to decisions in the negotiation level.
“We also need the media to get out the stories of the climate change reality in the region - for our negotiators and for media abroad, so that the positions of Leaders in other countries could be somehow influenced by the human faces of climate change impacts.”
Participating Journalists come from Solomon Islands, Nauru, Tonga and hard hit Kiribati and Tuvalu.
Samoan Journalists are also taking part in some activities.
Spearheading the training is Award winning environmental Journalist, Samisoni Pareti from Fiji.
Pareti was recently appointed the European Union Pacific Media Advisor is co-training the workshop with SPREP Media Officer, Ms. Nanette Woonton.
Woonton says the workshop is to help Pacific islands media to have a better understanding of climate change as well as other environmental issues.
“We hope that it will raise the profile of climate change throughout regional media reports as well as encourage, inspire and motivate Pacific reporters to file news on climate change.”
She says that climate change is an extremely significant issue for the Pacific region.
“We hope to provide Pacific media with the right tools so they can report on this issue which in turn will spread awareness and information,” Woonton said.
Woonton believes that there is a need for training in the area of climate change reporting.
She said that the overwhelming number of applications received for the training from throughout the Pacific region indicated the strong interest from regional Journalists.
The training ends today after weeklong sessions on the best practices of reporting on climate change.