Climate Change Workshop For Odisha Journalists By VIEWS & US Consulate General

Bhubaneswar: To provide resources and best practices for covering climate change, U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad, in partnership with VIEWS, an NGO based in Odisha, launched a series of workshops for journalists working in regional media.

The first workshop in the series was held in Bhubaneswar recently. The two-day regional workshop was inaugurated by Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General Hyderabad, David Moyer and Executive Director, Sambad Group, Tanaya Patnaik, a press release said.

The workshop equipped vernacular-language journalists with tools and concepts to write analytical and research-based stories on climate change. The aim is to enhance the media coverage around climate change and its impact on the society.

Moyer said climate change is affecting not just the United States or India, but the whole world. One of the biggest challenges for countries is to tackle climate change issues. Like other regions, climate change is drastically affecting Odisha.

“We read reports of increased instances of forest fires, flooding, and cyclonic activity in the past few decades. Journalists can build awareness on these issues so that individuals and organizations can all work with their respective governments and contribute to minimize the impacts of climate change,” he said.

The prime objective of this series of workshops for journalists is aimed at providing tools and techniques to Odia language journalists so that they can provide their readers in-depth reports and analysis of the climate change impacts that would result in building awareness among the masses in this region, he added.

“Newsrooms need to exercise strong editorial will for issues relating to climate change. Climate change is not limited to talking about the subject alone but encapsulates business, tourism, and politics. So, it is important to find a link as a journalist,” said Tanaya Patnaik.

Speaking on the occasion, Subhra Priyadarsini, Chief Editor, Nature India, who was one of the resource persons for the workshop, said, “Climate reportage in India’s regional media often relies on field anecdotes. Skilling journalists to incorporate scientific evidence in their stories, and fact-checking to sift through a maze of information (and disinformation), is imperative.”

The recent workshop was the first of 10 workshops, with three each in the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, and a final one for all participants in Hyderabad. From Odisha, a total of 13 participants from reputed media organizations will benefit from the training workshop. The journalists were trained by reputed resource persons and leading journalists from the field, in a multi-session workshop covering all aspects of climate change – fact-checking, gender, and engaging the audience.

A special session on weather and disaster reporting was also conducted by Umasankar Das, Scientist-C, IMD, Bhubaneswar.

VIEWS will provide training materials to the journalists in each of the workshops to further increase understanding of the subject, the release added.

Speaking on the occasion, Executive Director of VIEWS India, S Bheema Rao said, “We are happy to be the implementation partner of the U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad in this initiative. I believe the workshops will help sensitize media houses to increase their coverage of climate issues, which will lead to increased awareness among the public regarding climate issues.”

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