Society at large has become more and more conscious about the world we live in, and the impact we are making on the environment. Climate change, deforestation and pollution are things that more people are discussing and are concerned about. 

This is all thanks to the hard work of environmental journalism. Without these guys doing all the grunt work, we would not know or be as aware of all the environmental issues surrounding us.

Continue reading as media update's Saads Abrahams takes a deep dive into environmental journalism.

What is environmental journalism?

Environmental journalism is a type of current affairs journalism; however, the focus is placed on current and crucial environmental issues. 

Topics covered by environmental journalism include:

  • environmental policies

  • climate change

  • sustainable development

  • biodiversity

  • water health and resource management

  • pollution

  • natural disasters

  • events and initiatives

  • renewable energies

  • wildlife and conservation, and 

  • reports and studies concerning the environment.

What does it matter?

Now you might be wondering why environmental journalism matters. So let me break it down for you.

Without environmental journalism, we would not know about most of the environmental issues plaguing the world. In addition to this, according to Media Defense,

"Reporting on the environment has become one of the most dangerous jobs in journalism. Over the past decade, at least 13 journalists investigating environmental issues have been killed as a direct result of their work. Countless others have suffered violence, harassment, intimidation and SLAPP lawsuits."

Environmental journalists aim to:

  • raise awareness 

  • generate a debate on environmental issues, and

  • to promote environmental policies.

What does environmental journalism entail?

If you are considering becoming an environmental journalist, you need to know what it entails

Being an environmental journalist comprises the following facets:

Investigative reporting

As an environmental journalist, you will have to conduct in-depth investigations to bring environmental issues to light. You would need to collect data to create thorough and factual reports, as well as conduct interviews with experts.

Magnify voices

Environmental journalists have the ability to give a voice to smaller communities that are directly affected by environmental issues. They highlight stories of indigenous knowledge, wildlife conservation and environmental injustices. 

Scientific communication 

You need to bridge the gap between the public and the scientific research conducted — that is, you will need to take all the scientific jargon and concepts and break them down in a way that the everyday person would understand. 

Without doing this, very few people will understand what you are reporting on, and it will have a lesser impact. 

Inspiring action and solutions 

Through their reporting and storytelling, environmental journalists can inspire change in communities and individuals. Through showcasing successful environmental initiatives, readers are encouraged to make a change. 

Holding entities accountable

Without environmental journalists bringing these issues to light, corporations and governments would be able to do as they please without anyone knowing. 

These journalists play a crucial role in fostering a more sustainable and responsible society by exposing environmental infractions and promoting responsible behaviours.

Challenges of being an environmental journalist

Being an environmental journalist is not without its challenges

Some of the challenges you would face are:

  • time and money

  • the potential of it being a slow process

  • fighting for attention in the media 

  • disinterest from the public

  • lack of environmental and scientific training

  • limited access to governmental information on environmental conservation

  • threats of forest mafias, and

  • the priority of other subjects over the environment.

What are your thoughts on the importance of environmental journalism? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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If you love all things environmental, take a look at How PRs should tackle the climate conversation — in 300 words or less.

*Image courtesy of Canva