India: focus on the environment
We worked in partnership with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), Television Trust for the Environment (TVE) and the Stockholm Environment Institute to mobilise public opinion around the environment by improving the media's coverage of environmental issues and helping environmental activists communicate their messages more effectively.
Start date: 01/01/05
End date: 31/12/06
Media types: print, televsion
India faces significant environmental challenges, including:
- Air, noise and water pollution
- Soil erosion
- Land degradation
- Waste management
- Increasing energy consumption
- High carbon emissions.
An extensive training programme for journalists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) was carried out in nine Indian states to improve the quality and quantity of information published in the media and to create a better flow of information between environmental NGOs and the media.
The training combined face-to-face workshops with online learning and co-production field trips.
Raising awareness of key environmental issues
The training programme began with two-day state-level seminars for 35 journalists, editors, representatives from NGOs and government officials in each state on the environmental issues affecting people in that state.
Examples of environmental concerns included the availability and quality of water, food security, deforestation, and energy security and emissions. The nine states covered by the programme were Maharashstra (Pune), Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow), Uttaranchal (Debra Dun), Karnataka (Bangalore), Tamil Nadu (Chennai), Delhi, West Bengal (Kolkata), Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad) and Kerala (Trivandrum).
Our partners, TERI and the Stockholm Environment Institute, worked together to produce ‘State of the environment' reports for each seminar.
Enhancing environmental journalism skills
One hundred and eight television and newspaper journalists participated in five-day workshops held in nine regional centres.
- How corporate interests and party politics shape environmental news coverage
- The ethics of journalism - including objectivity and reporting a plurality of views
- Finding and authenticating sources
- Interview techniques
- Why reporting on the environment requires greater commitment and patience on the part of senior managers
- Environmental research tools
Journalists learned how to better connect with their audiences by explaining the impact of these key environmental issues on their lives.
Senior editors also worked with international specialists to develop strategies for moving environmental issues up the news agenda.
We developed a website to provide trainees and other journalists interested in environmental issues with a virtual research library, a contacts database, an events diary, a glossary of terminology and the ‘State of Environment' reports.
The website was also a gateway to our iLearn online training courses and discussion forum. The online courses included modules on journalism ethics, production values and story-building skills.
Co-productions that highlight the environment
During the training programme, EU trainers and Indian journalists produced 18 television documentaries and nine newspaper campaigns to highlight environmental issues
, including climate change, water sources, waste management, soil degradation, pesticides, air pollution, deforestation and green house gas emissions. View video clips of the documentaries here. www.i-learn.co.uk/focus
Environmental journalism competition
Both the TV documentaries and newspaper features produced during the project were entered into an environmental journalism competition, held in October 2006.
The panel of judges included representatives from partner organisations and the European Union-Delegation.
Two prizes were awarded in the 2006 competition - Best Documentary and Best Newspaper Feature. The leaders of the winning teams received prizeshanded out by the EU's Director of International Affairs in the Environment Directorate, by Soledad Blanco. Some of the TV documentaries also received prizes at prestigious Indian festivals.
Empowering environmental activists
Ninety representatives from environmental NGOs participated in one week seminars designed to improve their media skills.
During the seminars each participant developed a PR strategy for their organisation. They also learned:
- What makes a good story
- How to develop and maintain productive media contacts
- Legal issues around what can and cannot be published, including defamation laws
- How to write a press release and hold a press conference
- How to effectively present their organisation
- How to monitor the impact of their press work and apply the lessons learned to their communications strategies
We worked with our not-for-profit partner in India, TERI, to develop their TV production skills and strengthen their ability to provide environmental training to NGOs on an ongoing basis.
Five TERI staff attended a three-week digital editing workshop to hone their skills in a range of post-production techniques. During the workshop, trainees practiced on the documentaries produced during the project. The course was led by a BBC trainer.
TERI staff then worked together with BBC and TVE producers to do the post-production work on all 18 films.
Twelve trainers affiliated with TERI learned how to design and deliver media skills courses for NGOs.
Each trainer attended a 10-day workshop focusing on teaching methodology and course design. Key learning points included:
- Feedback as a training tool
- Setting training objectives
- Analysing course participants' training needs
- Different training styles
- Training aids
- Team building techniques
- Evaluation techniques
The training took place before the workshops and seminars with journalists and non-governmental organisations were held.
The newly trained trainers then helped deliver the training programme for journalists, working along side European specialists.