Making a difference
Zika workshop focuses on international collaboration
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Science and health journalism should not be limited by international borders. Complex new health threats such as Zika virus that occur in a “noisy” media environment require a new model of reporting, Andrew Revkin, strategic adviser on science and environmental journalism for The National Geographic Society, told reporters and editors at a regional science journalism workshop organized by InquireFirst in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica.
Revkin was one of several prominent science and environment editors from major U.S. media organizations who traveled to Costa Rica for a March 4-8, 2018, workshop to help journalists hone their science and health reporting skills on public health coverage such as Zika and vector-borne diseases.
The regional workshop titled “Informing About Risks and Prevention of an Epidemic” was attended by 37 science and health journalists from 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Read more
Internet presents new challenges for journalism in the era of fake news
MEXICO CITY – Prominent Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui said the internet presents “a great light and a great shadow ” for journalism in an era of fake news.
On the opening day of a journalism TechCamp in Mexico City, Aristegui acknowledged “there is serious questioning” of the work of journalists.
“We have to investigate, corroborate and disseminate information,” she said. “We have to learn day by day (about new technology) without turning our backs on content. It is here that professional journalism plays a crucial role.”
InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker joined the TechCamp as an instructor, with “boots-on-the-ground” investigative journalism training for almost 60 reporters from Mexico, Guatemala, El Savador and Honduras.
The TechCamp gave journalists new digital tools and suggested a range of financing methods to produce and publish in-depth reporting.
“It is important that we journalists find ways to continue professionalizing ourselves and to be ethically independent,” Aristegui said. “It is essential for democracy.”
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson inaugurated the December 7-8, 2017, TechCamp by expressing concern about the alarming increase in murders of Mexican journalists.
“We all know the dangers of doing journalism,” Jacobson told reporters and editors at the TechCamp, commending them for “professionalism and courage.”
She denounced the murders of Mexican journalists Javier Valdez, an award-winning journalist who founded the newspaper Riodoce in Sinaloa state, and investigative journalist Miroslava Breach. And she expressed concern that until there is a concerted effort by the Mexican government to investigate and prosecute attacks on journalists, the killings will continue.
“We will not remain quiet about these crimes,” said Jacobson. “We will raise our voices until these crimes are investigated.
“Together, we can make a difference,” she said.
Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop in San Francisco underscores need for regional science journalism network
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The 2017 Latin America edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop sparked a commitment by more than 70 journalists from 15 countries to begin building a regional science journalism network.
The need for a network, which has long been a priority for workshop organizers Fundación Ealy Ortiz A.C. of México City and InquireFirst of San Diego, Calif., was underscored by seasoned science journalists who are looking beyond their borders to cover regional science, public health and environmental issues.
As global issues such as climate change, Zika virus and water shortages increasingly dominate the news, Latin American and Caribbean journalists agreed that their stories would be strengthened by collaboration across international borders to provide audiences a regional perspective.
InquireFirst and Fundación Ealy Ortiz A.C. organized and directed the 2017 Latin American edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop on October 25, 2017, in San Francisco, Calif., in collaboration with the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ).
The 2017 international science journalism forum marked the first time the WCSJ held its biennial conference in the United States. Almost 1,400 science journalists from 70 countries attended the Oct. 26-30 WCSJ conference.
During the Ealy workshop, Ivan Carrillo, anchor of the Los Observadores program on México ’s TV Azteca and frequent contributor to National Geographic, discussed the need for a regional network with fellow panelists Valeria Román, cofounder of the Science Journalists Network of Argentina; Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, independent science journalist in México who is studying for a master’s degree in science journalism in New York; and Luisa Massarani, of Brazil, the Latin America and Caribbean coordinator for SciDev.Net.
In another session, reporters and editors participated in an interactive session on mining hidden science stories led by science journalists Debbie Ponchner of Costa Rica and Federico Kukso of Argentina.
Journalists discussed separating scientific fact from fiction during a panel moderated by Lynne Friedmann, editor of ScienceWriters magazine. Friedmann was joined on the panel by Nora Bar, science editor at La Nación in Argentina, and science and environment writer Mariana León, with El Financiero Bloomberg in México City.
In a panel moderated by InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker, Mexican freelance journalist Sergio Vicke and Fundación Ealy Ortiz Director Enrique Bustamante discussed sustainable economic models for online science journalism organizations.
During a luncheon presentation sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, three prominent conservation scientists -- Rob Wallace, Nuria Bernal Hoverud and James Aparicio -- talked about their work at Identidad Madidi in Bolivia to explore and demonstrate the biodiversity in the South American country.
As part of this year’s Jack F. Ealy workshop, 15 science journalists received Ealy fellowships to attend the San Francisco workshop and the WCSJ. The journalists are working at media organizations in México , Costa Rica, Colombia, Perú, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Jamaica.
Fundación Ealy Ortiz A.C. is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 by Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, publisher and owner of the daily newspaper El Universal in México . Since its inception, the Fundación has awarded more than 1,500 scholarships to journalists at more than 500 news organizations in Latin America to attend workshops the organization has conducted in Latin America, Europe and the United States.
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Digital Storytelling: Latin American journalists learn to take the lead in an ever-changing reporting environment
SAN DIEGO -- The future of journalism lies in being able to tell stories visually.
“If your intention is to be a leader you have to think of new ways to tell your stories,” Raghu Vadarevu, Editor of Digital Storytelling/Global Enterprise for The Associated Press, told journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean who attended an Aug. 21-25, 2017, workshop organized and directed by InquireFirst on Digital Storytelling. “We can’t lose site of this: we’re still trying to tell stories. We just have to use all the new tools at our disposal to do that.”
During an intensive session with Vadarevu, journalist participants learned about cutting edge approaches to telling their stories online. Vadarevu talked about using new techniques such as cartoons to tell a complex news story. He described how The Associated Press used illustrations to tell the story of a girl who ran away from ISIS, detailing her treacherous journey with beautiful and moving drawings.
“You need to learn to communicate with people who can produce the visuals,” he said.
Vadarevu walked journalists through the steps for telling a digital story.
Discuss opportunities for digital elements before field reporting, he said. And remember that “we don’t need an elaborate website to tell a story. We’re gearing a lot of our content to the mobile experience. We can tell it in pieces on social media,” Vadarevu said.
He reminded journalists that “telling a story doesn’t end with publication. It continues on social media. With social media, there’s a lot more opportunity to engage with readers and users.”
The workshop, organized by InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker and held on the University of San Diego campus, provided journalist participants with tools and techniques for reporting on multiple platforms as well as financing methods and organizational advice for their online media organizations. Journalists attended the program from México, Honduras, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba.
Robert Hernández, InquireFirst board member and USC Annenberg professor of professional practice, demonstrated low-cost and no-cost apps that journalists can use to tell their stories more effectively and deliver them to audiences real-time. But Hernández reminded the journalists of the “rules of the road: journalism first, technology second. We always follow our ethics. Social media does not replace good journalism.”
Walter Baranger, a journalism professor at California State University, Fullerton, and former senior editor of news operations at The New York Times, spoke with journalists about cyber security and measures that reporters and photojournalists can take to protect their work and their equipment from private and state-sponsored hackers.
Janine Warner, co-founder of SembraMedia, reviewed effective strategies for economic sustainability of online news organizations. She cited her recently completed study, Inflection Point, that showed that Latin America’s online organizations are strong and expanding.
There are more than 600 online news organizations now operating in Latin America and Spain, Warner said, and 49 percent of those news organizations have been operating for more than four years, a clear sign of sustainability. About 66 percent of those organizations had four or more sources of funding, demonstrating a diversity of funding sources which is key to economic stability.
The Digital Storytelling workshop organized by InquireFirst served to strengthen the resolve of journalists to launch or expand online news organizations, which are an effective means of reaching the population – especially young people – and delivering credible, precise, thorough reporting on the important events taking place in their countries.
At the conclusion of the workshop one journalist wrote, “I am leaving with a new idea to start my own online news site.” Another said, “You can be sure that everything I learned will be shared with others to improve the information we provide to our audiences.”