Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Concept of Development Journalism

The term “development journalism” is used to refer to two different types of journalism. The first is a new school of journalism which began to appear in the 1960s. The idea behind this type of development journalism is similar to investigative reporting, but it focuses on conditions in developing nations and ways to improve them. The other type of development journalism involves heavy influence from the government of the nation involved. While this type of development journalism can be a powerful tool for local education and empowerment, it can also be a means of suppressing information and restricting journalists.
The first type of development journalism attempts to document the conditions within a country so that the larger world can understand them. Journalists are encouraged to travel to remote areas, interact with the citizens of the country, and report back. This type of development journalism also looks at proposed government projects to improve conditions in the country, and analyzes whether or not they will be effective. Ultimately, the journalist may come up with proposed solutions and actions in the piece, suggesting ways in which they might be implemented. Often, this type of development journalism encourages a cooperative effort between citizens of the nation and the outside world.
The second type of development journalism can walk a thin line. On the one hand, government participation in mass media can help get important information spread throughout the nation. Governments can help to educate their citizens and enlist cooperation on major development projects. However, a government can also use the idea of “development” to restrict freedom of speech for journalists. Journalists are told not to report on certain issues because it will impact the “development” of the nation in question, and therefore citizens are not actually being given access to the whole picture.
As a tool for social justice, development journalism can be very valuable. By speaking for those who cannot, a development journalist can inform the rest of the world about important issues within developing nations. Looking at the strengths and weaknesses of a country may also help identify ways in which the nation can be helped. This style of development journalism is a tool for empowerment.
When development journalism is used as a propaganda tool, however, it can become very dangerous. Many citizens are taught that the news is a reliable and useful source of information. For example, within a developing nation which has a corrupt government, journalistic exposes of the government are extremely important for reform. If journalists are not allowed to write about what is actually going on, the citizens are not well served. Several international press organizations release reviews every year which look at the freedom of press in individual nations in an attempt to bring freedom of the press to all countries for this very reason.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tips from an island journalist for Durban COP17

By Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Although our colleagues from the developed world have shared useful tips, the challenges faced by journalists from SIDS and LDC when reporting on the Climate COPS are
different. As a Samoan journalist reporting on the last three COPs I would like to offer these tips for my fellow small island and LDC journalists:

Journalism Approach:
1. Decide and research on some of the major issues you want to follow before going to Durban. This way when they talk about this issue you know how to link it back and
you understand the context. eg. adaptation  initiatives your country and how it relates to the mechanisms within the KP
2. Our countries are not usually visible in the COPs so localising any of the statements and major outcomes of the meeting is essential to appealing to your local
audience. eg. when Figueres makes a statement about Adaptation Fund how does that impact projects on the ground in your island?
3. As the more experienced journos and those from the developed world tend to dominate press conferences, it's best that you approach the speakers personally at the
end and ask a more country specific question. I have gotten some of my best stories from this approach. These people are a wealth of knowledge and can usually drop in
a useful quote about your small island or LDC in a five minute door stop.
4. Some of the best stories for our countries can come from side events by WHO, WMO, Germanwatch and others. They tend to have more information, have more time to chat
and can give you background on the relationship between the climate change issue they are discussing and your country.
5. Don't feel inferior to the more confident and experienced journalists who buzz around in the press room, you have as much right to be there as they are, and you are
covering your countries which more often than not don't get proper coverage at these big meetings.

Practical Tips
1. Turn up early to secure a good spot in the press room.
2. Make sure you have the right adapter for your laptop, this is your lifeline.
3. Take snacks with you, sometimes lunch is not an option, and I find that half the food in these COPs are equivalent to my daily wages at home, or they are so foreign
in taste that you end up starving the whole day, because frankly you would rather eat rice than try something new that day :)
4. Wear comfortable shoes, you will end up running more than you ever thought you would have to during the day!
5. Smile, it's an awesome experience, and when you return home you have plenty of stories to tell!

Six Pacific journalists receive Australian Leadership Awards

The 2011 ALA Fellows and APJC Staff.
APIA 09 Nov 2011 – Six Pacific Island journalists from Tonga, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Fiji are this month taking part in the ‘Reporting Climate Change and the Environment’ training as part of the Australian Leadership Award scheme by the Australian Government. The journalists were nominated by the Pacific Alliance of Development Journalists (PADJ), based in Samoa, as part of its goal to increase the coverage of climate change and environment in the Pacific media.
The fellowship which began on the 24th of October is hosted and implemented by the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre (APJC). It aims to help journalists better understand and report on climate change and other environment-related issues affecting countries in the Pacific region.
APJC Director, Mr. John Wallace reporting on progress of the training to Radio Australia said: “People are writing stories already but we'd argue that the topic needs to be given a higher priority and news media can play a role there. I think by coming here and seeing professionals who've been doing that in their workplace, I think they can pick up new ideas and use those techniques to make them write stories that are engaging and really useful for their communities.”
The program includes modules on communication and leadership, seminars and practical classes on reporting climate change and environment; it also encompasses a news media internship and professional visits in Melbourne and other centers in Australia.
Talking to Pacific Beat, one of the participants, Mr. Rikamati Naare, a journalist for the Kiribati Broadcasting and Publications Authority says the training will be useful on reporting in his home country. “The wider community in Kiribati are fully aware right now about the impacts of climate change and they are urging for action.”
PADJ nominated the journalists based on their interest in development issues, particularly in climate change and environment.
This is the first year PADJ has nominated fellows for the APJC ALA Fellowships, since the establishment of the Alliance in 2010, by five regional journalists from Samoa, Vanuatu, Niue, Palau and Fiji.
This years PADJ Nominated Fellows for the AusAID ALA Fellowships organised by APJC are Ms Verenaisi Tuvuki Raicola senior reporter for The Fiji Times, Ms. Rozalee Nongebatu, senior reporter and producer for Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Alain Simeon, news reporter for Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation, Ms Unumoe Esera, journalist for Le Weekender Newspaper, Mr Rikamati Naare, journalist for Kiribati Broadcasting and Publications Authority  and Ms Monalisa Palu, journalist Tongan correspondent, ABC Radio Australia.
The training ends on the 25th of November.

For More Information: Contact: padjournalists@gmail.comWebsite: http://padjournalists.blogspot.com/

Sunday, 17 July 2011

MDGs and development journalism

by Susan Alexander |
As a communicator, the Millennium Development Goals have been both a blessing and burden.
The Goals have taken a long time to get any traction in the media. After the 2005 Gleneagles Summit they penetrated the discourse of the “international community”. Amongst activists popular understanding and support for the MDGs was generated through actions like the Stand Up mobilizations, with massive involvement by Southern citizens. IPS worked intensively in its capacity as a development-focused news agency to use the MDGs as a way to get more space and attention for the core issues, and worked with journalists, partners and other media to strengthen communication capacity and impact.
Today such vanguard efforts are being replicated by other news outlets and partners, but with much still to be achieved. For general audiences the MDGs are, at best, jargon to be explained. A recent study of mainstream European newspapers showed just 3.5% of total coverage devoted to development co-operation, and most of that about disaster relief. Using the MDGs as an entry point for development journalism is a good approach but it is still a formidable challenge to get space and attention for development.
In 2010 it is hard to hear a shared narrative coming through. What is the story of success and failure that the “international community” wants to tell and what does the future hold? As the 2015 deadline approaches the Goals themselves are less compelling as a framing device and so the question is really what next?

Susan Alexander is Director of Operations at Inter Press Service (IPS).

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Pareti joins PADJ

Award Winning Pacific Journalist (pictured centre) Samisoni Pareti, has joined PADJ. We are proud to have Samisoni on board!

PADJ nominates 8 Pacific Journalists

PADJ has nominated 8 regional journalists for a Climate Change Fellowship under the Australian Leadership Award scheme, organised by the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre in Melbourne Australia. The journalists who have also become members of PADJ are from the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Fiji, Cook Islands and Samoa. The Fellowship will take place in Australia next in February 2012.