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!

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