From the fishing village of White River, Jamaica, Thursday, 14 February 2019

Credit: Associated Press/David Goldman

Associated Press (AP) has today (17 September 2019) launched a new multimedia series to show news audiences societal responses to environmental issues around the world.

The series, called 'What Can Be Saved?', will explore a new topic each week over the next 12 weeks, focusing on efforts to preserve landscapes and wildlife adversely affected by human activity and the climate emergency.

The project is the resulting effort of 24 primary newsgathering teams across five continents. The first episode takes the audience to Jamaica, to examine how local citizens are acting to save coral reefs.

"So often, for good reason, reporting on climate change is bleak and dire," said Sarah Nordgren, deputy managing editor, AP.

"We felt it would be useful to look at the efforts of people fighting that trend and taking matters into their own hands."

While responding to problems is widely cited as a technique used in solutions journalism, Jon Fahey, science editor, AP, said this was not an attempt to take on that style.

"Sometimes there's promising results, sometimes it's too early to tell," he explained.

"The pressure on the environment is so huge that this is not solutions to all the problems, it's people trying to mitigate problems and reverse the impossible."

Instead, it is an effort to make broader and more complex issues easier to understand the scale of the problem, by speaking to the people on the ground doing the work, as well as academic study leaders.

As well as photos and video, the multimedia series aims to do this through traditional text reports of the stories, plus animations and graphics.

Some of those graphics will go on to explain harder scientific concepts like carbon and nitrogen cycles, as they pursue topics on replacing trees in devastated forests.

"It's personal and global storytelling," said Fahey. "Viewers can witness for themselves what they are trying to do and why it matters to act."

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