International journalists will be trained and paid to report on solutions to the climate crisis in their region, thanks to a new solutions journalism scheme.
The Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) launched the LEDE Fellowship earlier this year as a way to help international solutions journalism projects get off the ground. Last week, SJN announced its first 21 recipients of funding.
One of those organisations has wasted no time putting the money to use. Constructive journalism publisher INKLINE has today (29 October 2019) issued a call for journalists from Europe, Asia and Oceania to produce an in-depth feature of solutions that mitigate the impact of the climate crisis on local communities.
A second call for journalists in Africa, South America and North America will be made public in spring 2020. At the end of the year-long project, INKLINE will have a total of six long reads in each key geographical region to compare and contrast the effectiveness of each approach.
"There might be common solutions, but what will probably emerge - depending on the way the climate crisis is impacting the communities - is that the solutions might be quite different," said Julia Migné, co-founder, INKLINE.
"We need to move away from this doom-and-gloom narrative, the lens of covering the climate crisis is quite negative. We are trying to show there are people out there trying to tackle this issue."
INKLINE was set up to provide Generation Y readers with a constructive alternative to news. However, it is for the most part still a side project, as contributors all have full-time jobs elsewhere.
The Fellowship comes as welcome support, as it provides a steady flow of stories coming in and enables external contributors to be paid for their work. This is the first time INKLINE has accepted external funding.
Successful applicants will receive online training from SJN before diving into their story, so it is not crucial they are well-versed in solutions reporting techniques.
Still, when approaching such a broad topic, it can be hard to know where to start. Migné encouraged potential applicants to spread the report over various countries in the region and use social media to their advantage.
"I'd have a few thoughts about what is being covered in the media, that would be a good starting point. From there, reaching out to communities would be the best way.
"I think if you then start digging and asking people, even on social media, stories will start emerging."
It is, however, not the first effort by a project to take a solutions-approach to this large-scale problem. What sets it apart is that INKLINE will go on to organise workshops for local communities in Oxford (UK), Manila (The Philippines), and Bangalore (India) to bring together journalists, scientists and activists.
These brainstorming sessions will discuss how reporting on climate solutions can affect both journalists and society, and ultimately, aim to produce guidelines for constructive reporting.
"We hope to spark the debate; by bringing these three different people together in one room we can start to break down these ideas. I'm sure scientists might not understand the ways journalists work, and journalists might not understand what the public wants or the type of data that needs to be put out," said Migné.
"We want to foster these collaborations under the common goal of the different solutions that are potentially achievable in their specific region - it's a starting point of conversation."
The first call for pitches is now live until 24 November 2019.
Get to grips with writing and reporting solutions at Newsrewired on 27 November at Reuters, London. Head to newsrewired.com for the full agenda and tickets