Credit: Screenshot from Lookout360

Journalists who want to get started with telling stories about climate change in 360-degree video can now apply for training and mentorship through Lookout360°, a six month pilot project launched today (15 November) by the European Forest Institute and the Global Editors Network.

The programme will select 10 journalists from different news outlets in Europe and beyond, who will have to commit to producing and publishing at least one 360-degree video story about climate change in the next six months. The projects will also be showcased at the GEN Summit in Lisbon on 30 May-1 June 2018.

The participants will initially be invited to a two-day training bootcamp in the north of Finland in February, where they will attend a crash course in 360-video filming and post-production, as well as training in climate change storytelling from experts.

Following the bootcamp, they will receive four online mentorship sessions between February and May, both on 360-degree storytelling and science reporting, to further support them in developing their stories.

The aim of the project is to lead to a better collaboration between the journalism and science communities, as well as empower reporters to develop and put in practice 360-degree storytelling skills.

Rina Tsubaki, who is leading the project for the European Forest Institute, interviewed more than 50 journalists and scientists about the challenges around science reporting, and found there is a level of distrusts between the two communities.

"Covering climate change from a journalistic point of view is very complex, time consuming and often very expensive.

"Another thing is that scientists don't know how to articulate the scientific findings so a lot of times journalists basically bypass them – they talk to the experts who have the language that is easy to understand, but the actual scientific evidence is hidden. There is a lot of material journalists can get stories from but often it is ignored or bypassed," she explained.

The project is particularly focused on how climate change is directly affecting communities, so the location of the bootcamp has been chosen to give journalists the chance to learn how the issue is impacting the Sami people, an indigenous community based in northern Europe.

Lookout360° is collaborating with local science organisations in Finland and the Sami Parliament of Finland to help journalists better understand during the bootcamp how climate change is affecting people in the area.

The in-field training is structured so that participants can choose to produce their final 360-degree project based on the materials they gathered during the bootcamp, but they also have the option to focus on a local community back in their country instead, Tsubaki said.

"When it comes to immersive storytelling there is more we can do, to join the effort between data journalists for example or immersive storytellers, and combining that to do more scientific-driven reporting on climate change."

The deadline for applications is 18 December 2017. To be considered, journalists should have little or no experience with 360-degree storytelling, ideally have some expertise in covering topics related to climate change, and they should be able to commit to publishing at least one 360-degree video before the GEN Summit. Find out more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply.

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