A free masterclass is being offered to journalists in a bid to improve reporting on climate change and influence meaningful change.

Working with The Lookout Station, Disrupt Design have co-organised Solutions Hack For Journalist, a two-day masterclass to equip journalists with specialist tools and knowledge to bring into their newsrooms and report on climate change more effectively.

20 journalists can apply to attend the workshop in Barcelona on November 14-15, with a cut-off date of October 21.

Here, they will learn how to incorporate the 'the Disruptive Design Method’ into their newsrooms, as well as being introduced to industry tools and professionals.

“The most important thing to be effectively reporting and communicating on these issues is to know how to dissect, decipher and explore the problem in a more dynamic way,” said Leyla Acaroglu, founder, Disruptive Design.

Acaroglu explains that climate change is not a singular issue, but related to deforestation, overconsumption and waste crisis. She indicates that by equipping journalists with a specialised skillset on these areas, they can make more snap, informed decisions on the topic which will in turn shift the attitudes and actions of the public.

“If we only focus on the worst viewpoint then we're going to make that happen.”

“If someone is presenting an idea about climate change, then you can quickly understand what kind of information needs to be accessed in order to make sure what you're communicating to the general public is effective and helping people to understand the complexity of this stuff.

“If somebody comes to your newsroom and says 'we have this amazing new technology which will completely change the world', knowing how to quickly check to see whether or not it is a viable or environmentally beneficial outcome is extremely important.”

Acaroglu said she understands why climate change is such a hard topic to navigate, adding that it does not need to be dumbed-down. However, journalists need to be leading the debate.

“A lot of people are extremely confused by the science, unfortunately, because a lot of the communicating has been done through scientists — and we all know that scientists aren't the best communicators,” she jokes.

Touching on many of the themes within solutions journalism, Acaroglu says that apathy and confusion towards climate change are perpetuated by negative reporting.

“It is equipping journalists with the tools to understand the kind of impacts that decisions are having at this level and make sure there is good journalism which is challenging or make sure we overcome this 'hope deficit' in the media, where there is lot of tuning towards the catastrophic rather than sharing the possibilities and opportunities,” she said.

The Disruptive Design Method is a 'scaffolding’ to approaching problems divided into three phases: 'mining, landscaping and building'. This isolates a problem into assessing options, understanding causes and deciding on methods of intervention.

“The process enables people to think through a problem and come up with an idea of how they can help, alleviate or challenge that problem,” explained Acaroglu.

While in Barcelona, journalists will have the chance to meet architect Stefano Boeri, designer of the wooden skyscraper, for inspiration:

They will also meet Marcus Wendin with 20 years of experience in the environmental sector who will offer a participatory experience of how these tools can be used in the decision making and reporting process.

“It is the foundation of what I teach but it's also very complex. So it's great for the journalists to be able to learn first-hand from this great practitioner about all the knowledge we have now and the not-so-obvious parts of a government decision.

“No one can opt out of breathing,” she points out. “It is important that industries engage with this in a pragmatic and responsible way, and that is what I am excited about with this workshop.

“If we only focus on the worst viewpoint then we're going to make that happen.”

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