Research from a new non-profit headed by Fergus Bell and Tom Trewinnard turns an initial focus on climate reporting in southeast Asia.
Obstacles such as demand for reader attention, restricted journalistic freedom and a lack of “relatability” are among problems for newsrooms in the region, limiting “impactful climate reporting”.
The report, ‘Global Climate Journalism Insights: Southeast Asia’, comes from the climateXchange (cXc) initiative and tells of a journalism landscape “fraught with resource challenges, fear of reprisal and audience apathy”.
The group says information came from journalists attending a workshop organised with WAN-Ifra during Digital Media Asia this year, and represents views from newsrooms across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
It was compiled by cXc impact manager Carmen Nicoara, as an initiative of new nonprofit Syli. “climateXchange aims to kickstart a foundational transition in journalism,” Trewinnard and Bell say.
This will be achieved by “focusing on local content about relatable real-world causes of climate change and the global movement towards a just transition to more carbon-conscious living.
“The climateXchange team hopes that by using a global network of content producers and providing equitable access to trusted information, relatable impact and solutions will be fostered, empowering and engaging audiences at a local level”.
A regional hubs has also been established in Africa, with Europe to follow early in 2024, with further sessions to form the basis of future reports.
They say a gap exists between positive sustainability attitudes and actionable behaviour, “needing a closer bond between information and its audience”.
Legal constraints also threaten journalistic integrity – “highlighting the need for a stronger shield of media freedom” – while scarcity of resources and specialised knowledge “underlines the need for strategic allocation and training in climate journalism”.
In a funding model dilemma, the search for sustainable funding models “confronts the decline of traditional advertising revenues, ushering in an era of financial innovation”.
An upcoming report, due next month, is set to explore financial prototypes and ideas, building the momentum of innovative thoughts in climate finance.