Capacity development and innovative communication

V. Meadu (CCAFS)

Inspiring journalists to communicate climate change

West Africa
Latin America
Southeast Asia
Climate Services and Safety Nets

Popular media can be a powerful channel for sharing information on climate change. To cover climate change issues and report accurately to readers, listeners or viewers, journalists need to understand climate change science. Journalists play a key role in providing information that helps leaders and the public decide what needs to be done about climate change, when action should be taken and how much they are prepared to pay. The uncertainties, complexities and time frames of climate change, however, can be hard for journalists to unravel.

In 2015, CCAFS teams in Southeast Asia, West Africa and Latin America organized workshops and seminars for journalists on communicating climate change. The journalists listened to scientists, asked questions, visited field sites, wrote stories, role-played selling stories, made videos and produced ready-to-air broadcasts in local languages. In Vietnam, a field trip led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to CCAFS research sites included visits to experiments on tea, livestock, crops and soil fertility to show adaptation measures currently being tested. In Senegal, journalists met farmers who were benefiting from timely climate forecasts provided by mobile phone and rural radio, and discussed technical aspects with scientists and extension agents who had devised the forecasts. In Latin America, a series of workshops were hosted by the CCAFS team at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Journalists who attended the workshops, formed a network to allow them to continue to share news, tips and useful links on science journalism, and information on agriculture and climate change.

B. Joven (CCAFS)
“terrific”; “make us think in new places and approaches to find stories”; “new sources of information.” Participants, media workshop, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, October 2015

Engaging the media is at the heart of CCAFS communication. The media provide a vital link not only between researchers and policy makers, but also between researchers and farmers, for example by raising awareness of how the traits of different varieties, such as drought-tolerance or disease-tolerance, can help deal with climate change.

"Through the help of the media, we hope to engage policymakers and key stakeholders to include agriculture in the climate change and agriculture agenda and to mobilize stakeholders for collective action toward mitigation and adaptation." Leocadio Sebastian, Regional Program Leader, CCAFS South-East Asia

Workshops for media professionals in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines

  • 199 media professionals trained in science-based climate change reporting
  • 109 subsequently trained by a public–private partnership with Metro-Pacific Investment Corp in 4 provinces in the Philippines

Workshops for media professionals in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras

  • 20 media professionals trained (12 female, 8 male)
  • 9 CCAFS media outreach pieces produced by participants
  • Hashtag #ComuniCACC shared in 223 posts by 33 users, reaching 36 183 and 435 973 impressions
  • Membership of Latin American Science and Agriculture Communications Network rose to 39

Training and field trip in Senegal

  • 12 media professionals trained, resulting in 16 stories in international, regional and national media