Opinion/ Comment

Opinion Article: Climate Inequity stories

Written by

Ties Gijzel (Investigative journalist, Follow the Money) and

Laura Saarikoski (Editor in Chief, Helsingin Sanomat)

We asked two of the members of the independent assessment committee of the incubator 2023 the following questions:

  • What was the main criterion for the selection of the 3 applications for incubator 2023?

Ties Gijzel: We looked at the feasibility of the project, originality of the pitch, the portfolio of the journalist(s) and the potential impact of the story.

Laura Saarikoski: We were looking for an original idea that would have a clear contribution to the previous coverage of the same subject. We thought of the method how the idea would be presented, and the professionality of seeing the project through in the set time.

  • Journalists have been increasingly recognising the impact of the climate crisis and are exploring new ways and means to address the issue. In your opinion, is reporting on climate (inequity) different from other types of journalism? And if so, what are the challenges of climate reporting?

Ties Gijzel: Climate change is an abstract notion, caused by a wide range of factors. For journalists it’s challenging to make climate stories relatable and to carefully weigh what information should be included and what information shouldn’t, as the story can easily get very complicated. More than most other stories, climate stories are of a systemic nature and journalists need to make the stories relatable to the audience. A good climate story gives the readers / listeners / viewers a new perspective that shows how their daily actions and perceptions affect the bigger picture.

Laura Saarikoski: Reporting on climate is no different from other types of journalism. You need objectivity, research and the professionality to make the topic interesting to the masses. If you preach to the already converted (to people who already care about climate issues or equality) you won’t have the same impact than if you manage to reach people who don’t yet care. So it is not enough to say this is important; you need to make the important interesting, touching and personal to have a real impact.

*The independent evaluation committee of incubator 2023 consisted of Ties Gijzel (Investigative Journalist at Follow the Money), Laura Saarikoski (Editor-in-Chief at Helsingin Sanomat) and Nikolia Apostolou (Director of the GIJN Resource Center).

A few words about the incubator

The incubator gives space and resources to teams or individuals who have the desire to implement an innovative project in the field of journalism.

After 3 calls and 21 projects from 38 creators, the fourth cycle of the incubator, which started in October 2022, has been redesigned to focus on stories within a pre-selected theme.

Professional journalists from Greece and abroad submitted their proposals either individually or in teams on Climate Inequity, the theme of this call. The applications were evaluated by the independent evaluation committee and 3 of them were selected to implement their idea until June 2023.