Environmental Journalism and the Many Dilemmas

Despite a barren landscape, culture is flourishing in Nickel, Russia Photo: Magne Kveseth, norgen.org
Despite a barren landscape, culture is e.g. flourishing in Nickel, Russia Photo: Magne Kveseth, norgen.org

The dilemmas are plentiful when ten Russian and ten Nordic journalists cover climate change in the Arctic. They participate in a Master Class held in Arkhangelsk, which is sponsored by The Nordic Council of Ministers and arranged by NJC.

By Joan Rask

Climate change gives and takes – and the effect is especially present in one place: the city Arkhangelsk in Northwest Russia. This is one of the reasons why NJC’s International Master Class in Environmental and Climate Journalism is held here.

Course organiser Claus Leick has planned a broad programme about climate and journalism.

“I look forward to getting an insight into how the participants uses journalism within a topic about which researchers heavily disagree, and where many economic interests are in play at the same time,” Claus Leick says.

Arkhangelsk improves its economy
The city encircles a natural bay, and the area is traversable both to sea and on land in the summer, but when the cold envelops Northwest Russia, the harbour, bay, and the surrounding area freeze to ice. Or so it was before climate change could be felt…

The group of participants are visiting the harbour for a tour where they will meet journalist and author Oleg Khimanych, who has worked intensely on climate change in Arkhangelsk and the issues it causes nature-wise.

We need to talk about how journalists can convey so that TV and the articles will be interesting to the general population – and be objective and neutral at one and the same time

– Claus Leick

Sail north around Europe
The winters in the area have become considerably milder, and it has an increasing effect on animals and plants. But conversely, it potentially gives rise to a new Nordic sailing route to Asia, oil drilling, new economic activity, growth, and investments. This is one of those dilemmas that the course is about.

“We need to talk about how journalists can convey so that TV and the articles will be interesting to the general population – and be objective and neutral at one and the same time,” Claus Leick says.

That is why the participants, for an example, will meet Viktor Kuznetsov, researcher, PhD in geography, who has worked vigorously on the effect of climate change. The group will also meet the Norwegian data journalist, John Bones from VG. He will lecture in data journalism on the topic of climate.

Workshop – working together
All participants have written a motivational letter in order to participate.

“The level is high among the participants, and I am sure that we will get a lot exciting debates,” says Claus Leick.

The idea is that they will share their experiences and knowledge. During the four days the Master Class takes, the participants will alternately do a presentation on different subjects and dilemmas.

More information: Courseleader: Claus Leick, leick@mail.dk

Programme – Master Class in Environmental and Climate Journalism

Every participant has a deep understanding of the Arctic and climate. They will present it for each other during a workshop where everyone does an academic presentation on one of their preferred topics.

Thursday 8. September:

  • Workshop 1: Country Status Climate
  • Workshop 2: How to make better journalim about Climate Change
  • Workshop 3: Working together or as NGO
  • Meet scientist Viktor Kuznetsov, a PhD in geography, member of the “Russian Arctics” National Park

Friday 9. September:

  • Meeting with Oleg Khimanych, journalist, author
  • Excursion to the port of Archangelsk (left bank of Dvina River)
  • Meet data journalist John Bones, VG, Norway – part 1
  • Workshop 4: Photojournalism

Saturday 10. September:

  • Workshop 5: How to get new ideas for better journalism about Climate :
  • Meet Alexander Kirillov, Russian Arctic
  • Meet data journalist John Bones, VG, Norway – part 2

Sunday 11. September:

  • Workshop 6: How Climate Change affects local People in the Arctic:
  • Workshop 7: Climate Change Open up for new Industry – what’s the risk
  • Workshop 8: Network and cooperation after the Master Class