I was given the opportunity to cover an environmental radio package during the start of the third term. We were given a brief by Algoa FM and the South East African Climate Consortium (SEACC) to cover environmental journalism using ‘mainstream’ media conventions, such as a reliance on experts, objectivity, etc. Thus our aim was to work with Algoa FM to produce current affairs packages on sustainability and climate change to mark the approach of the international climate change conference, COP 17, which will be hosted in South Africa in 2011.
I believe that that I was successful in putting my journalistic approach into practice within the context of environmental journalism. Especially I was able to apply my journalistic approach to the use of language and scripting within my climate change package. This is seen through the experience I had in compiling the story, especially as I discovered through the process just how difficult it was to make an environmental story interesting and appealing to an audience. As all my sources were experts in their respective fields, I began by asking them to go back to the basics and explain their knowledge as much as possible in layman terms, giving examples where they could. Thus allowing me to bring knowledge and awareness to people by using simple language and examples in my scripting to help convey the importance of the message and make the overall package more appealing. I also achieved this by scripting the package in a certain way and style. I started the package off with international headlines emphasising how climate change is depicted as a problem happening in other countries, and then contrasted this with the rest of the package dealing with how the problem is actually also affecting us in the Eastern Cape. I then ended the package off on a positive note, by putting the focus on glimmerings of hope. I scripted the package in this way so as to make it more interesting and appealing to the audience, while using layman terms to convey the message in and easy to understand manner. Thus, my final package would not be all about doom and gloom, but rather offering glimmers of hope. Thus through the use of language and scripting I was able to put my journalistic approach into practice by making the package interesting, providing information and hope, and most importantly promoting positive change.
I also fulfilled my journalistic approach of being slightly subjective as I took a stance on the topic. This is because I believe that there is some place for subjectivity within an environmental beat, especially as this creates less confusion while dealing with a very confusing topic.
This package also has potential for a follow up story. I would propose to delve deeper into the lives of the rural communities. For example, I would focus a lot more on how the rural communities are being affected by climate change. However, I would also investigate the economic effects and consequences the rural communities would face if they were to change their current way of life in order to help prevent climate change.