How Journalists can revamp reporting conservation stories

With the growth of digital tools and technology, journalists can find suitable technologies and ways that can help them attract more audiences.

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Journalism is facing several challenges among them maintaining its audience after clustering content like movies, music videos, memes, and entertainment clips in social media.

Such content attracts more viewership than news content, with impactful and informative stories that help people make informed decisions. However, this challenge moves parallel with the change in audience preference, especially in digital and mainstream media.

For instance, in today’s generation, it is easy to access current affair information via social media and other sharing platforms, something that makes media reports redundant activity.

This makes the reach of stories, including the ones featuring climate change and biodiversity, smaller as days go by, something that may delay the necessary actions to be taken.

However, with the growth of digital tools and technology, journalists can also find suitable technologies and ways that can help them attract more audiences. That may include the use of storytelling techniques while delivering their content, the use of visualization for data simplification, and the use of interactive images and videos along with their stories.

To look into that challenge, environmental and climate enthusiasts in Tanzania have initiated training opportunities for Tanzanian journalists to increase awareness of covering climate change and biodiversity stories.

Speaking after the second day of the training that was launched on the 12th of January 2022, the Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) Executive Director, Mr John Chikomo says under the auspicious of the USAID, the “Tuhifadhi Maliasili Activity” is a project that seeks to raise awareness to people and environmental stakeholders so as solutions to global warming and conservation of biodiversity are implemented.

The new journalism tactics to look into

Use digital and interactive tools to engage the audience

Journalists are used to having two forms of presenting their words. For writers, it will be words and at most images, but few go a further mile to add voices, videos, and other medium forms.

Nukta Africa’s Chief Executive Officer, Nuzulack Dausen says “you need to engage your audience and for biodiversity and climate change stories, you can use google maps and google earth to show images of before and after and location accuracy.”

Use narration and characters

Many stories are straightforward, and they are not catchy to youthful readers.

Mr Dausen suggests, journalists to deep dive into information that they ignore most of the time including age, location, time, physical features, distance and object size. These will build imagery into readers’ minds as they go through the story either written, narrated or shown on video.

Avoid jargon, rather use simple language

Sectoral reporting contains jargon words that are understood mostly by sectoral individuals but not by the public. When journalists also use the same words, it will not be easy for the general public to understand.

Mr Dausen suggests, journalists use simple words so as not to leave behind readers and the audience but carry them through the story so that they get the intended message.

The stress on covering climate change and biodiversity news in Tanzania comes after the sector shows prominence in the country’s economy.

The National Bureau of Tanzania (NBS) states tourism continues to increase in Tanzania. For instance, in the period of January to May 2022, tourist arrivals who visited various tourist attractions, including areas with wild animals, increased to 458,048 compared to 317,270 who visited the country during a similar period in 2021 equivalent to an increase of 44.4 percent.

This shows the call to the reporting of the challenges that threaten the tourism attraction that matters to the county’s economy.

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