M100 Young European Journalists Workshop 2023
Reporting on Climate Change – and its Significance for Democracy
10 – 14 September 2023, Potsdam, Germany
(Arrival 9 September, Departure 15 September)
Climate change not only poses new challenges for society, politics, and the economy, but also for journalism. Only a short time ago a marginal phenomenon, climate journalism is moving more and more into the focus of media houses and editorial offices.
Climate change is one of the greatest threats of the 20th century and affects all areas of our lives: society, economy, supply chains, work, agriculture, health, nutrition, mobility. It promotes fear, insecurity, social division, lack of freedom, migration, poverty – and thus also affects the state and resilience of democracy worldwide. Against this background, high-quality, fact-based and objective journalism is of particular importance. How climate change, its consequences and societal options for action are reported is crucial to addressing this major threat.
Meanwhile, voices are being raised: Journalism needs to change for this to happen. Because in journalism, especially in crisis reporting, events are traditionally reported on first and foremost, less on processes. Climate change, however, is a process for which editorial offices often find it even difficult to choose the right images. Many editorial offices such as the Financial Times, Die Zeit, Washington Post or Süddeutsche Zeitung are now establishing climate editors and producing climate focal points.
For climate change, a holistic perspective is needed, the renowned international media manager and journalist Wolfgang Blau pointed out at the M100YEJ 2021, instead of letting reporting on it take place only in sections such as politics, science and economics. There is also an increasing call for constructive journalism in the context of the climate crisis, i.e. not just reporting on a terrible catastrophe, but reporting that is fact-based and proposes solutions.
Loud calls for change in journalism are increasingly coming from within the industry itself. Journalist, book author and media consultant Prof. Dr Alexandra Borchardt, member of the M100 Advisory board, says: “Most media have offerings in climate journalism, but almost all lack a strategy. It is worth working on it. Because journalism as a whole will benefit from a good climate strategy. When it comes to climate change and the effects of corresponding policies, editorial offices have to offer classification that goes beyond what is expected. Only for this they have to understand it. Journalists should not only read statistics themselves, but also be able to communicate them to others. This is where journalist education and training is most needed.”
Together with colleagues, she is currently working on the EBU report “Climate Journalism That Works – Between Knowledge and Impact”, which was published on 1 March. She will discuss the report with participants and what has happened since then.
During the workshop, we will teach the participants what this new journalism can look like using successful examples and invite senior editors (digital and/or on-site) to talk about the projects, for example:
• From the YouTube channel Planet A of Deutsche Welle in Berlin.
• From AFP, whose Paris newsroom has been restructured into specialised centres to strengthen coverage of priority issues such as the future of the planet and the digital world.
• The Covering Climate Now network, which brings together more than 400 media from 50 countries to improve coverage of the climate crisis.
We receive support from the organisation Clean Energy Wire CLEW in Berlin. It produces and supports quality journalism about the energy transition in Germany and the EU, and also promotes cross-border cooperation among reporters covering the transition to a climate-friendly society.
In the workshop, we want to examine the quality of climate reporting in different European countries, illuminate it from different perspectives and develop criteria for successful climate journalism with special consideration of the conditions in the different European home countries of the participants. This will result in a kind of European map of climate reporting, which will be presented at the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium on 14 September in Potsdam.
The goals of the M100YEJ are:
• A cross-border reflection on climate change and journalism, the impact of climate change on journalism and democracy.
• Ways and strategies for enlightened, solution-oriented journalism, taking into account regional, economic, cultural realities in different European countries.
• Participants’ interviews with journalists, climate researchers, politicians, their results (texts, audios, videos) to be published on the M100 website and social media.
The M100YEJ is an initiative of the City of Potsdam and Potsdam Media International e.V.. This year’s workshop is supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government and Journalismfund Europe.