Global Early Childhood Reporting Institute

March 8-11, 2024
Columbia Journalism School
New York City, NY, 10027, United States

The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma is holding a four-day reporting institute for reporters and editors worldwide who wish to deepen their knowledge of early childhood development and increase their capacity to report ethically and effectively on the youngest children and their caregivers. The reporting institute — part of the Dart Center’s ongoing Early Childhood Journalism Initiative — will be held March 8-11, 2024 at Columbia Journalism School in New York City. The application deadline has passed.

From the very first moments of their lives, babies rely on parents and caregivers to survive. Secure attachments to and positive relationships with caregivers are essential for early brain development, and mental and physical health. But caring for young children is far from easy, especially when caregivers face adversity of many kinds — from violence and war to poverty and inequality to forced migration, climate catastrophes, housing and food insecurity. These challenges impose enormous pressures on caregivers and may significantly affect their mental health and capacity to provide nurturing care to young children.

Research shows that most governments spend little if anything on caregiver support, and mental health in particular. At the same time, early childhood development and caregiver support issues are persistently underreported by news outlets and, thus, receive scant attention from policymakers and the public. The cycle reinforces itself.

This four-day global reporting institute will bring together journalists from around the world for panels, workshops, and skills-based training by leading researchers, clinicians, and child development experts and practitioners, as well as journalist-to-journalist conversations on how to translate these issues and themes into meaningful stories and salient, cross-cutting news coverage. The institute will offer opportunities for knowledge sharing, source development, and peer-to-peer learning and continue to grow a global network of journalists dedicated to reporting on young children and caregivers with insight, accuracy, sensitivity and depth. 

This four-day reporting institute is the latest program of the Early Childhood Journalism Initiative, launched by the Dart Center in 2017 to encourage science-informed, child-centered reporting that also examines the mental health and wellbeing of caregivers. Supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation (The Netherlands), Fundação Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal (Brazil), and The Two Lilies Fund (United States), the initiative has provided over 200 journalists around the world with knowledge, skills and resources to incorporate emerging science and policy on early childhood development into their coverage. This is a selection of the work that ECJI has supported.

Previous ECJI speakers have included:

  • Nadine Burke Harris, MD, former Surgeon General of California and author of "The Deepest Well"
  • Flavio Cunha, PhD, Economist, Rice University
  • Stacy Drury MD, PhD, Neuroscientist, Tulane University
  • Nat Kendall Taylor, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, The FrameWorks Institute
  • Charles Nelson III, PhD, Neuroscientist and Psychologist, Harvard Medical School
  • Ann S. Masten, PhD, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, University of Minnesota
  • Katie A. McLaughlin, PhD, Executive Director, The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, University of Oregon  
  • Kimberly Noble, MD, PhD, Neuroscientist, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Jack P. Shonkoff, MD, Director, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

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