Covering Children Impacted by the Climate Crisis
This tip sheet was drawn from the fourth webinar in a series focused on Early Childhood Reporting, part of the Dart Center’s Early Childhood Journalism Initiative (ECJI).
The webinar was moderated by journalist and Dart senior advisor Irene Caselli, and the speakers were:
Dr. Robert Hughes, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (London)
Empower young people. Make your reporting accessible. Build a wide network of sources.
Build sources widely
Network with and cultivate sources among academics and researchers. Also include the voices and perspectives of young people in your reporting - they have a right to be heard, and journalists have a responsibility to listen to them.
Follow the research
More and more research is focused on the effects climate change can have on the body. For example, air pollution is widely known to damage our lungs. But recent research shows it doesn’t just have respiratory effects - black carbon can also affect pregnancy and developing fetuses too.
Break topics down
Climate change can be an overwhelmingly vast topic for both journalists and their audiences. It can be helpful, therefore, to clearly break down chains of cause and effect. For example, climate change-induced food insecurity can have a hugely detrimental impact, because we know how important nutrition is for the physical and neurological development of young children.
Make your content accessible
Climate change particularly impacts deprived communities, who might not have access to certain outlets. Think deeply, therefore, about how your work can reach them. Are you using a relevant language or dialect? Can you harness the power of social media more effectively? Can you partner with a community outlet?
Empower young people
Journalists, understandably, might feel nervous when interviewing children whose lives have been upended by climate change. Although there are, of course, increased sensitivities when covering such stories, don’t underestimate young people. In fact, many find it empowering to speak out, to feel they are forming part of the solution.