Thank you for being part of our growing movement of environmental journalists, and for contributing to our global movement with your excellent writing, passion and efforts. We, at Climate Tracker are inspired everyday by the work you do, and in an effort to help you unleash your maximum potential, provide personal feedback to every submission we receive as part of one of our campaigns. Every submission we receive is rated based on a set of qualities and attributes, and accompanied from personalised feedback, so that you know how well you did and where we think you could improve.
The rating system we use is called the Climate Tracker SCORE, and focuses on five qualities: namely the Style, Content, Originality, Reach and Engagement of the article.
Every submission will receive a SCORE report, detailing how the submission did on each of the five attributes, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest that you can score.
The first quality, Style, comprises performance based on the following attributes:
- Structure: Whether the article has a distinct introduction/lede, a main body of arguments and a conclusion or final deduction.
- Flow of writing: Whether the article structure is fluid by easily transitioning from one point to the next.
- Language: Whether the vocabulary and sentence construction is precise and easy to understand.
The second quality, Content, includes the performance based on the following factors:
- Relevance: Whether the topic or subject of the article is relevant from the perspective of an interest group, related to a current development or event, or seeks to add or build on an existing premise.
- Research: Whether the writer has cited quality sources, statistics or data.
- Lede and Nut-Graf: whether there is a distinct lede paragraph which hooks the reader into the story, followed by a nut-graf (in-a-nutshell paragraph) which explains the core argument of the piece.
The third quality of Originality is crucial while writing on climate and environmental issues where the online and print media is home to multiple voice, and it is important to stand or add value to the discussion. Originality can be assessed based on the following attributes:
- Making a Difference: Whether the article providing a new perspective to the issue instead of merely reproducing others’ views or information.
- Creativity: Whether the writer taken an initiative to enhance the article, such as using an interesting poll, or a visual tool like a video or personal interview.
- Why Me: Whether the writer is tapping into their expertise in the topic, or their past experiences, or their geographical/regional location or political leanings to further the core argument.
The article is also valued depend upon the Reach it has with respect to its readers. This can be gauged from the following elements:
- Target Audience: Whether the article can be understood by and appeals universally, belonging to all demographics as opposed to merely people from a certain country, region or discipline.
- Quality of Publication: Here, the higher the readership and potential reach of the publication, the higher the score.
The final quality, of Engagement checks the degree to which an article interacts with and involves the reader with the argument and subject. Attributes suggesting the degree of engagement are:
- Use of Media: Whether the article uses photographs and/or videos effectively to best further their argument.
- Call for Action: Whether the article leaves the reader with a distinct call for action or invokes and explains the need for readers to involve themselves into the campaign call.
Additionally, although not included as a score in our feedback, Climate Tracker also considers to following criteria when reviewing publications:
Human Interest: Climate Change is about people, so it is important to show the people who are affected or involved in the story you are bringing.
The Inclusion of Women: More than half of the world population consists of women, and women are dis proportionally affected by climate change. Nonetheless, women’s voices are underrepresented in the media. Try to include the perspective of women, for example by focusing on gender-related issues or interviewing women as participants, experts or sources.
The Inclusion of Marginalised Groups: We support journalism that focuses on environmental impacts on women, youth, indigenous people, people with disabilities or ethnic minorities.
Use of Multimedia: Capturing your audience can be hard. The use of multimedia – such as photo, audio, video, infographics, longread, timeline, interactive maps and interactive photos – can really help to explain or illustrate the story in an engaging way.
Persuade to Act: Climate Change is a global issue that needs to be acted upon now. Try to provide specific ideas or recommendations (with details if possible) that can be applied to address environmental problem(s) or natural resource management issues. Empower people to believe their individual actions can make a difference.
Keep it Simple: Try to keep clear from jargon (scientific, technical, professional language/terminology) and use simple words and precise examples. Make sure anybody can understand your message.
Once you receive feedback from us, based on this guide, we hope this will help you to keep improving and to keep hitting those keys. Let’s change the world, one article at a time. Good luck and happy writing!