This year, we launched our first ever Climate Tracker Media Mentorship! Pitches came pouring in from around the world, showing just how eager and excited young journalists are to report on this critical story of our time. We are grateful to each of you!
Our team jumped straight in and reviewed every single submission. We were happy to see the enthusiasm! In the end, the following 12 fellows were selected to take part in our 3-month paid media mentorship programme. Meet our fellows!
Rahma Diaa El Din Youssef, 29, Egypt
Rahma is a freelance journalist and full-time mother. She loves to travel, write, and cook.
With 10 years of experience in the media field as an editor (both in and out of Egypt), Rahma has reported for the Scientific American, was selected as one of the 50 most inspirational women in 2019 by Women of Egypt Magazine, and has received three media prizes she is proud of:
- Media Award for Adult Education Issues
- Heikal Award for Arab Journalism
- Best Multimedia Story (Goethe Institute & TheGerman Academic Exchange Service)
“Our region is threatened by many risks because of climate change. For example, drought and shortage of drinking water is impacting both the agricultural sector and the economy.”
Egypt is facing high temperatures that make living difficult. Rahma shared that Egypt and the Arab region in general seems to have a lack of interest in scientific and environmental journalism.
Rahma is most interested in raising awareness about climate change by sharing the effects on daily life as well as the long-term consequences. She approaches the issue by shedding light on the initiatives people and communities are already using to make a difference.
Raqib Hameed Naik, 25, Kashmir
Raqib is an Independent Multimedia journalist based out of Kashmir and New Delhi. Currently, he works as the Pro bono News Director at TwoCircles.net. Before this, he worked as an International correspondent with the US-based The Globe Post. If he’s not reporting, you could most likely find him backpacking in the jungles of SouthAsia or cleaning the “abusive rightwing messages” he receives on his Twitter account due to his critical reporting on the Indian government.
With this knack for analysis, Raqib’s work has appeared on Al Jazeera, Stories Asia, The Wire, Caravan Magazine, TRT World, The Defense Post, The Third Pole, and others.
To Raqib, climate journalism is important because it informs the public discourse and helps bring attention to climate change issues happening around it. He believes that only an informed person can take action-oriented steps to make change.
“As a journalist, I think my role is very critical in educating and informing the people by bringing out the climate stories especially the ones that are unreported or underreported and have critical perspectives and nuances, so that they can make informed choices.”
Ryhan M. Yazid, 27, Japan
Ryhan is a green tea farmer in Wazuka, Japan! If she’s not busy lugging fertiliser around, she may be found stalking her friends on the fields (insects, deers, and the like) with her camera, writing, or starting our at the fields.
Ryhan has experience working as an Online Editor and Research Analyst (with focus on technology), all before she decided to put all her energy into farming, full-time.
Ryhan places particular importance on the role climate journalism plays in raising awareness on issues regarding food and agriculture.
“East Asia has been affected by unpredictable weather patterns and extremities within each of the seasons. While farming has always been dependent on the weather on a day to day basis, these uncharted waters make it all the more challenging, especially for farmers living in rural areas. Climate journalism creates an opportunity for open discussion in which farmers can tweak methods of dealing with similar climate change issues to best tackle the problems they face on their farms. Consumers also gain a better understanding of the products they’re purchasing, the potential fluctuating prices, and in turn make informed choices.”
Gaea Katreena C. Cabico, 22, The Philippines
“I’m Gaea Katreena Cabico, named after the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth, which fits the kind of stories I write about. I have been working for Philstar.com, an online news outlet based in Manila, Philippines, since 2017. Prior to that, I was the editor-in-chief of The Flame, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas.”
Gaea joined the company when she was 19, fresh out of college. She writes stories about the environment, climate, human rights, health, and the people whose voices are often unheard.
Her story ‘Fed by the waters’ is nominated for Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award.
Gaea told us that The Philippines is a country vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of severe weather made worse by climate change. “It is affecting everyone but people often feel this is someone else’s problem. So there’s this important task of making people care because the future of the planet is on the line. And to do that, we need to tell stories to the public,” she shared.
Dominic Kirui, 32, Kenya
As a little boy, Dominic had a strong desire to be a journalist. He emulated celebrated news anchors on radio and wanted to be on radio, just like them.
“I have no idea how I found myself writing,” he shared.
Well, what’s meant to be will be. Now, Dominic is now a climate reporter who is committed to ensuring that government leaders and policy makers are held responsible for the projects that they run in their respective countries and that they adhere to and follow the climate policies they sign onto.
Some of the work Dominic is most proud of includes:
- Can Kenyan farmers combat food insecurity with climate-smart agriculture
- Slingshots in hand, Kenyans work to replant vanishing forests
- China-backed Coal-Fired Plant Faces Rejection in Kenya
This fellowship is particularly important to Dominic as he shares that in Kenya and Eastern Africa as a region, climate journalism has been given a back seat in newsrooms.
“This is because other topics such as politics have taken precedence and might as well be because of the commercialization of newsrooms. I look forward to a day when a climate change story will be a headline story in leading national and regional papers and as well as prime time news on television.”
Fabiola Monty, 33, Mauritius
Fabiola Monty is an environmental scientist and blogger, born and raised in the land of the dodo a.k.a Mauritius. She loves writing mostly about biodiversity governance and nature-based solutions and making short-form educational videos. When not figuring her way around home vegetable gardening, with its successes and multiple failures, she is leading a Mauritius-based environmental NGO that focuses on environmental education and communication.
“Climate journalism is a form of solution journalism. Depending on the story, it provides an opportunity to reach a wide audience and increase awareness on climate change issues, make climate science accessible in terms of language, promote effective approaches that are indeed helping communities build resilience and cope with the impacts of climate change and also be a mean to keep governments and leaders accountable with regards to the environmental agreements they are committed to.”
As Fabiola shares, dedicated environmental reporting in Mauritius, for example through specific segments in newspapers and magazines as well as dedicated websites by some media houses seems to have emerged only over the past two years. However when it comes to local climate reporting, there is a disproportionate amount of articles focusing on current climate impacts and what climate change means for Mauritius over the long term, which contrast with the stories coming from Mainland Africa which include reports showcasing successful grassroots initiatives and solutions to tackle climate change and its impacts.
Meghie de Sousa Rodrigues, 34, Brazil
Meghie is a science journalist who thinks climate change is the greatest challenge ahead of us as humans.
“Reporting about the science, economy, impacts and other dimensions of climate change is extremely important — and I’m glad to contribute in that sense. It is the single greatest challenge we’re already facing as humans. Climate change definitely fits the category of themes that are worth reporting about.”
Meghie shared that Brazil has many good environmental journalism initiatives, such as InfoAmazônia and channels that blend the environment in their investigative reporting like Agência Pública and Repórter Brasil. They also have good environmental reporting in the big papers, such as Folha de SP, Estado de SP, and O Globo. But she believes Brasil needs to get more specific coverage on climate change.
Olivia Box, 25, USA
Olivia has a BSc.in Biology and is currently working towards acquiring her MSc. in Ecology. Olivia is a writer, ecologist, and a beekeeper. Originally from Massachusetts, her backyard provided the foundation of her draw to science. She has worked as an outdoor trip leader, a forestry field tech, an urban beekeeper, and a bookseller. Currently, she is working on a Master of Science in ecology. Her freelance work has been featured in Northern Woodlands, Massive Science, and In These Times.
Check out some of her great pieces here:
- COVID-19 Exacerbates Food Insecurity for Greater Boston’s Car-Free Households
- Even vampire bats do social distancing when their friends are sick
Olivia believes there is always more to learn and the climate movement and what her role is. She stated that voting and engaged activism are the most pressing ways to address the climate crisis and work towards an equitable future.
“Climate journalism can further illuminate the effects of global warming on the landscape and the people who love it. The biggest effects of climate change in New England are sea level rise, increasing temperatures, and shifted growing seasons. But these cascade into many more secondary effects, such as increased range of invasive species and warmer winter temperatures, which means less snow and snowpack, affecting the health of species like the valuable maple tree.”
Eileen Sosin Martínez, 31, Cuba
Eileen holds a BSc. in Journalism from the University of Havana, a Diploma in Public Administration from the International Institute for Foreign Affaris “Raul Roa García,” and a Diploma in Hypermedia Journalism, from the International Journalism Institue “José Martí.”
During the 8 years of her career, she has been tackling pressing issues for the current Cuban context, like economy and business, gender disparities, migration, economic and social reform. She has participated in journalism workshops in Germany (2015) and Chile (2020). This year, she is a selected as an RNTC fellow to attend the Investigative Journalism course offered by this organization, in Hilversum, the Netherlands.Eileen has been awarded with the Premio Sandra 2018, in Travel Chronicle category; and received an Honorable mention in the Annual Economical Journalism Award (2013), granted by the National Association of Cuban Economists and Accountants (ANEC).
Her pieces have been published both in Cuban and international media:
“Climate journalism has the mission to place environmental issues in public conversations. That would be the first step toward decision making processes that lead to real changes in climate policies. Likewise, climate journalism is critical to raise popular awareness about the climate crisis, as well as showing potential and actual solutions in this regard.”
Marco Ranocchiari, 35, Italy
Marco was born in Rome and after graduating in Geology, he moved to Trento, in the Italian Alps. He’s been working for seven years in the area of science communication and education. His experience as a freelance journalist began in 2017, when he published a series of travel reports on environmental organisations in the Balkan countries. Since then, he has been following environmental issues in Italy and abroad, with focus on territory management, geology, mountains, and environmental risks.
Marco is a contributor at the Water Grabbing Observatory, a think tank focused on the conflicts on water, for which he covers the Balkan countries, namely the controversies on a hydropower boom with heavy environmental and social consequences.
He once won the award for travel bloggers #InWebWeTravel at the Italian Festival of Travel Literature and he believes it is important to get more people and politicians aware of the complexity of climate change issues.
“Italy is heavily affected by the increase of heatwaves, decrease of water supply, higher flood risk, possible flooding of coastal towns (like Venice). In the mountains, where I live, shrinking of glaciers, change of snow coverage in winter have effects on the economy. Mainstream media does not dedicate much attention to it, apart when a particular event (Climate strike, COP or really extreme weather conditions) happen. High quality climate journalism exists but it usually reaches people already aware.”
Danara ISMETOVA, 26, Kazakhstan
Danara Ismetova is a freelance journalist based in Kazakhstan. She is also a huge fan of yoga and “A Song of Ice and Fire.”
Since 2016,Danara has been reporting for RFI, EqualTimes and Asialyst. She has also worked as a fixer with international reporters from Viu TV, M6 TV Channel, Le Figaro, and El Mundo, and also as a literary translator for one Russian publishing house.
“As any journalist, I am trying to contribute to our common storehouse of knowledge and help people make informed decisions. Climate journalism is important, because climate change concerns everybody and its consequences can hit everyone. But climate change is also something that people can slow down, if they are well informed, and that’s where journalists must do their job.”
Danara shared that Increasing temperatures create higher risks of mudflows in the vicinity of Almaty (Kazakhstan). The glaciers in the Ile Alatau mountains have been melting for decades. Climate change is also expected to impact agriculture and water management in the region of Central Asia.
David Pappannah, 26, Guyana
David Papannah is an award winning Guyanese Journalist, who has been practicing journalism for approximately 9 years. He has worked in the Print Broadcast and Online news industry in Guyana. Throughout his practise he has paid keen interest in Crime, Health, Environment, Agriculture, Infrastructure and Human Rights and Migration reporting.
His career began at a local television station in his home county of Berbice and within a few month he graduated to the print news industry and began contributing to Guyana’s leading daily newspaper, Stabroek News, where he currently works as a full time journalist.
He holds an Associate Degree of English from the University of Guyana. He is the recipient of the Pan American Health Organisation(PAHO) Clare Forrester PAHO/WHO Media Awards for Excellence in Health Journalism and the Guyana Press Association Awards for coverage in Environmental and Land Issues, Human Rights, Agriculture, Business and Governance. He has also participated in Investigative Journalism Training organised by the International Centre for Journalist Network and the Island Voices Campaign organised by the UN Office of the High Representative for least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS) during the 74 General Assembly of the United Nations.
We’re excited to work with each of our fellows and to learn from them as well. Join us on this journey!