We’re kicking off 2021 with a new batch of awesome young journalists from around the world!
Our Global Mentorship for Young Media Professionals programme is now entering its second cycle and will see 12 fellows from very different backgrounds and countries teaming up to learn about new media journalism while also participating in hands-on storytelling.
They’ll be publishing powerful stories, engaging in podcasts, writing newsletters, taking part in training sessions, and so much more.
Meet our fellows!
Claudia Belaunde, Bolivia
Multimedia journalist and filmmaker, 35
At her first job, 12 years ago, Claudia found out that she was made to be outdoors and not be chained to a desk. So said, so done, Claudia is a photographer and documentary filmmaker. Music, rock climbing, gardening and living a zero waste life is what she does when she is not on the search for stories and meeting people.
Claudia told us that Bolivia is a country with highlands, mountains, glaciers, and rainforest, and it is supposed to be the only country that recognizes the earth as a human entity. Climate change is now affecting all of the ecosystems, rain seasons are getting worse, drought is causing poverty and migration and deforestation is out of control. Despite all of this, climate journalism is not in the main media agenda because they only focus on the economic impact of climate change, not on the effects of people, ecosystems and the world, and that is what we need to tell if we want a change.
“The stories I tell or show can finally make people see the effects that mankind has on our planet, and that is urgent to take actions, also, being an example on how easy is to change to save the world is the best thing I can do.”
Julie Bourdin, France
Freelance multimedia journalist, 24
Julie is a French-South African freelance journalist currently based in Paris – although for the past 2 years she hasn’t stayed more than 4 months in the same place! She graduated with a Master’s in journalism and international development in 2019 from Sciences Po, and since then she’s been focusing mainly on migration in Europe, working with NGOs in Greece and in Italy. Julie is passionate about video and photography, and is always interested in covering stories about human rights, gender, inequality and climate change.
Julie believes the climate crisis to be the most important and pervasive story of our century. She shared with us that climate change is widely recognized as a scientific fact in France, and the mainstream media are quite vocal about it. However, articles often mention environmental issues without linking them to the more general phenomenon of climate change. The coverage lacks the urgency and regularity that would be needed in order to create real awareness and make people realize these issues are not as far away as they feel.
“As a journalist, I believe it is my role to stand in between the scientists and the public – to make society realize the urgency and impacts of the climate crisis. I think of this role as an interpreter, or a messenger: translating the science into powerful, relatable and important stories that reach “normal” citizens but also the political sphere.”
Jody Garcia, Guatemala
Jody is a journalist based in Guatemala. She likes to tell stories about justice, go to court hearings, cover citizen demonstrations and travel to Guatemalan communities to report on how they are fighting to defend nature and their lands from large extractive companies that are affecting the environment and the social structure. Besides writing, she loves painting with acrylics and she’s currently learning how to illustrate her own articles!
Jody has 8 years of experience working for independent newspapers. She worked six years in Nómada, a digital news media outlet and two more years in Diario La Hora, an independent newspaper Guatemala City based. The work covers politics, justice, reproductive rights, human rights, gender issues, environmental justice, and migration. In 2016, she won a fellowship at the United Nations in the Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalism Program, at the organization’s headquarters in New York.
“I want to spread the stories of natural resources defenders that are being criminalized for big extractive companies that have a lot of power in the Guatemalan government. I want people in power to be held accountable for their actions against communities that defend the forest, rivers and mountains, where big mining and monoculture companies are affecting the people’s health and contaminating the environment.”
Seema Prasad, India
Seema is based in Bangalore, India. She’s covered health, civic issues, and lifestyle. She believes her curiosity and perseverance are her strongest assets as a journalist but isn’t afraid to admit that she has a weakness for Netflix and sugary treats.
Seema has a post-graduate diploma in journalism from the Times School of Journalism and believes the most important role of a climate journalist is to highlight the devastating impacts of climate change. As a reporter, she wants to bring awareness to the various facets of climate change: temperature rise, communities affected, emissions, rising sea levels, species on the brink of extinction, unexpected natural disasters like floods and cyclones, among other issues that deserve more media attention. She also wants to humanise the impacts of catastrophe and shine a spotlight on people whose lives are at stake.
“The number of journalists covering climate change as a beat and a science is low in the mainstream Indian media. Down to Earth, Mongabay and The Bastion are some organizations based in my country that are dedicated to covering the environment. Otherwise, the attention given to climate change is abysmal. There needs to be an awakening to change this lackadaisical attitude.”
Marta Silvia Viganò, Italy
Content creator and reporter, 24
Currently a Mundus Journalism student, Marta is Italian and European journalist, who eats hummus, writes stories about the environment and social issues and tries to go beyond anthropocentrism one article at the time. She was one of six finalists of the Megalizzi-Niedzielski prize for aspiring journalists.
As a media professional, she aims to be a gatekeeper that stresses the challenges climate crisis poses, how they are intertwined with social and political issues and what solutions are out there to implement. Marta shared with us that in Italy, climate change mainly manifests itself in rising temperatures and more extreme meteorological phenomena, impacting agriculture and soil stability, resulting in acidification of the oceans and coastal erosion. All these affect the ecological balance and impacts the lives of so many people, together with tourism and economy in general.
“Climate journalism is an essential piece of the puzzle to tackle the climate emergency, ensure the survival of human life the way we know it (I would say of the entire ecosystem but the truth is it’ll quite certainly heal itself, at its own pace, while most vulnerable people will be those paying the highest price) and to offer and seek for solutions.”
Kevin Lunzalu, Kenya
Freelance Environmental Journalist, 29
Kevin is a freelance environmental journalist, ecologist, and adventurer from Kenya. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management; a Post-graduate certificate in Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit; and certifications in circular economy, digital storytelling, and environmental reporting.
Since 2015, his work has mostly focused on digital storytelling, the creation of content on landscape and nature restoration, youth-led organic farming, and environmental policy. Kevin is also the co-founder of the Kenyan Youth Biodiversity Network, a youth-led organization that seeks to harness youth action to halt the current unprecedented loss of Kenya’s biodiversity and make an informed response to the climate crisis.
“Climate journalism is not widely practiced in Kenya. A very small percentage of media coverage is dedicated to showcasing climate change and the related risks to our communities. Climate change is now more pronounced in Kenya than ever before. Climate journalism is a powerful tool in helping people achieve their primary right to factual, credible, and reliable information. This, in turn, helps them make informed decisions regarding their life choices and how they respond to the current climate crisis.”
Vivian Chime, Nigeria
Vivian has experience in print and broadcast media, where she has covered beats on politics, health, gender, human rights and environment. She is passionate about journalism because of the power it wields in making for a better and functional society. She loves travelling, sightseeing, making friends and has interest in the game of golf.
Vivian is an alumni of the University of Nigeria where she studied Mass Communication. Since finishing university, she has been practising print and broadcast media (radio to be precise) for 3 years now. Her greatest experiences have been in investigative journalism, fact-checking, and most recently solutions journalism. She worked with Premium Times, Ripples Nigeria, Dubawa and New Telegraph.
Vivian also handled radio programmes for a local radio station, of which one was once on the environment titled – Environmental Focus – and it dealt with diverse issues affecting the environment.
“Climate journalism is not popular in Nigeria. The situation is such that though there are existing reports on the climate, the depth at which the stories are told is shallow and not very representative of the real issues. This leaves the population lacking information as to what to do in climate crisis situations, at times they do not even know that what they face, are as a result of certain climate factors.”
Liubov Glazunova, Russia
International Journalist, 26
Liubov lives in Moscow and holds a BS degree in Journalism. Since 2016, she has been reporting for Moskovskiy Komsomolets, NEWS.ru and Riddle. As a professional journalist, she’s happy to have had some great and diverse experiences, from harvesting tea leaves in Taiwanese mountains to a night journey through the backstreets of Berlin.
She’s had work assignments in some weird parts of Russia and many countries around the globe, including the US, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Finland and India. Liubov is dedicated to understanding and explaining her country to both her fellow Russians and the rest of the world and is a proud supporter of international cooperation and citizen diplomacy.
“By rejecting green policies and betting on increasing fossil fuels exploration and extraction, my country makes a significant contribution to global warming. In my stories, I highlight that such an approach is not only detrimental to the environment but also economically unfeasible in the longer term. Climate change has been one of the most acute problems of humanity. The role of climate journalists is to connect these natural disasters to our everyday activities, to explain how we affect the environment and what we can do to alleviate the situation.”
Nanticha Ocharoenchai, Thailand
Environmental writer, filmmaker and climate activist, 23
Nanticha, also known as Lynn, is using storytelling as a key tool to show the world that nature is good and people are good, through writing and filmmaking.
Bored with the usual charity messages many NGOs use to create environmental awareness and action, she is experimenting with new creative techniques to incorporate fun and adventure into conservation, carrying on from her climate activism. Based in Bangkok, she started Climate Strike Thailand and is WWF-Asia Pacific’s Communications Consultant. She also does stand-up comedy on demand.
She initiated the climate strikes in Thailand and works continuously to document and share stories which show our connection with the climate.Lynn believes climate journalism helps connect the dots between us and natural events which may seem irrelevant, detached and distant from us, showing us our impact on the environment and our society and vice versa.
“Despite being one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, there is still a huge lack of awareness about climate change in Thailand. Climate journalism in Thailand is still largely inadequate both in terms of quantity and quality. There is very little coverage of climate change in the news, and even in the discussion of weather and natural disasters, seldom is the connection made between these single events and climate change as a larger, long-term phenomenon.”
Ilana Cohen, United States of America
Climate Justice Activist & Freelance Journalist, 20
The youngest of the bunch, Ilana is a proud New Yorker and a junior at Harvard University, where she is an undergraduate fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics studying philosophy and social studies. As a college freshman, she helped relaunch and now helps lead the fossil fuel divestment campaign on Harvard’s campus. She recently worked as a staff reporter for Inside Climate News, focusing on New York regional and national issues of environmental justice, energy, and politics.
As a freelance journalist, Ilana has contributed to The Nation, The Guardian, The New York Daily News, WBUR, and Gotham Gazette, among other publications. When Ilana is not pursuing her passions for climate justice activism, politics, and journalism, she can be found capturing content for her cat’s Instagram, trying to determine once and for all who makes the best bagel in New York City, and expanding her collection of house plants—all of whom are named after her favorite feminist icons and characters in existentialist literature.
“I believe this is no form of journalism more important than that focused on climate change, the single greatest threat to human civilization as we know it, and an accelerant of every structural injustice and inequality on the local and global level. My vision is for a form of U.S. climate journalism that works from a fundamental understanding of how climate intersects with broader social, political, and economic systems at the national and international level, and that uses narrative storytelling to expose the ways that disparities in power and privilege drive the climate crisis forward (so that they can be addressed).”
Natasha Sakala, Zambia
Natasha is a fun-loving outgoing, camera-shy person who loves her work a lot. When she’s not working, she’s either being a tourist or cooking. A mother of two, Natasha loves to dance and wishes her body eventually cooperates with this passion.
Natasha has been working in media since 2012, starting off as an Anchor, moving on to being a producer, a camera operator, and now she’s a full fledged reporter with the News Diggers. Her role is to ensure information is unearthed and brought to the fore to ensure that the climate change agenda is promoted. Natasha believes Zambia’s journalism landscape tends to be hectic when you are seen not to be singing praises for the government as some critical media houses.
“Climate journalism is very important because it brings to light the effects and helps promote climate resilience through information sharing which is very vital.”
Quratulain Tejani, Pakistan
Journalist and Media Entrepreneur, 31
Quratulain Tejani is a journalist and storyteller from Karachi, Pakistan. She started as a blogger and social content creator but when she realized she could impact people with her writing, decided to jump into journalism. “What better than telling stories of everyday unsung heroes, of the plight of real people, and their triumphs,” she said to herself.
Quratulain is currently pursuing a graduate degree in journalism from New York University (concentration: Reporting the Nation/Reporting New York in multimedia). She has worked with young community journalists to uncover stories of resilience, peace, and co-existence from the communities of Karachi. She co-founded and was the Contributing Editor of The Big Picture Pk, a citizen journalism portal carrying hyper-local stories on people, culture, and society. She has written on gender, youth inclusion, environment, freedom of expression, and has covered the 2020 US Elections but aspires to be a full-time reporter on the environment and ecology beat. She has been published by several media outlets and is a contributor to Global Voices.
“More and more climate journalism is the need of the hour. There are many stories in the realm of the environment that are not being reported. We haven’t even been able to perfect the science reporting behind climate stories yet and there’s a gap in terms of the human interest stories on the beat. There are many ecopreneurs who’ve designed innovative solutions to combating and reversing climate change, but they don’t get the limelight very much. Climate journalism is needed to take the best practices and such solutions to a wider audience.”
We’re excited to work with each fellow and look forward to sharing their climate stories with you!