The Environment Report, a non-profit Environmental Advocacy platform has organized a one-day media training workshop in Accra to strengthen the work of environmental reporters.
Attended by environmental reporters from selected media organisations in Accra, the participants were taken through topics such as story pitching, how to craft environmental stories, and climate communications among other important topics.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Environment Report, Mr Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda noted that, Ghana is facing critical challenges related to climate change, conservation, biodiversity, renewable energy, and sustainable development among many others and the role of the journalists is pivotal in creating the needed awareness.
“As an organization that is dedicated to securing the environment through media advocacy, we decided to organize this workshop to equip our reporters with the needed skills to enhance their work of shaping public opinion, influencing policy decisions, and fostering environmental consciousness”, he said.
According to him, environmental reporting is a very complex task and the reporter needs the right framework and guidance to put up an excellent piece.
He emphasised the role of the media as a crucial mouthpiece for environmental advocacy and expressed the organisation's commitment to enhancing journalists' reporting skills through training.
“We believe that this training will not only benefit the reporter’s career but also contribute to the greater good by increasing public awareness of environmental challenges and potential solutions”, he added.
Mr Yoda took the opportunity to appeal to the government to repeal the controversial Legislative Instrument (L.I. 2462) and introduced a new law that would protect Ghana’s forest reserves for the benefit of all, including the unborn generations.
He expressed concern that the current legislation could contribute to the proliferation of mining activities, posing a grave danger to Ghana's forested areas.
Taking the reporters through story pitching at the workshop, Mr Napo Ali Fuseini, a veteran environmental journalist and publisher of the Green Advocate said, editors are very busy and have a lot to deal with during news production and it is imperative that, reporters keep their story idea straight to the point.
“Keeping your story idea simple and straight to the point will always catch the attention of the editor rather than the complicated ones”, he added.
Mr Albert Oppong-Ansah, an experienced environmental correspondent with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), emphasised the necessity for journalists to exhibit passion for environmental issues.
He encouraged reporters to engage in extensive research, broaden their knowledge base, and stay well-informed about the subjects they cover to cover them informatively and effect positive change through their reporting.
During the workshop, Mr Samuel Ofori, the lead Marketing and Communication Officer of Stratcomm Africa, highlighted the importance of using simple and accessible language in environmental reporting.
He encouraged journalists to incorporate graphics and visuals to effectively convey environmental stories and reminded them of the responsibility to align personal practices with environmental conservation.
Grace Sogbey, a Communications Officer at A Rocha Ghana urged the participants to continue to verify their facts before going to the press.
At the end of the training workshop, a template was developed to guide reporters in pitching environmental stories as well as crafting good environmental stories.