Climate Journalism between Estonia and Germany
Elizaveta Fomina is a scholarship holder of the EUKI exchange programme with the International Journalists’ Programme (IJP). At the end of October, she took part in the kick-off conference in Berlin and also met with a number of EUKI projects. She currently works for Deutsche Welle in Bonn. Here she reports about her experiences.
“Hello, my name is Elizaveta Fomina and I am a journalist from Estonia. Right now I am located in Germany, participating in the IJP’s Climate & Energy Bursary with fellow journalists from Germany, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia as well as Slovenia. As part of the scholarship programme, I am going to spend the next few weeks as a guest journalist at Deutsche Welle Russian Service in Bonn, reporting about climate and energy issues. On October 27th all of this year’s fellows, as well as alumni from previous years, met in Berlin for the introduction conference, which gave a good start to our further researches in the climate and energy field.
I have worked at Estonia’s largest private media company, Postimees Grupp, for four years. In my work I have covered different issues, but writing on climate topics was always a challenge for me. Not because there was something very difficult or unclear. Quite the contrary – it is very clear: the climate is changing and we are the reason for this. But this certainly right thought was so often repeated, that it lost its strength and it was not so easy to find a new angle to make climate-topics interesting and fresh. It seemed sometimes that climate-reporting is more about raising people’s awareness than about fascinating stories and creativity. So, I was really looking forward to the IJP (International Journalists’ Programmes) Introduction Conference on Climate and Energy Policy, hoping it will give me some new keys to these topics.
During the four days of the conference, we had lectures and seminars, where climate and energy issues were presented from different perspectives – ecological, economical, psychological, philosophical etc. Special attention was given to the tools and approaches, which we as journalists can use while writing about climate and energy. The very first lecture of the conference about constructive journalism – despite some indefiniteness of this term – has shown that there is definitely a space for inspiring stories within the climate and energy field. As well as the meeting with the team of Clean Energy Wire (CLEW) the next day. Through them I can get some important contacts for interviews.
In order to inform us about actual ecological projects across the European Union the meeting with the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) was organised. We participated in a speed dating with EUKI project representatives, who shared their ideas on how to make the world a greener and better place.
One of my personal highlights of the conference was the lecture «Mindfulness as a Pathway to Greater Climate-Sensitivity» based on different disciplines – ecology, sociology, philosophy with some elements of psychological coaching by Thomas Bruhn, a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam. Although, many different fields were combined, the result was inspiring. It gave me an impulse to reflect more on choices I am making during my journalistic work.
But the most motivating part of the conference for me were the workshops, where all the partici-pants could discuss topics they are interested in. Creating cross-national projects with colleagues from different countries was a true brainstorm. I got many interesting new ideas which I will keep in mind for my future work. After the official meetings, we could continue our conversations in informal atmosphere during the dinner. I got to know awesome people from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and of course my neighbours from the Baltic states – Latvia and Lithuania. I enjoyed our communication a lot!
In sum it was intense four days I will remember for a long time. Although, I can’t say my horizons immediately enlarged, this conference for sure gave me a lot. The information I received and im-pressions I got still need to be reflected. Certainly, I will reflect upon it a lot. It was a pleasure to meet so many interesting, smart and highly motivated people. I hope we‘ll stay in touch!”