DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – Around 30 local journalists and student journalists from Silliman University (SU)completed the one-day training-seminar on biodiversity reporting held Feb. 29 at SU’s American Studies Resource Center.
The event was organized by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), U.S. Embassy, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), Philippine Eagle Foundation, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and SU.
The training-seminar aims to increase media interest in environmental reporting, specifically on biological diversity.
It also aims to provide journalists with relevant information, key messages, and inputs related to biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region.
Biodiversity 101 coordinator and YSEALI grantee Karen Lapitan pointed out that there is a gap in the knowledge in biodiversity and most journalists write environmental stories only when calamities occur and most of the time do not pursue in-depth reporting on the environment.
Lapitan disclosed she used to write for a national broadsheet before and shared that her knowledge on environmental journalism was limited only to climate change and disasters.
“The main goal is to connect you journalists with communication officers, scientists, and biodiversity experts and to brainstorm possible stories that you can write about after this workshop,” she added.
The seminar featured lectures from National Scientist Dr. Angel Alcala who discussed the nature of biodiversity studies; Celia Acedo, Project Coordinator of SU-Research and Environmental News Service (SU Renews) who talked about environmental journalism; Dr. Hilconida Calumpong, a member of the United Nationas Group of Experts – First World Ocenas Report who shared updates on biodiversity and the first world oceans report; and Christian Elloran, database specialist of ACB who delivered a lecture on ASEAN-Clearing House Mechanism.
In his talk, Dr. Alcala said that bio-diversity is an attractive area for scientific studies and reporting since “Philippines is an archipelago in tropics with complex geological history resulting in rich biodiversity.”
Acedo, on the other hand, also emphasized that “environmental reporting cuts across many of the traditional media specialties or beats such as politics, science, agriculture, business and economics.”
She noted that despite the serious threats like global warming and loss of biodiversity, the environment is not covered by the press regularly.
With this, Acedo challenged local journalists to develop their interest in writing about the environment and biodiversity.
The event was the second training-seminar conducted by ACB for local journalists.
The first one was held on December 4, 2015 in Manila and the second will be on April 23, 2016 in Davao City. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published on Mar. 1, 2016)