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A summary analysis of the Survey @ICIMOD: Profiling Media Reporting on Mountain Issues

Over the past decade, ICIMOD has actively engaged media in its programmes. Every year, we host a variety of events (e.g, workshops, conferences, seminars, press events) aiming to improve our exchanges with journalists and the strength of our messaging to the public. Media coverage on our work has grown over the years, and this has increased our visibility within and outside the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). ICIMOD has become a first port-of-call for journalists searching for evidence-based information on climate change and mountain development. 

We recently conducted an online survey to identify specific areas that interest reporters and journalists, and to learn how we can improve our engagement with the media. The survey was sent out in July 2016 and remained open through December 2016. We had a 5% response rate among the media representatives we contacted, generating 43 comments from which we gleaned the following conclusions.

HKH media is looking for evidence-based information about regional socio-environmental issues

Most respondents said they look to ICIMOD for data and information to insure their articles are accurate and current. Thus, they requested access to our peer-reviewed papers and studies from which they could take relevant information.

Related to information, respondents also cited the need for infographics and photos on environmental issues in the HKH to help tell their stories. In particular, they called for more illustrations on water issues, climate change, air pollution, and disaster vulnerability.

Respondents said they would like to receive updates and alerts on ICIMOD-related work.

Journalists and media persons would like more professional development opportunities

Respondents expressed appreciation for ICIMOD-sponsored opportunities such as story grants, fellowships, and training opportunities. And they requested that the number of these opportunities to be increased, particularly for journalists from remote areas who cover important events, but lack the training necessary to generate effective reportage. 

Respondents also requested financial support for regular TV, online, and radio programmes and discussion fora for effective dissemination of ICIMOD’s work. 

More planned media interactions and tools

Respondents called for more media workshops and briefings that bring together regional media (independent and affiliated) to discuss climate-related environmental issues and reporting. It was also suggested that ICIMOD could use this opportunity to work with media to discuss and explain complex issues within environmental fields. ICIMOD could use web-based communications (e.g., webinars via Skype) to work around the need for travel. It was expressed that these interactions could improve environmental reporting but also strengthen networks of journalists addressing mountain-related issues.

As radio is still a dominant form of information dissemination in rural areas throughout the HKH, respondents suggested the need to focus on medium.

Field visits to educate journalists on ICIMOD work first-hand

Respondents suggested that making field visits to ICIMOD work sites could be an excellent means for educating reporters, while also helping them develop relevant stories related to the work. ICIMOD could use the opportunity to insure that reporters have accurate information on the issues regarding climate change, resilience, and livelihoods. 

Timely updates

Journalists expressed a need for timely updates on ICIMOD work. They suggested an information hub for media where writers could access country-specific information to use in their stories. 

Thematic topics

A few respondents said aspiring journalists should be encouraged to cover cross-cutting issues that combine environmental and livelihood issues, topics such as gender equality and youth empowerment. 

Some selected quotations from the ICIMOD survey:

 

  • “ICIMOD is already a step ahead in terms of assisting journalists with required skills and other assistance particularly related to environment conservation”
  • “I appreciate ICIMOD handy support in my reporting career.”
  • “The delivery of some ICIMOD reports are very useful. I think it is already on the track.”
  • “ICIMOD has already diversified its information base by providing current developments in the spheres of its domain.”
  • “ICIMOD can be a perfect venue for my skills and advocacies, particularly in enhancing and improving my reportage in terms of resources and technical assistance.”
  • “I enjoy receiving all the notices you send out so I can track new publications and developments.”
  • “The resources materials will greatly help me in climate change communication.”
  • “I feel satisfaction on ICIMOD's role on knowledge sharing of environment issues in the region.”
  • “Overall, ICIMOD is doing a wonderful job!”

Cash prize awarded for “Best Comment”

Mr Md Rafiqul Islam, Senior Correspondent, United News of Bangladesh (UNB), Dhaka, Bangladesh, won a cash prize of $100 for the best comment! 

“ICIMOD can build an information hub where journalists will have access to use information. Apart from arrangement of training workshop, it can hold media briefing regularly inviting journalists from South Asian countries to disseminate the information ICIMOD generates through its extensive research. ICIMOD can make information available through its website. It has also the opportunity to send information that it generates to my email.”

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