Engaging future media practitioners for better environmental reporting
Through a combination of classroom lectures, group discussions, presentations and writing exercises, the participants learnt about the importance of environmental reporting and what it takes to write a good piece. The workshop was attended by 24 participants, made up of Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s final year students in Bachelor of Communications and WWF-Malaysia communications officers.
The workshop was conducted by Madam Malia Taibi, Head of Communications Department at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Faculty of Language and Communications Studies, and assisted by Zora Chan, Communications Manager for the Sarawak Conservation Programme at WWF-Malaysia.
According to Dr John Tay, WWF-Malaysia Head of Conservation Sabah, engaging with this new generation of writers and communicators is essential to gain a fresh perspective on effective methods for raising awareness about environmental issues in Sabah. In inspiring the participants to identify potential issues and topics to work on, WWF-Malaysia highlighted Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) as an example, citing the many pros and cons of the project which included environmental concerns.
As part of the workshop, participants were taken on a field trip to Tanjung Aru beach to assess the area themselves after being briefed on the background of the TAED project. Applying what they learnt during the workshop, they conducted interviews with visitors and hawkers with the view of gauging the response to TAED. Each participant then drafted articles touching on various angles of what they have observed.
Prizes were awarded for the best article written during the workshop. The winning article focussed on the impact to the livelihoods of hawkers as a result of TAED.
Most of the participants felt that very little information on TAED is readily available on the project. For many of them, it was the first time they had heard of it. “I believe that out of 100 people in Sabah, probably only ten people really know about TAED”, said one participant, in relating her own experience of learning about the project.
Another participant, who was not from Sabah, shared that she thought the beach looked dirty and disappointing, unlike the reviews that she read online about Tanjung Aru. “Is the beach abandoned deliberately so that the TAED project looks and sounds like a good solution?” she mused.
One participant even suggested that a banner should have been placed at the beach to announce that such a project was in the works for public knowledge.
WWF-Malaysia hopes to host more environmental writing workshops in the future to groom the next generation of environmental journalists.
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For more information, please contact:
Communications Officer, Sabah Office, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +6088 262420 ext 125