The Bulbul, a multimedia platform that will focus on climate change reporting in the Himalayan region kicked off with an inception meeting on June 11. Conceptualised by TERI, with the support of Internews' Earth Journalism Network, this initiative will provide fellowship to fourteen journalists and scholars from the Himalayan region in India and Nepal to undertake a six month online training in climate change communication. TERI aims to support a Pan Himalayan Network of journalists who focus on solutions-centred stories, which benefit marginalised communities, helping them better understand new practices, policies and technologies to address climate change.
"Climate change today presents existential problems for us. Our economy, health, biodiversity, and the availability of natural resources are intertwined with climate impacts. I look forward to all our fellows, under this media programme, to produce the kind of solution-based stories that are crucial for the Himalayan communities to become climate-resilient, resource-efficient, and self-independent," Dr Mathur, said during his keynote address to the first batch of Media Fellows.
The first batch of media fellows range from Kashmir, Ladakh, to further south from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and from North East India's Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. There are also fellows from West Bengal and New Delhi and three fellows from Kathmandu in Nepal.
Other guests present during the meeting were Dr Annapurna Vancheswaran, Senior Director, Communication, Outreach and Advocacy Unit, TERI; Ramesh Bhushal, Earth Journalism Network, Internews; and Sheila Tefft, Senior Lecturer, Emory University.
Speaking about the vision of Internews, Ramesh Bhushal, the South Asia Content Coordinator of Earth Journalism Network said, "Our goal is to enhance environmental journalism, both in quality and quantity, by providing fellowships and story grants. With our global network of journalists, we work with a motive of telling the complex story of climate change impacts in a manner that encourages action. We look forward to working with TERI on this media fellowship to build new narratives on climate change." He added that Internews, over two decades, has built a community of over 10,000 journalists from 120 countries.
Sheila Teft, who will be steering the communication lessons of the course, said, "Asia is really at the forefront of climate impacts and young people are very much in the centre of that. India's large demographic of young voices will lead climate initiatives in the future. We should focus on young journalists and local communities to bring out stories of change."
The Bulbul includes an exclusive Learning Management System designed by Nomad, a group of Open Source Technology enthusiasts. In addition to live virtual classrooms, this includes video and sound editing suites for collaborative media production. The Bulbul will also pilot an internet radio dedicated to people, culture and environmental issues in the Himalayan region.