JibJab Video: What We Call ‘The News’

If you are wondering what’s happened to the news, check out this hilarious song and dance video from JibJab.com.

It’s called What We Call The News. Featuring all favorite TV “news” talking heads from the US networks…

The ‘Children of Brundtland’, 20 years on

On 30 March 2007, I was part of a South Asian Workshop to pre-test a pilot e-module on Science Journalism. Held at the University of Hyderabad, India, it brought together a small group sharing a passion for science journalism and science communication. It was organised by SciDev.Net with support from UNESCO.

I used my remarks to pay tribute to an important and lasting influence on my own career as a development communicator: Our Common Future, report of the Brundtland Commission that came out exactly 20 years ago. The anniversary was marked by a few organisations like IIED, but I felt it deserved better observance.

Here’s an extract from my remarks:

Within a few months of my entering active journalism, something happened globally that left a deep impression on me -– and as I later found out, on many others like myself in different parts of the world. In March 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development –- chaired by the then Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland -– published its final report. Titled Our Common Future, it was the first of its kind to draw broad links between environmental, social and economic concerns and it made international policy recommendations accordingly. It prompted the UN to convene the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The Report didn’t invent the concept or term sustainable development, but it certainly helped popularise it. The Commission’s work helped the environmental movement to evolve from the tree-hugging, whale-saving, cuddly animal level to a higher and multi-faceted level of environmental management.

And it inspired a generation of young journalists, educators and activists worldwide. I count myself among them –- in that sense, we are all Children of Brundtland.

IIED London takes stock of 20 years after Brundtland Commission Report

Capturing Asia’s Wild…Life

To paraphrase Woody Allen, 90 per cent of success in life has to do with just showing up.

That’s one reason why I travel extensively in Asia and beyond. The other reasons are networking, meeting interesting people and being inspired by them.

Last month I was at two international film festivals. I’ve already posted several items from the DC Environmental Film Festival. On my way to Washington DC, I stopped over in Singapore to catch the first day of the inaugural Wildlife Asia film festival, held from March 13 to 17.

The festival organisers asked me to speak on a panel on the indie (independent film-making) scene in Asia. I used that opportunity to take stock of TVE Asia Pacific productions, which rely largely on freelance TV and film professionals across Asia. We have a policy of engaging locally-based, native talent wherever we film.

But we are not into wildlife. So I had to clarify where we fit in:

For a moment, I was wondering whether I’m at the wrong film festival -– because we don’t cover any wildlife!

But what we do cover, with great interest and passion, is wild…life –- we chronicle life itself going ‘wild’ in different parts of Asia Pacific. Disasters, conflicts, pandemics, migration and desertification -– these are a few among many topics, themes and subjects in the television and video films that TVE Asia Pacific produces and distributes.

I continued:

Everywhere in the media we hear of Asia rising –- economies, cultures and people are all on the move. Indeed, things are happening at a mind-boggling pace. But not everyone is part of this frenzy. Many people -– and societies -– are being left behind. We are interested in both those who run ahead as well as those who get left behind….and we try to find out why.

That’s the small challenge we have set for ourselves. ‘We’ are Television for Education Asia Pacific -– trading as TVE Asia Pacific –- a small media foundation trying to tell this big story of our times. We are driven by a strong belief that what is happening in the world’s largest and most populous region has far-reaching impacts not just on our region, but on the entire planet.

Read the full text of my panel remarks on TVEAP website.