Earth Journalism Awards: Vote online for your favourite climate story!

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Journalism as if the planet mattered...

Who speaks for the Earth?

Thirty years ago, public astronomer Carl Sagan posed this question in his trail-blazing television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. And this is how he answered it:

“Our loyalties are to the species and to the planet. We speak for earth. Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves, but also to that cosmos ancient and vast from which we spring!”

While we all can – and must – speak for our home planet, journalists covering environmental issues do that everyday as part of their job. And now, the rest of the world can vote for the year’s best efforts in this line of work.

Fifteen winners of the inaugural Earth Journalism Awards were announced this week in Paris. The organisers — Internews, an international NGO that works to empower local media worldwide — have opened the online public voting to find the winner of a 16th prize.

The finalists were selected out of some 900 journalists, bloggers and young creatives from 148 countries who registered to send in their best climate change reports from 2009 in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next month.

earth-journalism_awards“The Earth Journalism Awards were established to boost climate change coverage in this critical year leading up to Copenhagen, and to highlight the efforts of journalists reporting on this challenging subject around the world,” says James Fahn, Internews’ Global Director of Environmental Program. “We were overwhelmed by the tremendous response we received, and would like to thank the hundreds of journalists who entered their stories for participating.”

Winning stories include: a compelling account from Pakistan of how a small coastal community is responding to the multiple challenges that climate change is already posing them; a multi-media investigation on the use and effects of fire in the Amazon; and a business report from East Africa on how Kenyan companies are missing out on the growing global carbon credits market.

They were chosen through a process involving a globe-spanning, independent jury that involved over 100 media and climate change experts. I was part of that process.

The 15 winning stories are available online, and the public now has the opportunity to vote on the Awards website, Twitter, and Facebook for the Global Public Prize – the one story or series that they think should have the attention of the negotiators in the closing days of the negotiations. Voting closes on 9 December 2009.

Watch video announcing the Earth Journalism Awards 2009:

Internews is inviting the winners of the Earth Journalism Awards to cover the negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, (COP15) December 7-18. There they will receive support from Internews to report on the negotiations to their media organizations back home. They will also attend a high profile awards ceremony, to be co-hosted by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, at the Danish Radio Hall on December 14, the eve of the final high-level negotiations. Each of the fifteen winners will receive one of the coveted regional or thematic awards as determined by the independent juries.

The Earth Journalism Awards is being implemented by Internews in association with partners that include the Government of Denmark, hosts of the negotiations; The World Bank; MTV International, the leading global broadcaster and youth brand; The Government of Italy, The V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation and the Edgerton Family Fund; Flip Video Spotlight; the Open Society Network, WWF International, The Global Canopy Programme and the Tcktcktck campaign, part of the GCCA, the international alliance of campaigning NGOs that includes Oxfam, WWF, and Greenpeace, Global Forum for Media Development and IMS.

Author: Nalaka Gunawardene

A science writer by training, I've worked as a journalist and communication specialist across Asia for 30+ years. During this time, I have variously been a news reporter, feature writer, radio presenter, TV quizmaster, documentary film producer, foreign correspondent and journalist trainer. I continue to juggle some of these roles, while also blogging and tweeting and column writing.

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