How to Use Data and the Crowd to Increase Environmental Coverage

Jun 252013

South America is home to the world’s largest rainforest, its greatest river, and some of its most challenging environmental problems, from pollution to deforestation.

Yet environmental issues are often overlooked by the region's media, says environmental journalist and news mapping expert Gustavo Faleiros, an ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow. "In South America, environmental coverage is always a second-class issue. It only gets covered when there are extraordinary facts," he says. "It receives fewer resources than more elite topics like finance and politics."

Faleiros and his partners at Brazilian environmental news website O Eco are working to change that. "We think it should be the other way around. Let's give the right resources to these environmental issues, and see if their status on the coverage agenda rises," he says.

With this in mind, O Eco has launched its Environmental News Lab (EcoLab) to create tools to improve environmental coverage in Brazil and throughout the region. EcoLab plans to launch a handbook on using data, information design, mapping and crowdsourcing to cover the environment; a citizen desk for reporting on the state of the Amazon Basin, a channel for people interested in using sensors for reporting; and more.

Read Dorroh’s full post on IJNet.

The International Journalists' Network, IJNet, keeps professional and citizen journalists up to date on the latest media innovations, online journalism resources, training opportunities and expert advice. ICFJ produces IJNet in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. IJNet is supported by donors including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Photo: Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus, capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, courtesy of Neil Palmer with a Creative Commons license.