Journalists Learn to Work with Environmental Data to Reveal the Earth’s Stories

Aug 142013

The Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, holds the last patch of the city's original flooded forest. The reserve, which represents a unique habitat between the lagoon and the sea, is squeezed in amid reclaimed land and urban settlements. If you look at a satellite image of the area, you see that most of the green space has given way to the grey of buildings and asphalt.

I had the opportunity to visit Lekki on a rainy day in July with a group of environmental journalists I was training. They used mobile apps like My Tracks, EveryTrail or standard GPS devices to geotag photos of the area and record their path through the forest. These files later helped them see which areas they had visited and contextualize their stories with environmental information from maps or satellite images. See the track of our route from Central Lagos to the Lekki Conservation Centre..

The activity was part of the second training course of our “Flag it! Digital Tools for Environmental Reporting” project. In Lagos, eight journalists from Brazil, Germany, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal and Romania, spent a week learning new ways to tell environmental stories by using innovative software to analyze and visualize data.

The course was designed by the Environmental News Lab (Ecolab) in partnership with the European Youth Press, a nonprofit organization based in Brussels. I recently helped launch EcoLab as part of my ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellowship.

Read more of Faleiros’ 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