Building Awareness of Conservation in the Caucasus

Sponsored by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, this program was designed to boost the capacity and motivation of journalists in the Caucasus region to report on conservation of biological diversity. The program was tailored to address the key issues facing each country, such as better management of protected areas, increasing the number and size of protected areas, controls on damaging activities, and other conservation issues of public interest. Journalists from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, the republic of Dagestan and other southern Russian republics will be trained to cover biodiversity effectively, accurately and interestingly while engaging local conservationists to effectively voice their messages to the media, government and public.

Elements of the program included:

ICFJ initially conducted two, four-day training workshops. The first was held in Kazbegi, Georgia and will include eight journalists from Georgia, eight from Armenia and four from Russian republics. Participants discussed and analyzed past coverage, heard from experienced journalists on how to do in-depth reports on conservation issues and attended at least one field trip which allowed for hands-on practice reporting. A similar second workshop was held near Shagdag National Park in Azerbaijan for journalists from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and southern Russia.

Mentoring and Newsroom Visits
One international environmental journalist and one experienced journalist from the region together offered one-on-one coaching to reporters and editors in Azerbaijan and Georgia right after the workshops and again about one year later.

Journalism Awards In 2007 and 2008 ICFJ conducted contests for reporting on conservation of biodiversity for journalists from countries in the region in effort to bolster enthusiasm and initiative to cover these issues. First prize was in the amount of $1,000; second prize was $500 and third prize was $200.

Jesus Manuel Angulo began writing a blog about global-warming and other environmental issues after attending the Sustainable DeveloWorkshop in March 2007.