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New book guides journalists through climate change jungle

Climate-Change-book-coverDAVID ROBIE | Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch

Science Writing and Climate Change, Edited by Crispin C Maslog, David Robie and Joel Adriano, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, June 2019, ISBN 978-1-927184-57-8. Paperback, 130pp, NZ$20.00. Purchase online here from Auckland University of Technology Bookshop

BANGKOK - A new handbook for the existential problem of our time – climate change – has been published as a boost for journalists working in the Asia-Pacific region.

Launched at the 27th Asian Media Information and Communication (AMIC) conference at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, this week, ‘Science Writing and Climate Change’ is a “book for our times”, says lead author Professor Crispin Maslog.

Dr Maslog, chair of the Manila-based AMIC, said at the launch that a book of this kind had been needed by journalists for a few years.

“Climate change is upon us and we need to educate people about this urgent problem now,” he said.

“What former US Vice-President Al Gore described as an ‘inconvenient truth’ years ago is now an ‘incontrovertible fact’.”

Many of the chapters have been adapted from Dr Maslog’s regular science and development columns in the global SciDev.net website.

In his introductory preface, Climate Change 101, Dr Maslog writes: “Halfway into this year, 2019, some 1,009 tornadoes have ripped through the United States with unusual violence – about double the average number in previous years.

“In the Philippines and Southeast Asia, the typhoons have become more frequent, violent and destructive.”

Part one of the book explains the role of science in development and the science education of the population in the Asia-Pacific region. It includes news writing tips for science reporters.

Part two offers sample writing from effective science stories.

According to Dr Maslog, the book will be “useful for science writing teachers in schools and trainers in non-formal science journalism training programmes”.

The book is a co-publication with SciDev.net and Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific Media Centre support.

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Martin Hadlow

Another handy resource in the same genre is UNESCO's newly published 'Getting the Message Across. Reporting on Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific: A Handbook for Journalists'.

Most recently, the handbook was used at a regional training workshop for media personnel in Kathmandu, Nepal.

As one of the two workshop trainers, it was my pleasure to welcome a participant from Fiji to the training event. We hope to hold more courses in the Pacific in the future.

The handbook is downloadable, free-of-charge, at: https://en.unesco.org/getting-the-message-across

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