Knight Center Research Director Bruno Takahashi recently spent a week in the Dominican Republic conducting three workshops with journalists, journalism students and communication professionals interested in reporting about climate change and communicating about sustainability.
The visit, titled “Media coverage of climate change: Best practices in the face of uncertainty” (La cobertura mediática del cambio climático: Mejores prácticas en un contexto de incertidumbre), was sponsored and organized by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo.
The Fundación Diario Libre (a private foundation associated to Diario Libre, the highest-circulation newspaper in the country) and the Pontificia Universidad Madre y Maestra (a national university) co-sponsored the workshops. They took place in Puerto Plata, Santiago de Caballeros and Santo Domingo.
- To improve understanding of basic scientific processes that explain current climatic changes
- To improve understanding of the global political structure governing climate change policymaking
- To define and explain the communication processes that explain the discourses referred to as climate change
- To establish the role of journalists and the media in the Dominican Republic in the communication processes described during the workshop
- To understand environmental journalism practices that can be applied to coverage of climate change in the Dominican Republic
Takahashi spoke at the Chamber of Commerce in Puerto Plata, a small coastal city in the northern part of the country. The city is expanding its tourism infrastructure to receive cruise ships, something perceived by journalists as a blessing in disguise since economic revenue could come hand in hand with additional pressure on sensitive ecosystems. Tourism is the country’s main economic sector, and the government and tourism industry are concerned about possible impacts on the industry of sea level rise and weather related-events.
The second workshop was at the Pontificia Universidad Madre y Maestra in Santiago, the second-largest city in the country. This day-long workshop was conducted with local journalists and journalism and communication students. The final two-day workshop was in the capital city, Santo Domingo with journalists, faculty members and students, and It included additional discussions about current research in the area of climate change communication.
Takahashi met with media representatives, government officials and NGO experts to discuss
potential collaborations. One meeting was with Omar Ramirez Tejada, executive vice president of the CNCCMDL (Dominican Republic’s National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism) and his staff. The meeting centered on the need for the country to conduct research related to public opinion about climate change there.
Takahashi also met with Eduardo Julia and Elpidio Tineo of the NGO Sur Futuro to discuss potential research collaborations related to climate change adaptation in the southern regions of the country.
The workshops were well received by participants and received considerable media attention. Below are links to some of the coverage:
Before the workshop