International reporting tips from the Society of Environmental Journalists conference

Editor’s note: This is the 3rdt in a series of posts by environmental reporting students on things they learned at the recent Society of Environmental Journalists conference.

By Audrey Porter

At the international reporting meet-up at the recent virtual Society of Environmental Journalists conference, the speakers gave introductions about themselves, including job titles and locations where they work.

Audrey Porter

But, surprisingly, they wanted to hear a lot about me as I wanted to learn more about them. I spoke and got a little advice about international reporting.

One was speaking world languages when traveling. A speaker mentioned that there are  a lot of ethics questions that you have to consider when you’re going between languages, when you’re jumping around places.

I responded by mentioning I took an anthropology class that talked about international traveling and how, in many countries, some things we say and do in America are not okay everywhere. So, if you’re doing international news, study the place you’re going and learn their language.

Another speaker added that getting good connections to people who  can help you with translators and other things  is the best first value in figuring out how to learn the language as a journalist.

Another speaker added that many Indian journalists also need translators when reporting in India because there are so many languages.

The speakers talked about mentorship to SEJ members where  they bring in help pertaining to international reporting, and about grants like ones from the Pulitzer Center Earth Journalism Network, which are good for international reporting.

Overall good connections, language learning and grants are essential, not just for international reporting but all journalists.

Audrey Porter is a student in the Knight Center’s Environmental Reporting class.


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