Climate Change

Introduction to Climate Change Page

This beat was given to us by Algoa FM and South Eastern African Climate Consortium (SEACC). Algoa fm is a commercial radio station driven to some extent by making money. SEACC is an organisation seeking sustainable solutions for environmental issues. The brief required us to pursue stories on climate change and sustainability since the International Climate Change Conference COP 17 approaches and will be hosted in South Africa in 2011. They were to be current affairs packages limited to between four and six minutes.

Climate change is a reality in the world we live in and in my personal philosophy I articulated that I would do stories other than “good new” pieces if it was irresponsible not to do so. Anabela Carvalho (2007: 223) says that, “The media have a crucial responsibility as a source of information and opinions about science and technology for citizens.” Having tackled two stories on climate change and sustainability, I think that I am now fully aware of the importance of such stories. I did not always think that this topic was an important one and seemed far too scientific for people to understand let alone for me to explain it as a journalist in layman’s terms. Having covered this beat on climate change, I took on this task with not much clarity and no actual “worldview” on global warming and sustainability. I think that with my experience, I have found that my personal journalistic philosophy did not previously provided me with guidelines on how to approach every topic or beat I would have to tackle as a journalist, climate change being the prime example. Overall, my philosophy was not particularly considered when I pitched the story on carbon foot print and speekboom trees. I think that it is easy to get side tracked from ones objectives when faced with a seemingly big task that is new to you as a journalist. This was to be an informative type of feature so it was important to get the voice of an expert, the limitation here was that because this was going to a commercial radio station, I had to make sure even from the pitch, the story would interesting and appealing to the Algoa FMs audience. This limited me greatly because of the fact that I would first have to learn and understand the different concepts around climate change and then embark on finding experts who would be able to explain in the most simple terms without being boring. Looked at in a different way, this afforded me the opportunity to grow as a journalist and tackle beats that I am not familiar with in the most creative way that the package allows.

Where I was a little more successful in integrating my journalistic approach was with the techniques I used to research my story. With both my stories I tried to get the expert who would explain difficult concepts but I looked for ordinary people with whom the Algoa FM audience would be able to identify with, here I believe I tried to have both the opinion of the expert and the ordinary person, but with such stories it is rather difficult because not that many ordinary people have an opinion about such subject. Over all, you will find that with these features I tried to stick to the mandate given to us by Algoa FM and SEACC as they have their commercial obligations to fulfil and so this was my obligation as well. Again, it has stretched me as a journalist.

Starting a Garden

Climate change, global warming and sustainability are the latest buzz words in this green age. Many things can be done to combat carbon footprint and gardening is one of them. The idea of starting your own vegetable garden in your back yard may seem daunting for those who do not have “green fingers.” Our reporter Refilwe Mpshe decided to find out how to start a garden.

Waterless Toilets

It is estimated that an individual uses about 20 000 litres of water for flushing each year. Whenever you flush the toilet, the waste is sent to the municipal water works where the water is treated. Cleaning the water is not always an easy task and sewage leakages in many parts of the country become a problem. Refilwe Mpshe found out about the alternative.