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Environmental Protection by the Numbers: Vietnamese Journalists Learn to Use Data to Tell Stories

From 26-28 October 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam, USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) partners PanNature and Internews’ Earth Journalism Network trained Vietnamese journalists and local NGOs on how to better source, analyze and incorporate environmental data to tell compelling stories. The workshop aimed to build journalists’ skills in using data to understand and describe environmental issues – particularly in stories about the costs and benefits of regional development projects such as dams, mines and power plants.

The participants worked together to create data-driven stories using provided environmental data (Photo:PanNature)

By Mekong Partnership for the Environment

Hanoi, Vietnam , December 6, 2016

The remarkable pace and scale of economic development in Vietnam is increasingly impacting the environment and communities, and a team of Vietnamese journalists is ready to document these changes with data-driven stories.

From 26-28 October 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam, USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) partners PanNature and Internews’ Earth Journalism Network trained Vietnamese journalists and local NGOs on how to better source, analyze and incorporate environmental data to tell compelling stories.

Thirty journalists and representatives of environmental NGOs participated in the “Data for Environmental Journalism – From Vietnam to Mekong Perspective.” The workshop aimed to build journalists’ skills in using data to understand and describe environmental issues – particularly in stories about the costs and benefits of regional development projects such as dams, mines and power plants.

The participants learned to develop data-driven story ideas, visualize data through infographics, and use easy to understand language and comparisons to ensure audiences can relate to the data. They also explored the connection between local Vietnamese environmental concerns and regional development and its impacts.

 

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Data for Environmental Journalism – From Vietnam to Mekong Perspective workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam (Photo: PanNature)

 

“The issues these journalists are reporting on are very complicated but extremely important,” said Do Hai Linh, who organized the event with PanNature. “To learn how to unpack the data and turn it into something compelling is a necessity for journalists covering environmental issues.”

The participants worked in groups to analyze datasets on development projects and their impacts, such as hydropower and forest data, and created draft data-driven stories, which organizers aim to have published in the coming weeks.

The workshop was also a networking platform for the local journalists and experts from across the region, who came to assist them with the stories, sources and information they need for environmental issues reporting.

The workshop is part of MPE’s Mekong Matters Journalism Network’s efforts to support environmental journalists from across the region in their reporting on development and environmental issues and it follows an MPE Data Journalism and advocacy workshop in Myanmar in June, led by Phandeeyar and Internews.

With support from MPE, PanNature is working on the local Vietnamese site of the OpenDevelopmentMekong family of open data portals bringing together hundreds of datasets related to development and the environment, to be launched in the coming months.

 

This is an outreach announcement from the USAIDfunded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), a key supporter of The Mekong Eye.

Lead Photo: The participants worked together to create data-driven stories using provided environmental data (Photo: PanNature)

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