Over an 18-month period, fellows participate in journalism boot camps, conduct reporting trips, and contribute to an exhibition as part of the cultural initiative Nordic Bridges in December of 2022.
The Fellows recently travelled to Tromsø and Oslo, Norway to connect with Fellowship colleagues from across the Nordic region and Canada, talk about Arctic cooperation and learn from experienced climate journalists and researchers about the need for credible information and how to report fact-based about the climate crisis.
Opportunities to build skills
To get their own take on this important undertaking, we recently spoke to Canadian journalist and fellow Meral Jamal, Nordic journalist and fellow Sara Tingström and journalist and Fellowship Coordinator Lex Harvey, to learn more about the Fellowship program and its impact.
“This program is important because it tackles the most pressing global issue of our lifetime — climate change — while offering opportunities for emerging journalists to build skills, develop networks across borders, and report from a community in the Nordic region or Canada in a productive and sensitive way,” says Harvey.
This program has shown the importance of journalism — and particularly environmental journalism — that crosses borders.
Misinformation, malformation and disinformation
The Nordic Bridges cultural initiative is based on four cornerstones: artistic innovation, accessibility and inclusion, Indigenous perspectives, as well as resilience and sustainability – which are important matters both in Canada and in the Nordics. These focus points are also reflected in Fellowship activities and reporting projects.
“This fellowship has really strengthened some of my skills in journalism,” says Jamal. It has also helped me learn from other fellows who are part of this initiative. Through time spent together during our recent in-person bootcamp in Norway, I've learned more about cultural similarities and differences between Canada and the Nordic region, and the power of both learning and reporting collaboratively with each other.
Nordic journalist and fellow Tingström adds, “The meaning of words is also important. Without defining what we commonly mean by words such as green transition or sustainability or climate-crisis, the discourse becomes difficult, and insignificant. We learned about how we detect misinformation, malformation and disinformation.”
I've learned more about cultural similarities and differences between Canada and the Nordic region, and the power of both learning and reporting collaboratively with each other.
Long-lasting impact of the fellowship
About the lasting impact of the fellowship, Harvey shares that she is “confident that the skills and friendships built through this Nordic Bridges program will last far beyond the year. Each fellow has brought a unique perspective and skillset to the Fellowship that has enriched the experience for everyone. After this past week travelling Tromsø and Oslo together, I feel so connected to this group and know that we’ll all stay in close touch. This program has shown the importance of journalism — and particularly environmental journalism — that crosses borders.”
“As a young journalist currently working for a newspaper from the Canadian Arctic, I am hoping this fellowship and the experience of reporting from the Nordic region expands my understanding of environmental journalism, collaboration and reporting in community,” says Jamal.
“For me personally, the Fellowship provides valuable tools to equip us with the challenges and responsibilities of the journalistic role of monitoring and reporting on environmental and climate threats and their solutions, while having integrity and not becoming alarmist or activist and safeguarding the objective role of journalism”, says Tingström and continues,
“The hope is that with more and broader perspectives, a greater understanding and contacts in Canada and around the Nordic region, we can deliver more qualitative, inclusive and fair journalism that concerns more people.“
The Fellowship provides valuable tools to equip us with the challenges and responsibilities of the journalistic role of monitoring and reporting on environmental and climate threats and their solutions.
Issue-based reporting on Canada and the Nordic region
In preparation for the reporting trips that will take place over the summer, the boot camp in Norway equipped the Fellows with a deeper understanding of best practices when reporting in the field as well as how to decipher misinformation to ensure climate reporting remains fact-based. The following three cases are brief presentations of what will be reported about.
- Inuit-led climate stewardship in Greenland:Meral Jamal is working with two other fellows: Diellza Murtezaj, a university student from Denmark, and Silja av Reyni Wennerström, a high school student from the Faroe Islands. Together, they are working on a project that looks at Inuit-led climate stewardship in Greenland, and the challenges and successes involved in monitoring wildlife on the ground.
- Contrasting between Canadian and Icelandic forestry: The two fellows, Ólöf Rún Erlendsdóttir from Iceland and Fern Marmont from Canada, will be comparing and contrasting between Canadian and Icelandic forestry, looking at how one country is cutting down its old growth rainforest while the other is struggling to regrow forests.
- Sustainable fashion and textile industries: Another pair, Erica Ngao from Canada and Andrea Kunz Skrede from Norway, are traveling to Finland, Sweden and Denmark to speak with leading players in the sustainable fashion and textile industries to see if these countries are really leading the change that they say they are.
About the Nordic-Canadian Fellowship in Environmental Journalism
The Nordic-Canadian Fellowship in Environmental Journalism provides a learning and collaborative space for young aspiring journalists from the Nordics and Canada. The fellowship program has received joint support from the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture and Ministers for Co-operation, and is being led by Harbourfront Centre in Toronto as part of the cultural initiative Nordic Bridges.