• Course Code:  JN27.1e

  • Term:  Self paced

  • Open for Enrollment

  • Self-paced

  • Course Author(s)
    Catherine Mackie
Environmental reporting final course2

Environmental journalism|Why local matters: Storytelling

Self paced


  • Circles
    Thomson Foundation
  • Default user
    Catherine Mackie


Take this course on Desktop or Mobile. For the best mobile experience, download the EdCast app for free on iOS and Android and use team name: thomsonfoundation.edcast.com.​

Email us at journalismnow@thomsonfoundation.org if you experience any technical difficulties.


This course was created in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Carbon Brief, Clean Energy Wire and Periodistas por el Planeta

Self Paced

Course overview

This course is designed to help journalists cover environmental stories and address the impact of climate change in a way that engages their audience.  It will explain how environmental factors influence so many news stories which, at first glance, appear unrelated. Exposing the links can bring context, explanations and surprises to the audience as to why certain things are happening where they live.  The course will explore storytelling techniques to keep these stories relevant and engaging.  You’ll be helped to understand how issues at a local level are connected to the global picture on the state of the environment and climate change, whether it’s children being unable to get to school or homes being flooded.  Environmental destruction and climate change can foster a feeling of helplessness in an audience. The course will explore the importance of solutions-based journalism to better inform and engage.  It’s a critical time for local reporters trying to explain environmental issues to their audiences. This course aims to give you the tools to do that job.



    • You will learn how the environment and climate change is part of every beat in the newsroom
    • You will be shown how to understand your audience’s habits; the platforms they use and when
    • You will explore storytelling techniques to engage your local audience
    • You will learn to see the bigger picture and how national and international environmental stories like summits impact at a local level
    • You will look at solutions-based journalism and the important role it plays in explaining changes in the environment and climate change


Catherine Mackie, your course instructor,  is an Editorial Associate at the Thomson Foundation. She’s a former BBC senior journalist with almost 30 years experience in front of and behind the camera. She’s an examiner for the UK’s National Council for the Training of Journalists and a former Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. 

Joining Catherine is a team of experts.

Top row: L to R

PATRICK GREENFIELD  is a reporter with the UK-based Guardian media. He writes about biodiversity loss, the climate crisis and possible solutions. Before working at the Guardian, he was a producer with CNN. 


LEO HICKMAN is the director and editor of Carbon Brief a UK-based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy. They specialise in data-driven articles and graphics to help improve understanding of climate change.  In 2020, he was named Editor of the Year by the Association of British Science Writers.


LAURA ROCHA is the president of Periodistas por el Planeta (Journalists for the Planet), an organisation of environmental journalists across Latin America who try to bring environmental and climate change stories to the attention of politicians and economists. 


Bottom row: L to R


PA LOUIS THOMASI is the Director of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Africa office. 


SVEN EGENTER is the Editor in Chief and Executive Director of Clean Energy Wire (CLEW). As well as writing about the energy transition in Germany and beyond, CLEW also trains journalists to help them understand and report on environmental and climate change solutions. 




    • Section 1: Gives an overview of the course and introduces the media experts who will be your guides
    • Section 2: Explains the importance of deconstructing stories to find the environmental link and whether they are as a result of climate change.
    • Section 3: Helps you to identify your audience and explores why it’s important to know where, when and how they consume news.  
    • Section 4: Looks at storytelling techniques for environmental and climate change stories to engage the audience at a local level
    • Section 5: Helps you see the bigger picture; linking your local story to the national and international narratives around the environment and climate change. 
    • Section 6: Looks at the importance of offering solutions-based journalism as part of the overall storytelling narrative


You can complete this course in 3 hours across multiple sections


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Environmental journalism|Why local matters: Storytelling


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