From college to climate reporting: My Climate Tracker experience

by Ann Gabrielle Domingo

I was asked to join the fellowship late while I was completing my final requirements for college, so I only got to complete one article for Climate Tracker. Nonetheless, writing and sending that article for publishing already taught me so much about creating content.

When thinking of the topic for this article, I had the idea that I wanted to make something that reflected the voice of the youth today in transitioning towards a greener future. I chose to do something related to green mobility or transport since I’ve been seeing plenty of discussions from my peers on Twitter about these issues. These discussions centered on the possibility of a future in the Philippines wherein urban development isn’t centered on private vehicles. Tangent to these discussions was cycling: it’s cost-efficient, emits almost no GHGs, and is even good for everyone’s health since it’s also a form of exercise. With that, I focused my pitch on the youth adopting cycling as a form of green mobility.

After this pitch was green-lighted by my editor Gaea Cabico, I set out to talk to different cycling advocates about their own experiences regarding cycling in the Philippines. In the case of Belda, it was interesting to me how it was the community that influenced her to pick up cycling and that she was an active transport advocate first before she picked up that activity. I was also heartened by Batalla’s courage in protesting against the removal of bike lanes. Mayuga also inspired me with her tenacity in sticking to cycling as a form of transportation in Metro Manila.

A lot of their insights also articulated my own frustrations with the transport options in the Philippines. I only started commuting to work for two weeks, and I already feel as if I’m being pushed to take up a car instead. None of the commuting infrastructures seem like they were invested in by their private companies. My sources inspired me to consider cycling as an option since it saves up both time and money.

By the time I had finished writing, I realized I had come up with a solutions journalism story, which is defined as “rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.” Though the job of a journalist is to inform first and foremost, they can also inspire without sugarcoating the facts when presenting a solutions journalism piece. For this story, I was able to investigate a longstanding issue while also presenting an antidote.

The most frustrating part about creating this article was getting it published, however. There are many non-writing factors to consider when putting one’s article or content out for public consumption. For both freelance journalists and content creators, it’s important to consider these when planning to pursue a pitch or idea.