My transformational fellowship experience with Climate Tracker

by Rachel Ganancial

Writing a climate story is something new to me. As a young journalist, most of my coverage revolved around agriculture, business, and other feature stories. I had no idea how to write a story about climate change with just El Niño and La Niña in mind. Even though I was clueless, I took the chance to apply and hoped to gain knowledge from this opportunity.

The process of the fellowship program made me see that it is a pressing concern and can be presented in a more engaging manner. It is not really overwhelming, in contrast to how I perceived it at first. I appreciate how this concern affects our daily lives, and there is no exemption when it comes to climate change.

The fellowship program made me see how crucial my role as a journalist is in making everyone understand that climate change should not be treated as just a fad, but an emergency we should all look at. It also made me realize that I don’t need to go away from my usual coverage to incorporate climate change.

To maximize the opportunity, I develop stories aside from my deliverables in the fellowship program that discuss ways to help mitigate the effects of climate change in simple ways. Understanding climate change conferences and scientific papers would be too overwhelming for readers, particularly in our community where meeting daily needs is a top priority. The program inspired me to develop stories that locals may reflect on in their daily lives, such as what they wear or the food they eat.

It also gave me the opportunity to meet other experts in our community, which helped me develop my story further. I saw the potential of my profession to influence my community and help raise awareness about the changes happening. The changes are not in our hands to be controlled or stopped, but it is in our knowledge to manage them and find ways to mitigate their effects.

I am fortunate to be part of this fellowship program. I feel more empowered and equipped with new knowledge after this program. Even if it was just a short span of time, it had a long-term impact on me. It inspired me to learn more and consider aligning my post-graduate focus on this matter.
I hope every journalist has this kind of opportunity to learn and engage in a program like this. It will not just improve us as effective storytellers but also serve our purpose in the community where we live.