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Firstly, I have to apologise (as I’ve had to do many times) for the huge gap in blog posts! Finishing my degree at Birmimgham City University left me feeling like I needed a bit of a break from just about everything work. The plan, however is to keep Environmental News Online alive and well and this is where we need your help…

We need writers!

With the previous group of ENO journalists moving on to complete their 3rd year of the Media and Communication degree (although hopefully some with still contribute), Azeem and I are left wondering how we are going to keep ENO up to scratch. So we want to offer you the opportunity to be an ENO writer.

So, are you a blogger, writer, journalism student or do you have something to say about environmental issues? Perfect. We want you to share your passion with us.

Whether you want to contribute text stories, photographs, audio or video content, Environmental News Online is the perfect place on the web to get your work published and have your eco-voices heard.

As a fairly new journalism venture we won’t be able to offer payment unfortunately. But what we can offer is a platform for you to build up your portfolio of published work and have your work seen by people all over the world.

Wherever you are on the Earth, we want you to tell the world about how environmental issues are impacting people where you are, or what you are doing to make changed to your environment.

Interested? Email me for more information.

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This week I’m working on three new stories for the website. Not much has come of them just yet but once I get a few more replies from contacts, I’m hoping they will work out!

I’m not twittering enough though. By now, I should have twittered the original idea, my research progress, every email that I’ve sent out for quotes etc. The journalists are twittering really well, so why can’t I get my head round it? I guess, I’m not sure about posting info about my work-in-progress just in case it doesn’t get finished? But there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. hmm I’ll work on it.

See my twitter page here

My work-in-progress

Right now then, I’m waiting for a few responses regarding an interview in the Guardian with James Lovelock, a scientist who believes that ‘climate change is unstoppable’ and that most eco-initiatives are ‘deluded fantasies’. I feel like I must have emailed every renewable energy company, carbon offsetting scheme, group of scientists and eco-organisation in the land for a reaction yesterday and have received just one reply. I’m not going to give up however, I’m getting straight on the phone after this!

I’m also working on a lead that was sent in to ENO by a reader. It’s about right-wing talk radio stations in the San Diego area of the US who don’t invite climate scientists for interviews on their shows. If this is true (I am trying to find out) then it would speak volumes about the way that the global warming debate is constructed on these shows. Anna Haynes PhD kindly alerted us to this blog commenter who sparked the concern.

I’m also looking to write an article about BTCV’s eco-dating event. The York branch of BTCV set up a speed dating event for environmentally friendly singles, which was the first of its kind. I want to find out how it went and whether there were any blossoming eco-romances!

Investigation?

But could I do something a bit more special? Paul Bradshaw alerted me to The Center for Campus Investigations, which has got me thinking about investigative journalism for the site. I’ve applied for facts through Freedom of Information but that doesn’t count as investigative, does it?

The Center for Campus Investigations say that you must be ‘systematic’ and ‘establish a step-by-step game plan’ and the phrase ‘investigative journalism’ conjures up thoughts of exposing crime or corruption. Can I really do that? Colin Meek says in a report for journalism.co.uk, that what you need for a successful investigation is commitment. I can do commitment. It’s something I’m going to think about.

ENO Podcasts

In the meantime though, I’m looking forward to hearing the journalists podcasts. I’m hopefully making one myself too. I’ve invited Chris Williams from Birmingham Friends of the Earth to come in for an interview on Monday and that should make it onto ENO before the end of next week.

The journalists have been split into four groups and each group assigned an eco debate:

  • Climate change – is it really happening?
  • Is it the supermarkets responsibility to make fairtrade food cheaper and more readily avaliable?
  • Should Governments be forcing large companies to be eco-friendly
  • Is ‘enviro-aware’ the new way to big sales? Companies jumping on the eco-bandwagon.

Alice, Natalie, Laura and Stephanie took their podcast out of the newsroom and went along to a Fairtrade Fortnight event in Birmingham City Centre (UK). They have got some really good interviews including the Chair of the Fairtrade Association, so keep checking back to ENO for the podcast.

Get involved

We’re always looking for new and original stories for ENO. Got a story idea or lead? Email me here.

It’s been nearly a week since ENO went officially live, and I think it’s going pretty well!

My involvement as Editor so far, has mainly been supporting the 14 journalists as they write their eco articles; many of whom knew very little about environmental issues before this experience. I have to admit, I wasn’t an expert either. The results have been good however. Our top stories this week are:

Yesterday’s task was to assign a specific story to every one of the journalists. So 14 new stories should be on their way very soon! I’m hoping to contribute to the site too.

This week the journalists have been split into groups and have been set the task of getting 4 guests to come and contribute to our environmental debate podcasts. On Monday, the guests will be interviewed about a number of environmental issues. The recordings will then be available to listen to on ENO, bringing a new audio element to the site. Personally, I’m excited, I think it should be a fun way of producing content for the website. I’ve invited a few people myself, so we’ll see who can make it.

Please check out the news site at www.environmentalnewsonline.com, and look out for those podcasts on Monday!

The site is now live.

See it here.

At the moment, you can read introductions to each of our correspondents, who are preparing to publish their first news article online. All this week, they have been blogging about their ideas and progress for an original news article about their chosen topic. There are some good ideas so far:

  • Emma is researching freeganism. 
  • Alice is looking at eco-friendly housing and alternatives to plastic bags.
  • Stephanie‘s potential article is ‘Agro products and produce, and what we can do to help.’

Check the website on Monday when all the articles should be finished and published.

Inspired

Did you see the Channel 4 Cutting Edge programme ‘My Street’ last night? It was a simple idea but which was made into a wonderful documentary about hidden lives and the lack of interaction between people who live on the same street. It inspired me to think about ways that we could encourage ‘community action’ as part of ENO. I signed up to be part of ‘Earth Hour’; a WWF event on March 29th when people around the world will turn off their lights at 8pm to raise climate change awareness.

I want to arrange an ‘Earth Hour’ for my little street in the West Midlands, as part of ENO or as a blog experiment. I would ask everyone who is interested to turn off not just their lights, but their TV’s and computers and arrange either a street activity or get them to organise their own activities. Then, I could document what they all chose to do for that one hour.

If it worked, I think it would provide a great opportunity for video, and also highlight the changes we can all make for the environment.

So let me know what you think. Good idea?

I’m currently working on the preparations for the launch of a new global environment news site which is being run by journalism students at BCU.

Second year degree students will be writing the stories for the news site as part of their Online Journalism module and I aim to guide them through the process as Editor along with Azeem Ahmad and lecturer Paul Bradshaw. The website will cover original environmental news from across the globe and will include our journalist blogs about the process of putting together the articles.

Progress?

So far, we’ve been using RSS readers, delicious and environmental blogs to locate potential story ideas and contacts. Some students seem to be utilising this technology more usefully than others and are using Twitter and personal blogs to document their progress.

A few of the students are making the most out of twitter to exchange ideas, leads and communicate their progress in learning about a subject, that before, they knew very little about. Some are not twittering at all. Read Paul Bradshaw’s blog about the twittering activity (or lack of) among the journalists.

Successful bloggers

The students that have been twittering are consequently the ones who have written excellent blog posts. Worth taking a look at, are:

At the next news conference, we’ll be discussing any potential articles that they may have come across and starting to think about ‘going live’. Keep checking back for links to the best student blogs of the week and for updates about Environmental News Online.