ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISTS CAN USE THEIR UNIQUE KNOWLEDGE TO EMPOWER MASSES – University Don

National President, Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria(ACSPN), Prof. Lai Oso has said environmental journalists and programme makers can use their work to empower the popular classes to intervene in protecting the environment which is a common heritage Prof. Oso who spoke at a World Climate Simulation and C-roads Training for Media Practitioners and Environmental Journalists in Warri, Delta state said, "the type of journalism we are advocating puts a lot of emphasis on social processes and not just on events as they occur. For instance, if flooding occurs, we must not just report as a single event but as outcome based on certain causes - corruption, poor policy implementation, low popular participation, etc. "We must be able to connect the event to its root in accordance with MacDougall's prescription for interpretative journalism in the quotation earlier cited. For instance, how does overpopulation of our cities result from government policies on land use, housing and agriculture? Rural-urban migration is as a  result of policies which drain the rural areas of their productive socio-economic potential. "The type of journalism or broadcasting we are proposing calls for multi-sourcing, particularly going out to source the views and perspectives of the so-call man on the street, farmers, women, and those on the receiving end of environmental abuse. by seeking and representing their views we accord them not just recognition as stakeholders but give them some power to define their views we accord them not just recognition as stakeholders but give them some power to define the issues according to their own interest and concerns and may be invariably influence public agenda and policies. According to Prof Oso, interpretative journalism demands of journalist a deep understanding and knowledge of the issue being reported. "It requires deeper treatment beyond just a few paragraphs on a news page. We need features articles, depth news and pieces, though not opinion articles which belong to the editorial writer and columnists. This means the journalist himself or herself must be well educated. He must know nitty-gritty of relevant issues. His writing styles must be able to show the relevance of the issues to the daily life experiences of the various audiences. He said the poor coverage of climate change and environmental issues generally is due to a number of factors - the event-orientation of the news production process, news values with its emphasis on negative, odd and sectional news if it leads to the general economic interest of the media industry. The Lead facilitator, Dr. Vincent Ojeh, who conducted the world climate simulation and c-road training spoke on the various challenges facing Nigeria and world leaders in negotiating for a better environment for the next generation  
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