The 5 W’s and the H of Roving Reporters
Roving Reporters is a journalism training agency focused on environmental, social and justice issues.
Journalists are trained to answer six key questions: Who, What, Where, When Why, and How. Here is an outline of why Roving Reporters exists.
Roving Reporters was founded by veteran, award-winning journalist Fred Kockott in 2010 to give aspiring journalists an opportunity to do fieldwork on commissioned assignments and investigations under expert guidance. Over the past nine years, the concept has evolved into a training model focused on environmental issues, particularly our threatened marine resources and biodiversity loss on land. Our training programme is managed by the former news editor of the Daily News, Matthew Hatthingh, in consultation with commissioning editors from various media outlets, other seasoned media professionals and experts in conservation.
Journalism has been eroded in South Africa. Newsrooms have been decimated. Press standards have declined dramatically. Local knowledge has been lost and few, if any, seasoned environmental reporters remain in full-time employment in South Africa’s media houses, with junior staff doing duty in their place. The reading public are increasingly losing faith in the news dished out online and in print. Roving Reporters counters this by producing quality articles for local and international publication, while guiding emerging writers in producing these stories.
Our mission is to create a sustainable and well-resourced platform for aspiring journalists, scientists and seasoned writers to tackle important environmental stories and ultimately help hold government, corporates, and NGOS accountable in making the planet a better place for nature and people.
Our current focus is primarily on the environment of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa. The state of the environment is, however, a global issue with few real boundaries when it comes to the health of oceans, survival of wildlife, impacts of climate change, fossil fuel extraction, biodiversity loss and pollution of rivers.
Our Developing Environmental Watchdogs training programme was conceived in 2017. We now plan to grow, putting ourselves on a stronger footing, assisted by an advisory panel of media professionals and environmental experts who support our vision: to develop an effective blueprint for environmental journalism training in Southern Africa. This includes establishing a pool of experienced mentors to guide the research, writing and production of important, well written environmental stories.
In a democracy, decision makers should seek the greatest public good. In South Africa their choices often focus on the need for transformation, growth, job-creation and a better environment. But these aims are often in conflict and decisions are often based on distorted or false perceptions. Sunlight, as they say, is the best disinfectant and Roving Reporters plays a role in illuminating the facts and giving a voice to people most affected by these decisions. This is especially important when government and NGO leaders are reluctant or constrained from speaking openly about pressing problems. In addition to you, our readers and social media followers, our target audience is government and NGO decision makers, alongside directors of major corporates and editors of leading media outlets.