Khetha Journalism Training Project

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New narratives needed on wildlife trafficking

LESSER SPOTTED: The most elusive of Africa’s big five, leopards will benefit from the new wild life corridor, called the Greater Ukuwela Nature Reserve. The corridor recently declared a protected area and in the future fences with neighbouring reserves will be brought down to restore the natural connection between the mountains and the ocean in northeastern South Africa. Picture:: Callum Evans

LESSER SPOTTED: African leopards, one of Africa’s most iconic animals but also one of its most vulnerable,  has become a conservation issue of increasing importance. The species is threatened by illegal killing for their skins and other body parts used for ceremonial regalia, conflict with local people, rampant bushmeat poaching, and poorly managed trophy hunting. Picture: Callum Evans

Depth reporting on wildlife trafficking and its wider context

Roving Reporters is helping spearhead an innovative journalism project in the Greater Kruger National Park. It aims for more inclusive conversations about wildlife trafficking.

COURSE OVERVIEW

Major national parks in southern Africa remain under pressure from wildlife trafficking, most notably in rhino horn, yet all too often invaluable role-players that could help address the situation are side-lined in the public conversation alongside others living in communities adjacent to protected areas. This training project, provided by WWF-SA’s Khetha programme, seeks to foster positive change by equipping journalists and other communications practitioners with enhanced skills for reporting in depth on the human complexities of illegal wildlife trade in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, in particular the Greater Kruger area. A special interest is supporting journalists to explore community-related aspects of human-wildlife interaction that go unnoticed by mainstream media but shed new light on the region’s challenges and its potential for charting a sustainable way forward.

What the course involves: We guide journalists through the development of story projects (group or individual) from conception to public sharing and/or publication. Our training focuses on the nuts and bolts of two kinds of journalism well suited to human-interest depth reporting: feature writing and radio documentary.

The structure of the course: The course has two phases. In phase 1, journalists participate in online training (as well as a workshop in Skukuza), during which they lay the groundwork for their story projects. In phase 2, they do field research and work in consultation with mentors to take these projects to completion. Story projects (group or individual) are displayed on our course’s portfolio website; to the extent that this is possible, mentors assist trainees in getting selected pieces of work published or broadcast in local or national media outlets.

 

Overview

Phase 1 – Online course: Preparing for your quest

Dates: 4 October – 7 November 2021

Lecturers: Andre Wiesner and Les Aupiais | In-house conservation experts: Vince Shacks and Prof Ian Glenn

 

Phase 2 – Fieldwork mentoring: Producing story projects

Dates: 8 November – December 2021

Mentors: Fred Kockott, Matthew Hattingh and Les Aupiais

In detail

Phase 1 – Classroom teaching: Preparing for your quest

Week 1: Setting the scene (4 October – 10 October)

An introduction to the course, the context of illegal wildlife trade, and the crafts of feature writing and radio documentary.

Week 2: Generating story ideas (11 October – 17 October)

Explore story-generating techniques and attend a workshop in Skukuza for brainstorming and input by subject experts.

Week 3: Researching your story (18 October – 24 October)

Build a story action-plan as you learn about sources and research methods, including interviewing and observation.

Week 4: Constructing your story (25 October – 31 October)

Learn how to put together radio documentaries and to structure, write and self-edit feature articles.

Media ethics and markets (1 November – 7 November)

Learn about media ethics as well as story pitches and the business of being a journalist.