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Covering Climate Change

A Workshop for Journalists

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Climate change is one of humanity's greatest challenges.  Its effects in Europe will be pronounced. Yet, despite its enormous relevance, the issue is not always at the top of the media agenda. And it is often not treated with the required depth. 


We offer a five-day intensive workshop for 14 journalists – seven from Portugal and seven from Norway - in Évora, Alentejo - a region of Portugal that will be particularly affected by droughts and heat waves in the future.

Participants will enjoy an immersive experience, away from the newsrooms, spending a full week reflecting and discussing climate and journalism with experts and colleagues.

The workshop 

The workshop will cover both technical knowledge about climate change, in its various aspects, and journalistic practice. 

Learning modules will follow a learn-by-doing model, in which participants will be involved in practical activities - from exercises to games - complemented by theoretical presentations.


The workshop is co-convened by Ricardo Garcia and Miguel Bastos Araújo, and will be taught in English, so a reasonable level of understanding and speaking skills is a prerequisite for participation.

Ricardo Garcia is an acclaimed environmental journalist and trainer with over 30 years of experience in Portugal, Brazil and the UK. He will be teaching and moderating most of the modules in the workshop. 

Miguel Bastos Araújo is a multi-awarded environmental scientist working mainly on issues related to biodiversity and climate change. He will share his experience dealing with uncertainty and communicating it to journalists and policy makers.

Guest speakers will provide further insights into specific topics:


Pedro Matos Soares (Faculty of Sciences, Lisbon University): The science of climate change

Emanuel Gonçalves (Blue Ocean Foundation): Climate change in the oceans  

Patrícia Fortes & João Pedro Gouveia (Nova University of Lisbon): Climate change mitigation

Paulo Fernandes (University of Trás os Montes): Forests and climate change

Eduardo Santos (Portuguese Environmental Agency): Political negotiations

Each candidate must present, at the time of application, a proposal for a story on climate change and, during the workshop, will have the opportunity to improve it, with the help of the course convener and guest specialists.  


At the end of the workshop journalists will be able to:

•    Produce climate change news with greater accuracy and scientific basis;

•    Expand the coverage of climate change to new areas; 

•    Expand their range of information sources; 

•    Identify and work with climate statistics and databases;

•    Read, interpret and contextualize scientific papers;

•    Understand how climate models, scenarios and projections work;

•    Distinguish between climatic and non-climatic effects of environmental change;

•    Explain the human influence on the climate;

•    Understand the difference between greenhouse gases;

•    Contextualize the importance of mitigation and adaptation strategies;

•    Understand how emissions trading and other economic instruments work;

•    Navigate the world of international climate negotiations;


The workshop will address:

Climate science

  • Climate models, scenarios and projections: how they are made and what their assumptions are

  • Human influence: greenhouse gases and natural factors

  • Uncertainties and "skepticism" about what scientists say

What's happening?

  • Emissions: where they come from, who pollutes the most, how they are calculated

  • Observed changes in the climate

  • Future impacts

Paths for the future 

  • Fossil fuels, energy transition, renewables

  • Economic mechanisms: carbon taxes, emissions trading

  • Adaptation strategies: ongoing examples

What are we doing?

  • Climate diplomacy: how it works and what the next steps are

  • Policy trends in different countries

  • What needs to be done

Technical and scientific discussions will also include.:

The role of the journalist

  • How journalists deal with the climate issue

  • The ethics of covering climate change

  • Challenges and opportunities of journalism today

Sources and data

  • Balance, plurality and credibility of sources

  • Where to find data, scientific articles and experts 

  • Working with numbers, data journalism

Approaches and language

  • Themes and approaches little explored

  • Approaches: from "catastrophic" and "distant" to "relevant" and "present."

  • How to avoid technical jargon and simplify without losing rigor

All learning modules will take into account the learn-by-doing model, in which participants will be involved in practical activities - from exercises to games - complemented by formal presentations.

Participants and registration

The workshop is a partnership between Science Retreats and The Norwegian Institute for Journalism and is funded through a EEA (European Economic Area) Bilateral Action Grant. As such it is targeted at active journalists from Portugal and Norway. All costs of participation (fees, accommodation  meals) are covered except travel costs to Évora (Portugal). 

A pre-registration is required. It will be followed by a selection procedure. When sending your pre-registration, please include a reasoned cover letter explaining why the workshop is important to you, a CV, and a proposal for a story you would like to develop during or after the workshop.


Registration is open until 1 December 2019. To register click here.

Place and date

The workshop will be held at Casa Morgado Esporão - "Residência das Artes, Ciências e Humanidades" between 10 and 14 February 2020. Workshop activities will take place from 09:30 a.m. and 05:30 p.m.

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