Bearing Witness 2017: Year 2 of a Pacific climate change storytelling project
In 2016, the Pacific Media Centre responded to the devastation and tragedy wrought in Fiji by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston by initiating the Bearing Witness journalism project and dispatching two postgraduate students to Viti Levu to document and report on the impact of climate change (Robie & Chand, 2017). This was followed up in 2017 in a second phase of what was hoped would become a five-year mission and expanded in future years to include other parts of the Asia-Pacific region. This project is timely, given the new 10-year Strategic Plan 2017-2026 launched by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in March and the co-hosting by Fiji of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23) climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, during November. The students dispatched in 2017 on the ‘bearing witness’ journalism experiential assignment to work in collaboration with the Pacific Centre for the Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) and the Regional Journalism Programme at the University of the South Pacific included a report about the relocation of a remote inland village of Tukuraki. They won the 2017 media and trauma prize of the Asia-Pacific Dart Centre, an agency affiliated with the Columbia School of Journalism. This article is a case study assessing the progress with this second year of the journalism project and exploring the strategic initiatives under way for more nuanced and constructive Asia-Pacific media storytelling in response to climate change.
Anote’s Ark (2018). Director: Matthieu Rytz. EyeSteelFilm [Documentary film]. http://www.eyesteelfilm.com/anotesark
Asia Pacific Report (2017, April 13). AUT journalists head off to Fiji for Bearing Witness project. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/04/13/aut-journalists-head-off-to-fiji-for-bearing-witness-climate-project/
Bacon, W. (2012). Frontline: An innovative direction in academic journalism. Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa, 18(2), 153-165. doi:10.24135/pjr.v18i2.270
Boykoff, M. T. (2011). Who speaks for the climate? Making sense of media reporting on climate change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Burnside-Lawry, J., Franquet, R. , Wairiu, M., Holland, E., & Chand, S. (2017). Communication, collaboration and advocacy: A study of participatory action research to address climate change in the Pacific. The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, 9(4), 11-33.
Campbell, J. , & Barnett, J. (2010). Climate change and small island states: Power, knowledge and the South Pacific. London, UK: Taylor & Francis.
Cleaver, J. (2017, December 31). The graduate reflections: Julie Cleaver. In Robie, D., Bearing Witness 2017: A Pacific Media Centre/Te Ara Motuhenga project (pp. 6-7). Auckland: Pacific Media Centre, Auckland University of Technology.
Cleaver, J., & Hutt, K. (2017a, April 18). Fiji needs better urban planning to reduce climate change impact, says researcher. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/04/18/fiji-needs-better-urban-planning-to-reduce-climate-change-impact-says-researcher/
Cleaver, J., & Hutt, K. (2017b, April 25). Pacific students passionate about reporting climate change. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/04/25/pacific-student-journalists-passionate-about-reporting-climate-change/
Cleaver, J., & Hutt, K. (2017c, April 27). Village relocation provides new hope for Fiji’s devastated Tukuraki. Asia Pacific Report. https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/04/27/village-relocation-provides-new-hope-for-devastated-tukuraki/
Cleaver, J., & Hutt, K. (2017d, May 6). Destruction and Construction: The story of Tukuraki village. Debate. Retrieved from the Pacific Media Centre at http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/sites/default/files/file_bin/201706/Tukuraki%20Village%20Feature%20Debate%20Issue%206%20May%202017.pdf
Climate Council. (2016, February 26). Was cyclone Winston influenced by climate change? ClimateCouncil.org. Retrieved from https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/cyclone-winston-and-climate-change
Collectif Argos. (2010). Climate refugees. Introductions by Hubert Reeves and Jean Jouzel. Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
COP23 President Bainimarama to ‘reach out’ to Trump over climate. (2017, February 9). Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from http://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/02/09/cop23-president-bainimarama-to-reach-out-to-trump-over-climate/
COP23.com (n.d.). The ocean pathway: A strategy for the ocean into COP23 – towards an ocean inclusive UNFCCC process. Retrieved from https://cop23.com.fj/the-ocean-pathway/
Cottle, S. (2009). Preface: Global crises and the media. In Boyce, T., & Lewis, J., Climate change and the media. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Cox, G. (1985). Bearing witness: Quaker process and a culture of peace. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #262. Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill.
Darby, M. (2017, September 21). Fiji’s climate leadership: ‘We are all in the same canoe’. Climate Home. Retrieved from www.climatechangenews.com/2017/09/21/fijis-climate-leadership-canoe/
Darby, M. (2018, March 9). Fiji climate lead challenged Western consultants’ influence before losing job. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/03/09/fiji-climate-lead-challenged-western-consultants-influence-before-losing-job/
Dart AsPac honors Pacific Media Centre with Trauma award (2017, December 12). DartCenter.org [Blog]. Retrieved from https://dartcenter.org/blog/2017/12/dart-aspac-honors-pacific-media-centre-trauma-award
Das, J. , Bacon, W., & Zaman, A. (2010). Covering the environmental issues and global warming in Delta land: A study of three newspapers. Pacific Journalism Review, 16(1), 10-33.
Dreher, T., &, Voyeur, M. (2015). Climate refugees or migrants? Contesting media frames on climate justice in the Pacific. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 9(1), 58-76. Doe: 10.1080/17524032.2014.932818
Duffield, L. (2016). New Caledonia and Vanuatu: Differences defined in a student-reporting venture into the Pacific. Pacific Journalism Review, 22(1), 137-151. doi: 10.24135/pjr.v22i1.17
Fiji Government (2016, May). Fiji: Post-Disaster Needs Assessment: Tropical Cyclone Winston, February 20, 2016. Retrieved from https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources
Finau, G., Cox, J., Tarai, J., Kant. R., Area, R., & Titifanue, J. (2018). Social media and disaster communication: A case study of Cyclone Winston. Pacific Journalism Review, 24(1).
Gunter, S. (2017). Engaging climate communication: Audiences, frames, values and norms. In Hackett, R. A., Forde S., Gunter, S., & Foxwell-Norton. (Eds.). Journalism and climate crisis: Public engagement, media alternatives (pp. 49-76). Abingdon, OX: Routledge.
Hackett, R. A. (2017). Can peace journalism be transposed to climate crisis news? Pacific Journalism Review, 23(1), 14-24.doi: 10.24135/pjr.v23i1.100
Hackett, R. A., Forde S., Gunster, S., & Foxwell-Norton. (eds.) (2017). Journalism and climate crisis: Public engagement, media alternatives. Abingdon, OX: Routledge.
Harris, U. (2014). Engaging communities in environmental communication. Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa, 23(1), 65-79. doi:10.24135/pjr.v23i1.211
Hay, J. (2017, June 11). Fiji ups the temperature at COP23 with call to action. GlobalCapital. Retrieved from https://www.globalcapital.com/article/b155rckpd8p7c4/fiji-ups-the-temperature-at-cop-23-with-call-to-action
Hutt, K. (2016). Call for new media strategies for climate change journalism. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/05/12/call-for-new-media-strategies-for-climate-change-journalism/
Hutt, K. (2017a, April 21). ‘We have to act now’ – Marshall Islanders blast Runit n-pollution. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/04/21/we-have-to-act-now-marshall-islanders-blast-runit-n-pollution/
Hutt, K. (2017b, August 31). ‘Live, thrive in a new place – financing Pacific climate
adaptation. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/08/31/live-thrive-in-a-new-place-financing-climate-adaptation-in-the-pacific/
Hutt, K. (2017c, December 31). The graduate reflections: Kendall Hutt. In Robie, D., Bearing Witness 2017: A Pacific Media Centre/Te Ara Motuhenga project (pp. 3-6). Auckland: Pacific Media Centre, Auckland University of Technology.
Hutt, K., & Cleaver, J. (2017a, April 22). Climate change report will help countries cut emissions. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/04/22/climate-report-author-challenges-inadequate-global-emissions-goal/
Hutt, K., & Cleaver, J. (2017b, May 9). Destruction and construction – Tukuraki’s lonely story of survival. Asia Pacific Report. [Multimedia]. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/05/09/destruction-and-construction-tukurakis-lonely-story-of-survival/
Ings, W. (2017). Disobedient teaching: Surviving and creating change in education. Dunedin: Otago University Press.
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). (2017). Draft sixth assessment report outline. Retrieved from http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/PR092017_AR6_Scoping.shtml
Johansson-Fua, S. F. (2014). Kakarla research framework: A garland in celebration of a decade of rethinking education. In ‘Otunuku, M., Nabobo-Baba, U., Johansson-Fua, S. F. (eds.), Of waves, winds & wonderful things: A decade of rethinking Pacific education (pp. 50-60). Suva: University of the South Pacific Press.
Johnson, J. (2018, January 5). Corporate media ‘failed to connect 2017’s extreme weather top climate crisis: Study. Common Dreams. Retrieved from https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/05/corporate-media-failed-connect-2017s-extreme-weather-climate-crisis-study
Jose, C., Wall, K., & Hinzel, J. H. (2015, July 3). This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it’s leaking. The Guardian.com. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/03/runit-dome-pacific-radioactive-waste
Loo, E. (2013). Bridging the cultural gaps in journalism training and education in Asia. Singapore: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
Lugo-Ocando, J., & Nguyen, A. (2017). Developing news: Global journalism and the coverage of ‘third world’ development. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Lynch, J. (2014). A global standard for reporting conflict. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Morgan, W. (2017). Coal comfort: Pacific islands on collision course with Australia over emissions. Pacific Journalism Review, 23(1): 25-31. doi:10.24135/pjr.v23i1.311
Nash, C. (2015). Atolls in the ocean – canaries in the mine? Australian journalism contesting climate change impacts in the Pacific. Pacific Journalism Review, 21(1), 79-97. doi:10.24135/pjr.v21i1.149
Nash, C. (2017). What is journalism? The art and politics of a rupture. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research). (2017). Annual climate summary 2017: a year of weather extremes across New Zealand. Retrieved from www.niwa.co.nz/climate/summaries/annual-climate-summary-2017
Olausson. U. (2011). ‘We're the ones to blame’: Citizens' representations of climate change and the role of the media. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 5(3), 281-299, doi:10.1080/17524032.2011.585026
Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk (2017, October 29). Fiji’s Tukuraki village moves to new site after landslide. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/10/29/fijis-devastated-tukuraki-village-moves-to-new-site-after-landslide/
Prasad, B. (2017, January 15). COP23 presidency – facing the gravity of the task for Fiji. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/01/15/biman-prasad-cop23-presidency-facing-the-gravity-of-the-task-for-fiji/
Robie, D. (2011). Iconic media environmental images of Oceania: Challenging corporate news for solutions. In Dreadlocks, 6/7, 25-49. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific.
Robie, D. (2013). The talanoa and the tribal paradigm. Reflections on cross-cultural reporting in the Pacific. Australian Journalism Review, 35(1): 43-58. Retrieved from https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=505272837623485;res=IELLCC
Robie, D. (2014a). Don’t spoil my beautiful face: Media, mayhem and human rights in the Pacific. Auckland, NZ: Little Island Press.
Robie. D. (2014b). ‘Carbon colonialism’: Pacific environmental risk, media credi -bility and a deliberative perspective. Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa, 20(2), 59-75. doi:10.24135/pjr.v20i2.166
Robie, D. (2016). Bearing witness 2016: A Pacific Media Centre project. Unpublished report. Auckland: Pacific Media Centre, Auckland University of Technology.
Robie, D. (2017a). The insecurity legacy of the Rainbow Warrior affair: A human rights transition from nuclear to climate-change refugees. Pacific Dynamics: Journal of Interdisciplinary Research, 1(1), 34-53. https://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/13641
Robie, D. (2017b). Bearing witness 2017: A Pacific Media Centre/Te Ara Motuhenga climate project: Year Two: 31 December 2017. Auckland: Pacific Media Centre.
Robie, D., & Chand, S. (2017). Bearing witness 2016: A Fiji climate change journalism case study. Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa, 23(1), 186-205. doi: 10.24135/pjr.v23i1.257
Romano, A. (2010). International journalism and democracy: Civic engagement models from around the world. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Ryan, Y. (2010). COP15 and Pacific Island states: A collective voice on climate change. Pacific Journalism Review, 16(1), 193-203.
Science Media Centre (2018, January 8). 2017 a year of extreme weather – expert reaction. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2018/01/08/2017-year-extreme-weather-expert-reaction/
Shaw, I.S. (2011). ‘Human rights journalism’: A critical conceptual framework of a complementary strand of peace journalism. In Shaw, I.S., Lynch, J., & Hackett, R.A. (eds.), Expanding peace journalism: Comparative and critical approaches (pp. 96-121). Sydney: Sydney University Press.
Shaw, I.S., Lynch, J., & Hackett, R.A. (eds.), Expanding peace journalism: Comparative and critical approaches. Sydney: Sydney University Press.
Singh, S. (2017, October 18). Shailendra Singh: How journalists can walk the Pacific climate change talk. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/10/18/shailendra-singh-how-journalists-can-walk-the-pacific-climate-change-talk/
SPREP launches new 10-year strategic plan. (2017, March 6). Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Retrieved from http://www.sprep.org/news/sprep-launches-new-10-year-strategic-plan
SPREP Strategic Plan 2011-2015. (2011). Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Retrieved from http://www.sprep.org/att/publication/000921_SPREPStrategicPlan2011_2015.pdf
SPREP Strategic Plan 2017-2026. (2017). Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Retrieved from www.sprep.org/attachments/Publications/Corporate_Documents/strategic-plan-2017-2026.pdf
Temple, J. (2018, January 4). The year climate change began to spin out of control. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from www.technologyreview.com/s/609642/the-year-climate-change-began-to-spin-out-of-control/
Timperley, J. (2017, November 19). COP23: Key outcomes agreed at the UN talks in Bonn. Carbon Brief. Retrieved from www.carbonbrief.org/cop23-key-outcomes-agreed-un-climate-talks-bonn
Tropical Cyclone Winston Slams Fiji (2016, February 20). Earth Observatory (NASA). Retrieved from https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=87562
Tukuraki village relocation (2016, July 21). Pacific Community website [Blog]. Retrieved from http;//www.spc.int/blog/tukuraki-village-relocation/
Ugavule, E. (n.d.). About talanoa. Talanoa.com.au. Retrieved from http://talanoa.com.au/about/
UNDP Sustainable Development Goals. (2012). United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Retrieved from http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html
UNFCCC (2017a, November 13). Gender and climate change. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. [Draft decision]. FCCC/SBI/2017/L.29.
Retrieved from http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2017/sbi/eng/l29.pdf
UNFCCC (2017b, August 25). Local communities and indigenous peoples platform: proposals on operationalization based on the open multi-stakeholder dialogue and submissions. FCCC/SBSTA/2017/6. Retrieved from http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2017/sbsta/eng/06.pdf
Walsh, K. J. E., McInnes, K. L., & McBride, J. L. (2011). Climate change impacts on tropical cyclones and extreme sea level as in the South Pacific – a regional assessment. Global and Planetary Change, 80: 149-164. Retrieved from 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2011.10.006
Webster, B. (2017, November 18). Fijian storytelling can save the world, says UN. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/fijian-storytelling-can-save-world-says-un-gxx5t6zmr
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors submitting articles for publication warrant that the work is not an infringement of any existing copyright and will indemnify the publisher against any breach of such warranty. By publishing in Pacific Journalism Review, the author(s) agree to the dissemination of their work through Pacific Journalism Review and on the PJR databases.
By publishing in Pacific Journalism Review, the authors grant the Journal a Creative Commons nonexclusive worldwide license for electronic dissemination of the article via the internet, and, a nonexclusive right to license others to reproduce, republish, transmit, and distribute the content of the journal. The authors grant the Journal the right to transfer content (without changing it), to any medium or format necessary for the purpose of preservation.
Authors agree that the Journal will not be liable for any damages, costs, or losses whatsoever arising in any circumstances from its services, including damages arising from the breakdown of technology and difficulties with access.