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WHO WE ARE

The Climate Explorers

5 of the world best climate reporters from 5 continents meet in Denmark for 5 months for 1 goal:

find new ways to tell the most important story of our time

The green transition and issues arising from climate change are some of the defining challenges of our time. Governments, international organizations, and research institutions all over the world increasingly present measures, solutions and policies to meet these challenges and to encourage people to change their behavior accordingly.

Despite the urgency of the situation, many newsrooms struggle to keep the editorial focus on climate change. As the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and most recently the Gaza conflict have documented the global news agenda is easily overcrowded.

Climate fatigue is also a barrier, the phenomenon to describe the exhaustion many people feel when presented with endless streams of dire news about the looming climate crisis and hardly any sense of progress in sight. It leads to passivity, dejection and resignation.

What’s Unique About This Program?

To overcome these reactions and instead to create engagement and activation in society as a whole, we need to find new journalism approaches that keep the public attention on this urgent news story, which often does not fit the criteria for traditional breaking news.

Constructive journalism with its focus on solutions, context and nuance and facilitation of democratic conversation is a tool kit which equips news makers to forge new pathways forward. This is what we will explore together with our first cohort of climate journalists.

The program has been developed in partnership with The Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center (CORC), bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scientists and industry partners. By joining forces between academia and journalism the unique project combines journalistic training and research insights in a new international fellowship program.

Constructive Journalism at its best and most urgent can explore how societies can construct a sustainable future for humankind.

Alexandra Borchardt
Content Director of the Constructive Institute’s Climate Explorer Program, Journalist & Lead Author of the European Broadcasting News Report 2023


The Climate Explorers

Mactilda Mbenywe

Kenya

Africa


Science Journalist at the Standard Group

Mactilda Mbenywe is a 30-year-old self-driven, motivated and passionate multimedia science journalist in Kenya, with a knack for environment, climate and Health stories. She is a journalist with the Standard Group, a mainstream media house in Kenya with a mission of uncovering cross-border critical issues on both land and marine biodiversity through data-based multimedia storytelling. Mactilda has covered global conversations on environmental issues such as the COP UN Climate Summits, the UN Environment Programme Summit and the UN Environment Assembly. She has won an Annual Journalism Excellence Award for her reporting on how climate change spurs mental crises.

Mahima Jain

India

Asia


INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST

Mahima Jain is an independent multimedia journalist writing on the socio-economics of gender, health, and the environment through the lens of inequity and injustice. The 32-year-old has had bylines in over a dozen global and Indian publications including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Mongabay and Scroll.in. She has also produced short documentaries for The Hindu Group and podcasts for Suno India. She previously held editorial positions at The Hindu Group and London School of Economics. She was a finalist for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award in 2021, and the Mumbai Press Club RedInk Awards and the Society of Publishers in Asia Awards. She is based in Bengaluru, India.

Tais Gadea Lara

Argentina

South America


MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST SPECIALISED IN CLIMATE CHANGE

Tais Gadea Lara is the author of the newsletter on climate change Planeta and collaborates in different national and international projects, such as National Geographic, Climática La Marea and Climate Tracker. In 2020. the 35-year-old she created the Environmental Journalism Workshop to train more people in the communication of the climate and ecological crisis. Since 2014, she has covered the climate negotiations and major events on the international climate policy agenda. She was recognized as one of the 100 Latinos most committed to climate action in 2023, 2022 and 2021.

Liam Mannix

Australia

Oceania


NATIONAL SCIENCE REPORTER AT THE AGE & THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Liam Mannix is a science journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. The 33-year-old writes for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald as their national science reporter. His coverage of COVID-19 saw him awarded the 2020 Walkley Award for print feature writing, the 2022 Press Club Quill for Excellence in Science, Medical and Health Reporting, and the June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting. His work has appeared in two editions of the Best Australian Science Writing. He has twice won the Walkley Foundation Young Journalist of the Year (Innovation).

Kristian Elster

Norway

Europe


CLIMATE JOURNALIST AT NRK

Kristian is a 60 year old journalist at NRK (Norwegian State Broadcasting). Holding a bachelors degree in political studies, history and area studies, he has been working at NRK for over 23 years. Starting out as a radio journalist at NRK, he has mainly been working as an online journalist. Kristian was part of the sports department for eight years, before he moved into news, working mostly on foreign affairs. He has extensive experience in reporting from abroad, for example, covering three US elections on site, reporting on terror attacks in Algeria, and from the Crimea in 2014. Since 2020, Kristian has been part of the news department’s climate change group at NRK.

With the Climate Explorer program our international cohort will co-develop constructive reporting approaches for the biggest story of our time, and in doing so offer an antidote to apathy and hopelessness amongst news audiences.

Cynara Vetch, Director of the Climate Explorer Program and International Project Lead at the Constructive Institute

Collaborating With The Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center

The Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center (CORC) is a collaborative initiative led by a consortium of renowned institutions and experts in the fields of chemical and life sciences, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The center brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers and industry partners who are dedicated to addressing the challenges of developing novel technologies for CO2 capture and conversion.

To encourage knowledge exchange and dissemination, CORC collaborates with the ecosystem focusing on carbon innovation and climate engagement to effectively communicate the importance of carbon technologies and their potential to address climate change. This engagement will create awareness and promote informed public discourse on the urgent need for sustainable CO2-based technologies, and what it takes for society to adopt and adapt to new green technologies.

I’m excited about this new and unique fellowship program which I hope will contribute to closing the gap between science and journalism. I see an enormous value in the international perspective that the five explorers can bring to the table.

Tina Fruelund, Director of Communication, Public Affairs and Public Engagement at CORC

Tina Fruelund

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATION, public affairs and public engagement at corc

Tina Fruelund is the Director of Communication, Public Affairs and Public Engagement at CORC at Aarhus University. She develops partnerships and collaborations to create climate and sustainability engagement with the public, policy makers, researchers, media, thought leaders and the like with the purpose of bringing the knowledge about the science and innovation needed for building a future sustainable carbon economy.

She has a background in communications, international management and cultural studies and has worked with a vast array of organizations and companies on transformation and development of stakeholder and community engagement.


Watch The Teaser

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Now, more than ever, we need to find new ways to cover climate change. A report by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) warns against “climate catastrophe journalism”, which contributes to climate anxiety and causes media users to stop engaging with news stories on the topic.

“Which is why,” says Constructive Institute founder Ulrik Haagerup, “the mission of this project is to inspire the news industry to find best practices to cover climate change in a passionate, trusted, fact based and engaging way.”


The Explorer Journey

January/February 2024

Why?

Why is it important to move beyond traditional climate coverage?

March/April 2024

Where?

How do the challenges and opportunities for climate reporting differ from region to region?

March/April 2024

What?

Exploring the key issues and global best practices that need to be addressed for constructive climate coverage.

April/May 2024

How?

Development of a product for the global journalism community and presentation at WNMC24 in Copenhagen.

May/June 2024

What now?

How to develop a climate coverage strategy and workshops for their return to the newsrooms.

Meet The Directors Of The Climate Explorer Program

Cynara Vetch

DIRECTOR OF THE CLIMATE EXPLORER PROGRAM

Cynara Vetch wears two hats at Constructive Institute, also working as the Project Lead for International Projects and Partnerships. In this role she supports journalists in their efforts to serve society better. This could be training constructive approaches when covering climate change, leading democratic bootcamps for female politicians and journalists in Kenya or global conferences for example. 

Previously she worked for over a decade with international news broadcasters including Al Jazeera, BBC and CCTV Africa in the Middle East and Africa. She also led media development projects using media programmes to both inform and entertain.

Prof. Alexandra Borchardt, PhD

CONTENT DIRECTOR OF THE CLIMATE EXPLORER PROGRAM

Alexandra Borchardt is a senior journalist, media researcher, and independent advisor. She works as a coach for the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) in their Table Stakes Europe Programme on the digital transformation of newsrooms and is affiliated with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford as a Senior Research Associate after having served as their Director of Leadership Programmes until 2019.

Prior to this she was managing editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), Germany’s leading quality daily newspaper. Alexandra is the lead author of the 2023 EBU News Report Climate Journalism That Works: Between Knowledge and Impact.

Meet The Climate Explorer Program Team

Chiara Fürst

CONSTRUCTIVE INSTITUTE ASSISTANT

Chiara Fürst is a Student Assistant at Constructive Institute currently pursuing her Erasmus-Mundus-Master degree in “Journalism, Media & Globalisation” with a specialisation in the field of politics. At Constructive Institute, Chiara is responsible for communications, design and the website as well as running the Climate Explorer program. Chiara has been working for different public broadcasting media houses in Germany, mainly in documentary filmmaking and news. 

Simran Ahuja

CONSTRUCTIVE INSTITUTE ASSISTANT

Simran Ahuja is a Student Assistant at the Constructive Institute and an Erasmus Mundus Journalism Master’s student, with six years of experience as a journalist in India at major Indian publications like The Hindu, The New Indian Express and The Times of India. She is involved in everything related to communication, from updating the website to social media management as well as the pioneer Climate Explorer Program.