This post is also available in: Español
The decline of well-funded, in-depth journalism has taken down with it the subgenre of science journalism at a time when it is needed most, to serve as a watchdog on misinformation and inform people as accurately as possible on the status of the planet.
“Journalism, especially in the environmental domain, has the power to make people aware of the shared challenges and local connections,” says Sahana Ghosh, who left her studies in microbiology to become a science journalist and is now a much-acclaimed reporter for environmental outlet Mongabay India. “Once the public is aware of personal jeopardy from challenges that are global in nature, they can push for policy action. They understand better the role they can play to resolve a situation. This helps them become part of the solution.”
Recently, Ghosh turned her professional attention to the impacts of climate change on women on the subcontinent, producing a series “Environment and Her” that examines climate justice in the Sundarbans through a gender lens, supported by a fellowship from the Earth Journalism Network. This fed into a LEDE fellowship with the Solutions Journalism Network, producing a set of solutions-centric stories co-produced with women writers across India, whom Ghosh trained in solutions journalism in the process.
Ghosh’s writing is clear and precise, yet colorful and empathetic, pulling readers into real situations to show them how it feels to live through climate change’s effects. The experience brought to light the many aspects of gender inequity, not only in among her subjects, but also in her own work and its intended effect.
“Sometimes your stories are termed as ‘soft’ because they have women at their center,” she says. “This labeling can impact the messaging of women-centric stories and fail to catch the attention of policymakers. In many instances, women in some communities are not allowed to speak to reporters, and that can impact the information flow.”
It is not just accolades from the international journalism community that keep Ghosh going; often, it is the impact she sees her stories have on readers, who she says reach out to express how her stories helped them better understand a complex issue or gave them insight into different lives they otherwise would not have known. “This is especially a boon if you are reporting on women in STEM,” she says, “because it inspires a younger generation of women to embrace science.”