VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Citizen Eco-Reporters: A Community-Based Journalism Initiative

Photo Courtesy of Kira Johnson

One of the key ways that the IZILWANE media platform builds awareness and creates community around the issue of biodiversity loss is by engaging people on this issue through their own work as “eco-reporters.” We train those who want to write for us as “citizen journalists,” honing their communication skills and their understanding of ecological and anthropological issues.

Many of IZILWANE’s contributors are not professional journalists; hence, our staff, and in particular our editors, act as trainers and spend time teaching our contributors how to create quality articles, photo and video essays, and podcasts. We have positioned IZILWANE to be a leader in “earth journalism.”

For those who are not yet ready to be a serious eco-reporter, we offer the option of uploading stories on our blog. All blog uploads must be accepted and are edited by our staff, which results in engaging the eco-reporter in the media process. We believe that participating in eco-journalism builds a social network of people who become more engaged as biodiversity advocates. Many college and graduate students have been using this eco-reporting opportunity as a stepping stone to becoming environmental journalists and biodiversity advocates.

Photo Courtesy of Kira Johnson

Ultimately, we envision pods of eco-reporters of all ages living around the world engaged in multimedia outreach on the topic of biodiversity and human ecology. We already have interest from potential contributors in Colombia, South Africa, Namibia, Rwanda, Japan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, as well as the USA.

If you’re interested in contributing to IZILWANE as a citizen eco-reporter, visit our Get Involved page to explore how!


— Kathryn Pardo