Green Echoes #7

Key investigative stories, data sources, funding/training opportunities and our projects from across Asia.

Welcome to Green Echoes, a newsletter from the Environmental Reporting Collective that highlights key investigative stories, data sources, funding, reporting and training opportunities and our projects from across Asia. 

Featured Journalist: Ying Shan Lee, Cambodia

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3b/Swimming-with-turtles-apo-island-archie-mercader.jpg/320px-Swimming-with-turtles-apo-island-archie-mercader.jpg

In this in-depth piece for Southeast Asia Globe, Ying Shan Lee looks at efforts in the Philippines, India, and Malaysia to protect giant turtles. They face threats from coastal development, but also human demand for eggs and meat, long considered local delicacies in some regions, and she found they are even being sold online now, due to Covid-19 disrupting normal trade routes.

We spoke to Ying Shan to learn more about her and this story.

How did you research this story idea?

“Researching the state of turtles in Southeast Asia became a rabbit hole as I poured through page after page of what is being done to help them. The conservatories I interviewed were very generous with their time, and my editorial team was supportive in giving me the green light and guidance.”

What do you hope readers take away when they read your reporting?

“I hope that they will come out of the piece slightly more informed about the plight of these gentle giants, as well as more appreciation for the efforts of conservationists of any kind around the world, not just for turtles. It’s really not an easy feat!”

This week’s best reporting from across Asia

As South Asia went into lockdown for Covid-19, illegal wildlife traffickers took advantage. The Third Pole reports that there was a surge in illegal hunting in India, Pakistan, and Nepal, following a trend that has been found in other parts of the world too, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Africa.

There are concerns that new draft regulations in Beijing could make defamation or slander of Traditional Chinese Medicine a punishable offense. Considering its role as a demand driver for many illegally trafficked species, this is worth tracking (If you read Chinese, here's the announcement by the Beijing Health Commission). On the other hand, many practitioners of traditional medicine are condemning the use of illegal wildlife, arguing that it threatens the industry and tarnishes its reputation.

In this report for South China Morning Post, Sen Nguyen reports on how Hoang Anh Gia Lai, a Vietnamese company with links to the World Bank's private-sector arm, has been bulldozing land in Cambodia earmarked for indigenous peoples.

Here's a nice story in Mongabay by Malaka Rodrigo about a new app called eJustice that allows for rapid response to forest or protected area violations in Sri Lanka.

And a story of journalism that had impact: The Earth Journalism Network published a piece on how reporter Mariejo Ramos' in the Philippines covered the bulldozing of indigenous land for the New Clark City project, designed to be an eco-city, for Rappler and the Philippine Star. It ultimately forced changes in planning.

Opportunities and Trainings

If you're interested in writing for Mongabay, they're holding a virtual conversation for writers to learn from editors on the elements of freelance pitches that get their attention, on June 5 (Register here). 

Splice is accepting applications for their second round of Lights On micro-grants. Small- to mid-sized news orgs financially affected by Covid-19 are eligible to apply (No deadline but apply ASAP).

The Information is holding a News Summer School, eight hour-long evening classes starting in July, free to anyone. They are meant to replace some internships or other training cancelled due to Covid-19. Apply here.

The Asian Digital Media Awards are accepting applications from publishers who have delivered unique and original digital media projects in the last 12 months (Deadline July 30).

The Newmark School of Journalism is launching a new, 100-day, fully- online certificate program in entrepreneurial journalism in January 2021. Details here (No deadline yet).

And a useful new resource from MIT for keeping up with science remotely: a one-stop portal for online talks around the world on science-based topics. There are over 1000 listed already.

If you’d like to highlight a funding opportunity, or an even you’re hosting, let me know by responding to this email.  

Data and other resources

As lockdowns ease, more and more journalists are going back into the field. To help them stay safe in a Covid-19 world, NPR has released a useful field guide on determining if a field assignment is necessary, what to bring, and how to stay safe and healthy.

A great new resource for those of you reporting from the Greater Mekong Region —The Stimson Center has officially launched the Mekong Infrastructure Tracker Dashboard. It's interactive and brings in a diverse range of data on energy, transportation, and water infrastructure in the Mekong countries.

The Global Initiative on Transnational Crime has put out another issue focused on environmental crime during Covid-19, looking at trends around wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and more. They have some interesting findings on how the global drop in demand for high-value trafficking products like rhino horns or ivory is impacting poaching.

For anyone investigating wildlife crime, EcoEvoRxiv shared a resource on how to use the internet to monitor and quantify the wildlife trade. 

Is there a new data source you’d like us to highlight? Let me know by responding to this email.

Stay safe and healthy,

Nithin Coca


The Environmental Reporting Collective is a group of reporters and editors across Asia and elsewhere, working together to rethink how environmental journalism is done. We support collaborative journalism projects that start new conversations on how our societies impact our planet. Such stories are complex and expensive. That’s why they require new approaches to research, reporting, editing and distribution.

To learn more about our work, check out our website, Investigative.Earth, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also let us know what you would like to see in this newsletter by responding to this email.

Share Green Echoes