NEW DELHI : A two-day workshop to leverage digital journalism for raising awareness on climate change and COVID-19 vaccines among young people, organized by Amar Ujala Foundation, in association with UNICEF, concluded here today.
Over 50 students of journalism and mass communication from Sharda University, Galgotia University and Amity University, journalists from Amar Ujala, district level correspondents learnt about the impact of climate change on children and how they can leverage digital journalism, particularly mobile journalism (MoJo) to raise awareness on the issues. The students were also encouraged to raise awareness on the importance of immunizing eligible adolescents against COVID-19 and fight misinformation against vaccines.
Speaking at the inauguration, Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships, UNICEF India, said, “Climate crisis is an unprecedented threat and children, and young people are most impacted by it. Yet children are the least likely to have their voices heard. Mobile journalism gives us an opportunity, at minimum cost and resources to raise awareness on climate change and how it impacts children.”
This workshop, she said, aims to bring youth voices to the fore for critical issues such as climate change and the need for COVID vaccination. “Young people are the future. Their ideas, energy and enthusiasm can catalyse change,” she added, urging the budding journalists to adapt their messaging and create ground-level stories on issues impacting children, through the use of inexpensive digital technologies.
Delivering his remarks, Jaideep Karnik, Head of Content and Editor, Amar Ujala Web Services, said, “The workshop gives us (Amar Ujala) and UNICEF an opportunity to listen to the concerns of young people and what they feel about climate change and its impact on them. It also gives an opportunity to students to interact with senior journalists to learn from them the finer nuances of digital journalism.”
Environmentalist Vimlendu, Mr Aditya Patel, Assistant Director, DRDO, Ministry of Defence, Govt. of India guided the students on how real-life experiences could be used to communicate about climate change. A Green Quiz was also organized to encourage awareness and guage the knowledge of students on environmental issues.
Senior reporters from Amar Ujala shared their experiences of covering the COVID-19 pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccination programme, with students. They also shared the challenges of covering environmental issues such as natural disasters and deforestation.
The country has started vaccinating children in the 12+ age group for COVID-19. However, lack of awareness, scare-mongering and misconceptions regarding immunization have been some major challenges during the vaccination programme against COVID-19 and Routine Immunization. Dr N.K Arora, Chairman, COVID-19 Working Group, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, interacted with the students and journalists virtually on the COVID-19 vaccination and urged the media to find innovative ways to break through information fatigue and encourage eligible people to take all their doses of vaccine on time.