IPI has compiled a set of useful resources and contacts for journalists covering topics related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While certainly not exhaustive, the links below may help point the intrepid reporter in the right direction.
In a 2011 Transparency International survey, more than 3,000 business executives from around the world were asked to assess the effectiveness of various approaches to weeding out corruption. The result: nearly half (49%) indicated that investigative journalism played a critical role. Respondents from Pakistan (73%) and Brazil (79%), countries where the press reports fiercely on suspected acts of corruption, placed particular faith in the media’s ability to uncover wrongdoing. Why did the participants feel so strongly that journalists can help?
The interview is one of the—if not the—most important tools we as journalists have to obtain information, to expand on information we may have from other sources, and to clarify facts and see things from different perspectives. We use the interview to expand upon the basic “who, what, where, how, when and why” of newsgathering. This is true whatever beat we may be covering: health, economics, politics, or issues having to do with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
There are the two essential questions a reporter covering business, the economy, or just about any topic should always ask: ‘How much does it cost?’ and ‘Where will you get the money from?’. These simple questions are not only key to gaining information about your current story’s topic, but they offer greater insight into reasons for decisions that have a direct impact on a country and its citizens.
In his 1999 book Development as Freedom, renowned economist and Noble laureate Amartya Sen stated that investment in healthcare can lead to success in meeting a wide range of development targets, such as those identified by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Indeed, good healthcare improves quality of life, reduces morbidity and mortality, and raises economic productivity. As such, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognised the importance of universal health coverage (UHC) and urged its member states to adopt programmes providing essential health packages.
The environment is the overarching issue of the 21st century for two reasons:
1. The environment includes and touches everything: air, water, food, health, climate, energy, development, poverty, economics—the list could go on without end.
2. Nearly every major environmental indicator is in decline.
We are pushing up against the limits of the Earth’s ability to support us. Climate change, biodiversity loss, and nitrogen pollution are moving toward crisis levels, according to recent studies. There is little public awareness of this reality, which means journalists covering the environment have a plethora of important stories to cover.
When a story on a particular topic is told over and over again, it leads to what is known as media fatigue—a situation where journalists and editors find the topic no longer newsworthy. However, the worst is when audiences become fatigued—when general readers are fed up with the subject as well. This problem is one that bedevils HIV/AIDS reporting despite the fact that many people—especially the affected and the infected—still want to learn more.
Although egalitarian societies with a pattern of matriarchy still exist in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania, the decline of matriarchal societies in the world has made way for patriarchal domination. Gender discrimination has become rampant. World history is, indeed, “his-story” and not “her-story”. The way we live today is influenced by, and based on, male-derived principles, which bring about male dominance and universal patriarchy. No matter where women live, they do not share equal rights with men. Sensitive and justice-seeking journalists should expose this social malady at every opportunity, so that the lives of women can improve.
Education is the path to development. It creates choices and opportunities for people in terms of access to employment, reduces the twin burdens of poverty and disease, and empowers people. For nations as a whole, education produces a more skilled and competitive workforce that can attract better quality foreign investment, thus opening the doors to economic and social prosperity for society as a whole.
However, people often do not see how these global goals can be translated to local realities. The media plays a key role in forming opinion, helping to ensure that citizens and politicians alike recognise that there is no room for complacency in tackling the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to education.
When stories of a food crisis emerge, it is tempting to ask if the problem stems from the lack of grain. I followed this lead during my early years as a reporter until I read about an event that took place in 1970. That year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Norman Borlaug. The American agronomist was recognised for his work that combined science and new agriculture techniques to help save millions from hunger. His research—heralding the Green Revolution—paved the way for agriculture built on high-yield outputs.