09 Aug 2019, 15:22
  • Martha
    Otwinowski
    Martha Otwinowski is Journalism Network Manager at Clean Energy Wire. She develops network strategies for international climate policy and energy reporters.

The Ambassadors of the CLEW Journalism Network – why it was time to connect the dots globally, beyond the German Energiewende

The first meeting of the CLEW ambassadors in their capacity with our Berlin team ahead of the Global Energy Transition Journalism conference this April. Photo: CLEW/Julian Wettengel.
Today we're launching our new blog series: 'Three questions to CLEW Journalism Network Ambassadors'. In it, we individually introduce our 16 volunteer representatives based in different regions around the world. We think this is a good occasion to step back, reflect and answer the fundamental question: Why did CLEW decide to go down the road of becoming more international through the CLEW Journalism Network more generally, and by way of our ambassadors in particular?

Five years ago, our work started with the Energiewende. Germany’s transformation of its energy system from fossil fuels and nuclear power to one based on renewables and efficiency is one of the country’s defining stories. The move to a climate-friendly economy has far-reaching implications: The Energiewende changes not only markets and business models but reaches deep into society and well beyond Germany’s borders. This creates many fascinating stories and requires strong journalism to keep track of the progress and inform the debates.

Journalists covering the epochal energy and climate stories worldwide have taken a distinct interest in the Energiewende in Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy. However, the Germany’s global leadership was challenged after the country failed to fulfil its own climate targets.

"When journalists work together, the impact of their work is multiplied. An informed public debate on the energy transition in many places of the world is crucial – and journalism holds a key position".

Martha Otwinowski

Across the world, however, other countries have embarked upon their own paths of transitioning towards zero-emission economies with much to take away for everyone else – opening a huge field for global cooperation among journalists

When journalists work together, the impact of their work is multiplied. An informed public debate on the energy transition in many places of the world is crucial – and journalism holds a key position.

We set up the CLEW Journalism Network to offer such a space for professional exchange between journalists around the world – and the volunteer representatives, our ambassadors, play a special role in this effort. These journalists, based in 16 regions across countries and continents, are experienced in covering energy and adjacent beats, and they know their national media landscape to a T. If CLEW is going to try and support journalists across the world, so we reasoned, we have to get input from professionals on the ground who we trust.

This is why, before the official launch of the CLEW Journalism Network on our website in late 2018, we began speaking to some of the journalists that CLEW has crossed paths with since 2014. In the future, we hope to recruit more ambassadors from other countries.

CLEW Journalism Network members can approach our network nodal points anywhere, from the United States to Taiwan, from Finland to South Africa, to seek advice on anything they need help with regarding energy transition reporting. For an idea of the ambassadors’ expertise, check out our mini interviews, like this one with Vaishnavi, our Mumbai-based ambassador for India. As you will see, these interviews are full of story ideas and reporting tips. So, don’t be stopped on your path towards greater global media cooperation!

Journalism for the energy transition

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