06 Jun 2024, 11:00
  • Milou
    Milou Dirkx is Journalism Network Manager at Clean Energy Wire. She is the first point of contact for the members of the CLEW Journalism Network, and develops events and other opportunities for climate and energy reporters to engage.

Working with CLEW: Covering carbon removal technology, creative brainstorming and dancing

Miranda Bratkič in Berlin
"Clean Energy Wire is, in my opinion, one of the rare climate watchdogs that journalistic society desperately needs in today's world if we want to continue to believe in its survival." These are the words of Miranda Bratkič, a journalist from Radio Slovenija who came to join our team for an IJP fellowship. One of the great joys of working at CLEW is that our office in Berlin often brings in journalists from all over the world, sometimes for an hour, a day and sometimes for several months, like Miranda. Read this blog post about her experience, including her reflections on climate journalism and lessons learned.

Can you describe your fellowship at CLEW?

Miranda: “CLEW: Clever, Lovable, Exciting World. It might sound cheesy, but I was honestly inspired during my two-month fellowship at Clean Energy Wire. CLEW, together with the International Journalists’ Programmes, opened new horizons for me. The impact of climate change and the consequent need to prepare, adapt, and change climate and energy policies are clear. It’s not something some loony scientist is trying to explain to an ignorant world, as physicist Edward Teller did in 1959 in front of the smartly dressed elite of the American oil industry at its 100th birthday.

As a journalist with more than 15 years of experience in the newsroom of the Slovenian public broadcaster, I have witnessed the slow - or rather, too slow - arrival of climate change-related news to the daily programme. There is only a sparse community of science journalists and a few science news departments. Understanding that daily newsrooms and listeners of our radio channels or readers of our online work also require a learning process came late as well. The awareness of this was violently imposed by the catastrophic wildfires in July 2022 in the sensitive Karst region in the southwest of Slovenia, which destroyed 2,000 hectares, and the destructive flooding in August 2023 in the northern half of the entire country, costing 9.9 billion euros. The state budget exceeded 10 billion euros in 2019 for the first time in history.

Clean Energy Wire is, in my opinion, one of the rare climate watchdogs that journalistic society desperately needs in today’s world if we want to continue to believe in its survival.The CLEW team of journalists, with expertise in various fields and coming from different backgrounds, has a broad understanding of the world. They follow official reports of companies, decisions of policymakers, events, changes, and stalemates in the energy transition and beyond. The newsroom briefs the audience daily with an overview of the most important news on climate and energy topics, including the reporting of other media outlets, not in a competitive way but with understanding and respect for the work of other journalists and the collaborative nature of the climate change fight. Their work offers critical distance and points out the inconsistencies or inaccuracies of the decision-makers.”

What most surprised you?

“I was surprised that only one person from the newsroom prepares the overview for the entire week with daily newsletters. I find this extremely difficult but also very efficient because it ensures the work is consistent. Also, the process in which newsroom journalists switch the task of preparing the daily newsletter each week is, from my perspective, mindfully organised because it allows journalists to stay in touch with developments in the energy and climate community while also providing them time to do their own research. The regular meetings of the entire office were also a valuable experience for me.”

"The active networking is also something that sets CLEW apart."

Miranda Bratkič

What do you think sets CLEW apart?

“The honest and well-informed conversations, well-thought-out propositions, and creative brainstorming were very interesting to follow and provided many ideas on how to improve the work environment in my office. The active networking is also something that sets CLEW apart. I was lucky enough to attend the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024 side event organised by Clean Energy Wire together with Stiftung Mercator. The community of journalists and experts invited gave everyone involved a unique opportunity to meet informally, establish connections, and learn.”

What did you most enjoy working on?

“The proven good work of the entire team and the quality journalism that CLEW provides are, in my view, also the reasons I got the opportunity to talk to experts and companies in the sector, which made my work interesting and brought higher value. One of the unforgettable moments was the visit to the carbon removal plant in Berlin. The team provided me with ideas and suggestions, we discussed different angles of the carbon removal technology, and found connecting points to my audience at home. The discussion helped me prepare a reportage that was not only well accepted but also one I am proud of.

Each member of the extremely friendly team I met made me feel welcome, accepted, and appreciated. Eva, Milou, Caro, Franca, Marianna, Angelina, Julian, Renato, Clemens, Sven, Ekin, Benjamin, Boris, Sören and Lea, Anna-Leena, Carel, and Toralf from the Klimafakten team - the lunches and chats were always something to look forward to. Taylor Swift, Berlinale, minorities around the world - sometimes the topics discussed made me search further, many times they made me relax. That is just one thing that sets CLEW apart. And a well-intended piece of advice to all the others who will have the chance to meet these lovely people: learn to dance!”

Journalism for the energy transition

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