UNC Global Storytelling

This semester I’m in an international reporting class at UNC called UNC Global Storytelling. Each year, students in the class create an interactive, multimedia journalism project on an international topic. This March we’re traveling to Belize to report on how climate change is impacting the country, and how Belizeans are protecting their natural resources. 

The class has been divided into five story teams, and each team has a distinct focus underneath the general topic of climate change in Belize. The subtopics for the story teams are: sustainability, marine science, land use and agriculture, culture, and tourism. I’m part of the tourism team. We’ll be staying and reporting in Placencia, Belize, which is a popular tourist destination.

Our class has been working with an environmentalist, Monique Vernon, who is local to Placencia. She’s been helping us make contacts in Belize, and giving us a lot of information about climate change in the country. As a class, we’ve talked about our inherent biases that we might bring as western journalists reporting in Belize. We’ve talked about cultural competency with Monique as well, and I hope to continue these conversations as we get closer to our travel date. It’s crucial that we recognize the inherent power structures that exist in journalism, and are mindful about all our editorial decisions that go into this project, especially since we’re reporting in a country many of us are not personally familiar with.

We leave for Belize on March 5th, and have been preparing and researching our topics in the past month. My team has talked to many tour guides and environmentalists in Belize over the phone. Through our conversations and research, we’ve decided to try and focus our reporting on how tourism in Belize impacts the country’s waste management systems.

Follow along with the UNC Global Storytelling class on social media! We’ll be posting more updates in the coming weeks: https://www.facebook.com/uncglobalstory/

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