Disaster Journalism Network (DJN) is multi-newsroom collaborative that works to strengthen the reporting of disasters in Nepal. This network is intended to guide and support collaborative journalism, disaster preparedness, and activities that build disaster resilience among journalists. It has been established with initial support from Bournemouth University, United Kingdom, and is affiliated, through its members, to the Working Women Journalists and the Federation of Nepali Journalists.
The objective of this collaborative is to strengthen disaster resilience among journalists and newsrooms in Nepal, and to contribute to the disaster preparedness of local communities by providing in-depth, nuanced, and solution-oriented reporting.
Disaster Journalism Network, DJN sees disasters as interconnected, complex systems, and has the broader objective of fostering collaborative journalism to reduce the impact of all disasters, including climate-related, geophysical, health hazards, and pandemics (eg: COVID-19).We aim to shift the dominant narrative on disasters by examining its complex causes, and by highlighting creative approaches that show promise in its alleviation. Our effort is not merely to bring to public consciousness issues, problems or weaknesses, but also to explore solutions and mitigations in our reportage.
Innovative community engagement is central to the mission of this collaborative. We propose to convene activities that not only complement our reporting, but also elevate the voices of those with lived experiences; and allow the residents of the regions covered by this collaborative to feel more confident in their shared ability to be agents for change in communities across Nepal.
- Targeted solutions journalism that aim to reduce the impact of disasters and encourage resilience in the community
- A focus on what can be done at a community level — i.e. city government policy, city-based private and public partnerships, grassroots efforts, etc. — to make citizens more aware, engaged and resilient towards hazards
- Reporting on national and international best practices for disaster resilience, response and recovery
- In-depth and collaborative, cross-platform reporting on select issues; audience-generated stories; and innovative community engagement events
We recognise that our own resilience, as journalists and editors, and that of our partner organisations are foundational in sustaining our activities. As such, to strengthen our editorial preparedness, we resolve to:
- Facilitate collaborative disaster journalism trainings
- Share disaster resilience resources and knowledge, including technical help
- Pool journalistic skills for collaborative stories
- Set up a peer-to-peer networks for both professional and personal support in relation to disaster experiences (eg: trauma)
- Cooperate to explore economic models for sustaining community journalism
- Actively seek out external collaborators and networks to support our work
It is our aim to make our initiative a self-sustaining network that helps our audiences be better informed about disasters, including pandemics. We hope our effort will contribute to our communities being more engaged, with more people working to address challenges or otherwise be involved in fostering disaster preparedness in the region.
The collaborative will agree on a primary focus area taking into consideration the disaster environment and disaster alerts. The focus is expected to be revised through periodic reviews, as conditions change. For the initial term, owing to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the collaborative will focus on the global pandemic.
EXPECTATIONS FROM MEMBERS
While not all partner outlets will be able to offer the same resources or time to the collaborative, the expectation is that everyone participates on a consistent basis. Baseline expectations are:
- Assign one person from organization to serve as a representative to the collaborative
- Make every reasonable attempt to produce, or contribute to the production of, one collaborative story every two weeks
- Take guidance from Coordinator and Project Editor concerned about publication timing of stories produced by the collaborative network
- Credit DJN stories with agreed tagline, and, when possible, mention the collaborative (on-air, online, etc)
- Initiate community engagement events to promote the objectives of the collaborative
- Promote collaborative articles on their platforms via organisational social media, newsletters, etc
- Ensure high standards of ethics and follow professional code of conducts during the reporting, production, and dissemination of collaborative stories
- Newsrooms with such capacity are encouraged to add a sub-section or special page on their website that will be a dedicated home for content related to this project
- Maintain an openness to cross-newsroom reporting
- Advance common goals by offering skills and strengths to group events
- Provide metrics and analytics reports regarding stories disseminated as part of this collaborative.
Stories produced for the collaborative by newsroom members are available for dissemination by all partners (including on the website of the collaborative), but will always give credit to where the reporting originated.
If required, initial temporary exclusivity may be retained by the originating outlet, in consultation with the Coordinator, before any content is made available for publication on other partner platforms.
All partner outlets grant permission to the collaborative to republish the headlines, subheads, photographs, captions and excerpts of co-produced articles directly linking to partner URLs.
The Coordinator is the convener of this collaborative and has the overall responsibility of ensuring that partners work together. The person in this post will initiate, coordinate, and provide guidance and leadership to enable partners to achieve the goals of this collaborative. The collaborative will be overseen by the DJN Coordinator. New members may be added by the Coordinator, in accordance with agreement to DJN MOU, and as agreed with the current partners.
Decisions that significantly impact the purpose, direction, or operations of this collaborative will be made via consensus when possible and majority-vote when necessary among partners via their nominated representatives, in consultation with external supporters as required.
Decisions dealing with the day-to-day work of the members will be decided between those involved (eg: Project Editor and reporting team), with input from the Coordinator.
For all other day-to-day operations, the Coordinator is entrusted to make decisions and carryout leadership functions, always with the interest of the partners atheart.
Participation in the collaborative does not necessitate any financial obligations among members. This is a wholly voluntary commitment and partners may decide to no longer participate in the collaborative’s efforts at any time.
All funds raised by DJN will be used for the advancement of the common objectives of the collaborative.
This collaborative network will be referred to publicly as ‘Bipad Patrakarita Sanjaal’, and ‘Disaster Journalism Network-DJN’. It will use, as required, the descriptor ‘multi-newsroom collaborative to strengthen disaster journalism in Nepal’ in Nepali, and the translation thereof in English.