Environmental Journalist

One way of making a meaningful contribution towards preserving the earth is to enter a career in environmental journalism. Journalists investigate environmental problems and their causes, report on environmental policy disputes, and make the public aware of these issues and the importance of a healthy planet.

There are numerous important stories concerning the environment waiting to be written but too few reporters take the trouble to work on them in sufficient depth. However, environmental and wildlife issues are gradually gaining more prominence in the press and some of these are making it to the front page of newspapers or to the main news desk.

It is worth noting that journalists did bring us the major issues discussed and behind-the-scene stories of COP 17 held in Durban in 2012.

Award-winning science journalist Leonie Joubert, author of three crucial books on Southern Africa’s changing environment, ‘Scorched Earth’, ‘Boiling Point’ and ‘Invaded’, reported on how global warming is already altering Africa’s political and social landscapes.

Other journalists prefer to produce compelling documentaries that reveal the dramatic wildlife of South Africa’s game parks and oceans, or show how pesticides end up in places like Antarctica, or that thousands of ‘muthi’ plants are sold in South Africa each day.

Although environmental journalism can be a daunting career at times, it is an opportunity to truly make a difference. Above all, a passion for the environment and wildlife protection is what motivates environmental journalists to find a story and pursue it.

Journalists may work in the offices of newspapers, magazines, or in radio and television. Generally these offices are crowded and busy although magazine offices are usually much quieter. Journalists have to visit the sites of events of interest. They need to research their assignments in libraries and information centres and on the internet. They work irregular hours and their duties often require them to work at night.


• newspapers
• magazines
• radio and television
• websites of large environmental organisations such as UNEP, WWF or Endangered Wildlife Trust
• government departments, e.g. as press secretary
• self-employment, working as a freelance journalist

Businesses may contract environmental writers to document and share the stories of how companies are embarking on a cleaner, greener business journey.


Catholic Institute of Kabgayi, Cavendish University, Damelin, Helderberg College NPC, Ibanda University, ICESA City Campus, Kampala Institute of Vocational Training and Business Studies, Makerere University, Malawi College of Health Sciences, Multimedia University of Kenya, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North-West University, Pearson Institute of Higher Education, Riara University, Rosebank College, Rusangu University, Triumphant College, United States International University, University of Johannesburg, University of Malawi (The Polytechnic), University of Rwanda, University of the Western Cape, Victoria University

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