ClimateXchange, a global journalism initiative committed to changing the way information about the climate reaches its audiences, has launched its platform with the announcement of Wan-Ifra as its first major news industry partner.
Kicking off at the 2023 Digital Media Conference in Singapore, the launch accompanies the signing of the World Association of News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) as climateXchange’s regional partner for South East Asia.
“Wan-Ifra’s exceptional global network, deep industry expertise and commitment to advancing journalism make it an ideal partner,” says Alis Okonji, partner manager for climateXchange. “Wan-Ifra’s reach empowers us to connect with news organisations in South East Asia, facilitating impactful climate reporting that resonates with communities—some of which are already feeling the effects of our changing climate.”
The flagship initiative of new non-profit community interest company Syli, climateXchange aims to kickstart a foundational transition in journalism. According to co-founders Tom Trewinnard and Fergus Bell, this will be achieved by focusing on local content about relatable real-world causes of climate change and the global movement towards a just transition to more carbon-conscious living. The team hopes that by using a global network of content producers—facilitated by regional partners such as Wan-Ifra—and by providing equitable access to trusted information, relatable impact and solutions will be fostered, empowering and engaging audiences at a local level.
ClimateXchange stands on three pillars of complementary activities:
- contentXchange: A reporting and distribution hub where engaging, high-impact journalism on climate and the just transition can be created or shared for reuse and republication by global news media.
- regionalXchange: A network of regional hubs where climate reporting is commissioned and cross-border and cross-regional collaborations are seeded.
- knowledgeXchange: Where the process of ecosystem change begins and sustainability solutions for newsrooms covering the climate crisis are developed and refined.
ClimateXchange has gained philanthropic support from the IKEA foundation and the KR foundation. The signing of Wan-Ifra marks the beginning of a collaborative system wherein climateXchange partners will contribute, adapt and use story assets hosted on a central content platform.
Currently in Beta testing, assets can be obtained, customized and localized on this hub for different territories. Original content, produced by climateXchange’s team of visual journalists, will also be shared—allowing all partners access to free, trustworthy digital assets they can adapt and distribute to their local audiences. There will also be collaboration forums, best-practice guidance and a shared research hub collectively called knowledgeXchange—which had its inaugural workshop at the 2023 Digital Media Conference in Singapore on 18 October.
“We are excited to be part of this groundbreaking initiative with climateXchange. The partnership is a significant step towards a future where reliable, localised and adaptable climate content becomes accessible to Asia’s newsrooms,” says Jen Teo, deputy director, training and special projects, Wan-Ifra APAC. “Wan-Ifra is committed to advancing journalistic excellence in Asia, and bringing urgency to better coverage of climate-linked challenges. This collaboration helps meet these objectives.”
The launch of the climateXchange platform comes at a time when the media’s coverage of climate change is being scrutinised – against a backdrop of extreme weather events and what many scientists believe will be the hottest year in recorded human history.
Falling global figures for engagement with traditional news sources inspired climateXchange to develop a new strategy for distributing trustworthy climate information in a way that is equitable, trustworthy and focused on growing social-first distribution.
Alis Okonji adds, “climateXchange brings together the global benefits of local journalism, ensuring that stories are told sustainably, authentically and effectively – ultimately catalysing a collective global response to climate challenges.”