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Caribbean journalists gain insight into ways to report climate forecasting

Thirteen journalists from across the region gathered for a one-day workshop in Barbados, as part of an international initiative sponsored by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), to show how climate forecasting services are being used to boost business and economic opportunities in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The workshop attempted to help the media personnel better interpret the jargon behind climatology and to relay that information in a way that will benefit the people who operate in climate-sensitive sectors, like farming and agriculture.

Facilitator of the workshop, BBC World’s, David Eades told journalists that the idea is to draw out parts of the information that affect people directly.

“There is no end to the stories related to climate forecasting or climate change issues,” the hard stuff Eades said is getting the stories out before the disaster happens.

He told his audience, sometimes it’s as simple as reaching out to their colleagues and keeping in contact with linkages.

Meanwhile, featured speaker and Chief of Applied Meteorology and Climatology at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), Adrian Trotman said that while experts are aware that the message needs to be communicated, they are not necessarily the best people to do so.

“We are trained to be scientists, to work on how to use equations, to use graphs, to use diagrams to use maps, that’s our training. “We were trained to produce scientific information”, Trotman explained.

He admitted, however, that after being in the field for more than 20 years, he now understands the importance of communicating the message.

“To be able to help people, the people have to hear the message; the people have to hear why it’s important to them” he said.

What assisted his public communication, Trotman said, was his involvement in integrated groups which allowed him to be far more than just a scientist.

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