New collaborative reporting project reveals missed opportunities in Latin America's forests

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  • March 24, 2011

By Dean Graber

Latin America is missing profitable opportunities to conserve its forests because bureaucracy and excessive paperwork are tying up the process, an 11-country investigation by 18 reporters in the region concludes. The report on carbon emissions trading presents the first product of a new collective investigative reporting project led by Latin American journalists.

The project by Colombia’s Newsroom Council (Consejo de Redacción—CdR), a national group of investigative reporters, involved seven independent journalist organizations in Latin America. It developed from CdR’s investigative training course in environmental journalism, conducted for 89 journalists on the distance education platform of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas in October and November 2010.

The report (PDF) "Ties of a Green Giant," supervised by Costa Rican journalist Giannina Segnini, presents an overview of carbon emissions trading in Latin America, a system in which quotas for emitting greenhouse gases are traded in a commercial market. (See summarized findings.)

"Millions of hectares are arriving in disperse form to a market without controls and with insufficient public regulation, the report says.

It also features 11 individual country reports from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

CdR worked with seven other organizations: Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji), Chile’s Center for Investigative Journalism (CIPER), Mexico’s emeequis magazineArgentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA), Paraguayan Journalists Forum (FOPEP), Press and Society Institute (IPYS-Venezuela), New Ibero-American Journalism Foundation (FNPI–Colombia). Other co-sponsors besides the Knight Center included the CAF development bank, and the journalism program of Universidad Javeriana.

CdR says the project seeks "to unite the moods of several independent journalists' organizations that want to work together to do collective projects of investigative journalism in the region, and to facilitate contacts between journalists from different countries to develop their individual work."

This blog is produced at The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.