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Discourse Media presents Power Struggle

A marquee hub for in-depth journalism about energy poverty — and a model for collaborative solutions journalism

This week, Discourse Media launched Power Struggle, a collaborative journalism project that asks how energy poverty impacts communities around the world. It investigates emerging solutions that consider climate change. And it demonstrates what’s possible when journalists, media outlets and non-profits work together to critically investigate complex global challenges through a solutions lens.

Discourse collaborated with nine international reporting fellows to investigate how energy poverty affects people – from Cameroon to island nations such as Kiribati to northern Canada and beyond. These investigations form the heart of our Power Struggle project and are complemented by exploratory data interactives, first-person perspectives from people affected by energy poverty, reporters’ retrospectives, and nuanced viewpoints on the promising solutions. We envision Power Struggle as a growing hub for information and ideas about energy access.

Power Struggle is a collaboration between Discourse and nine news outlets, including Al Jazeera, Thomson Reuters Foundation, TVOntario, Inter Press Service, SciDev.Net, The Zimbabwean, The Independent (Bangladesh) and Republica (Nepal). An experiment in collaborative journalism, the project was inspired by emerging models such as the Panama Papers, a collaboration of 370 journalists in 37 countries who worked together for over a year on the largest leak in history.

“In a time when the traditional business models of journalism are in trouble, collaborative journalism is demonstrating that we can achieve more ambitious reporting together than any single media outlet could do alone,” says Erin Millar, Discourse's CEO and co-founder. “What impact can we have by pooling our resources, platforms, expertise and data?”

Now we’re working to deepen the conversation through continued engagement. We’re inviting people (through our website, social media and targeted emails) to share their energy stories with us — stories about access, barriers, solutions and impacts. We’re inviting new collaborations with other reporters, media outlets, researchers and funders looking to support energy-focused solutions journalism. And we’re presenting what we’ve learned so far at community events. 

From April 24-27, Discourse will join a small and diverse team of energy experts from around the world at the OpenAccess Energy Summit in Waterloo, Ont. Hosted by our Power Struggle partner, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI), the summit aims “to develop an actionable framework for addressing electricity provision for energy isolated communities.” Discourse journalists will mine the summit for stories and report back.

If you have ideas for how we might collaborate or improve our work, we would love to hear from you: info@discoursemedia.org. And if you see the value in this kind of reporting, kindly help us spread the word. We created a few draft posts for Facebook and Twitter which you are welcome to make your own:

TWEETS

Energy experts argue providing basic level of energy access has negligible effects on #climatechange, reporting from http://discoursemedia.org/power-struggle

Dispatches from around the world explore solutions for energy access #soljourno collaboration from @discourse_media http://discoursemedia.org/power-struggle/introduction

FACEBOOK POSTS

Journalists around the world ask: can we provide energy to all without hastening climate change? #PowerStruggle http://discoursemedia.org/power-struggle

Meeting basic energy needs would have negligible climate change impacts, even if we were to accomplish this by using the dirtiest technologies from a climate perspective, argues a growing subset of experts. #PowerStruggle journalists report: http://discoursemedia.org/power-struggle

About WGSI 

The Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) is a non-profit partnership between the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo. WGSI works to promote dialogue around complex global issues and to catalyze the long-range thinking necessary to advance ideas, opportunities and strategies for a secure and sustainable future through conferences, expert panels, workshops and publications.