On Friday, Grist concluded its first week of pooled coverage of the 2023 United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which runs from April 17 to April 28 in New York. For the second year in a row, Grist is working with a consortium of media outlets on collaborative pooled coverage. This year, the group includes ICT, High Country News, Mongabay, and Native News Online.
Grist editor Tristan Ahtone serves as the group’s organizer, and reporters from each newsroom share a Slack channel to discuss story ideas, share drafts, and links to their stories. Editors from each newsroom jump in to edit and shepherd stories. Any story produced from a member of the group can be republished by the other four members.
“The Permanent Forum provides Indigenous communities one of the only platforms to discuss their issues and find international attention. We think it’s our responsibility as reporters to be there and cover those stories,” said Tristan Ahtone, editor at large at Grist.
“Journalism has become less about competition and more about collaboration in the last several years. We’re all striving for the same mission so why not do it together with greater impact?” said ICT Editor Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Diné. “There’s a huge disconnect between global Indigeneity and on the ground in the communities. We’re trying to bridge that gap and inform our readers how an issue at the international level will affect them at home like health and the climate crisis.”
So far, the group has covered a range of topics, including:
- The goals of the summit
- Māori calls for disaster relief
- Day 1 and 2 dispatches
- Indigeneity as a determinant of health
- Maasai demands on human rights abuses
- PFAS contamination in Japan
- Pushing FPIC for emerging clean energy mining projects
This kind of collaboration helps make it easier to cover a crucial event. “The UNPFII is a powerful show of Indigenous self determination from every region of the globe: where Indigenous Peoples unify around their similarities, hold their governments accountable, and continue to advocate for their human rights on every level,” said Native News Online reporter Jenna Kunze.
While the UNPFII is a global convening, it’s also important for local communities in the U.S. “The stories of the Western United States are connected to international forces and issues, and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues allows us to analyze these relationships to better tell the story of the Western United States from multiple viewpoints and experiences,” said Gretchen King, High Country News’ executive editor.
“Respecting the rights and territories of Indigenous communities worldwide is of central importance for any international effort to alleviate a planetary emergency characterized by biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution,” said Mongabay Global Program Director Willie Shubert. “This fact is evident in the science and the lived experience of Indigenous peoples that Mongabay relies upon for its journalism. Mongabay is honored to collaborate with some of the world’s foremost Indigenous journalists to share stories from the conference halls of UNFPII in a manner relevant to the Indigenous people whose voices are included in Mongabay’s reporting.”
Pooled coverage continues for the last week of the Forum.
Follow Grist’s ongoing Indigenous affairs coverage here.