Forestry Communication Toolkit
Latin America and the Caribbean Forest Communicators Network
The Latin America Forest Communicators Network started in Peru in November 2011. A follow up meeting in 2012 expanded and further extended the network to Central America bringing new members from additional countries. There are now around 50 members from both private and public institutions across the region.
The combined network seeks to strengthen the capacities of journalists, public affairs officers and other communicators to build capacity, share success stories and promote learning among its members. The network agreed to share and strengthen common messages, such as the importance of the region to global food security.
The network welcomes new members from any area of forest communications regardless of their qualifications or experience.
Promoting effective forest-related communication initiatives in Latin America
9 – 11 December 2014, Lima, Peru - 25 communication and forestry officers from 9 countries gathered at the campus of the university in La Molina, with the goal of working together to improve communication capacity of the forestry sector in Latin America. This interactive workshop was organized by FAO and Peru's National Agricultural University, with the support of the Austrian and the Finnish governments, and the European Forest Communications Network.
The workshop provided an opportunity to share best practices and tools to promote more effective communication campaigns and programmes, exchange knowledge and experiences, generate new contacts and alliances, and to explore the possibility of creating a regional network of communicators working on forest issues.
The significance of both social and traditional media communications was a recurring topic during the workshop’s presentations.
“While the growth of social media is leading to new communication approaches and strategies, journalists and traditional media still play an important role,” said Maria De Cristofaro, Communications and Outreach Officer at the FAO Forestry Department, who conducted and co-facilitated the workshop. She went on to explain that forest communicators often have a negative image of journalists and reporters, or they don't know how to approach them.
Guest speaker Nelly Luna (a former journalist who covered environmental issues for Peru's leading newspaper) offered advice on successful collaborations with print media. She suggested presenting projects in a short, clear, and concise format, since journalists prefer to work with easy-to-understand pieces which they can quickly turn into news.
Maria De Cristofaro presented the participants with a communications toolkit that was developed by FAO's Forestry Department. This is an online product meant to support the work of forest communicators throughout the world, made as a response to the new media landscape, which has arisen from the advent of social media and widespread internet communication.
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