solution finder

Water Reporting and Journalism

Water Reporting and Journalism

The way how a story about water related topics is told has a big influence on its impact. Whether you are a journalist who understands the need to cover water-related topics or a sanitation or water expert who believes in the importance of sharing information on water-related challenges and opportunities through media outlets: This toolbox provides you with answers to questions about the basics of print, online and broadcast journalism.

The toolbox builds on MiCT’s Shortcuts to Journalism (available in English and Arabic) and combines its easy to use tools with the relevant knowledge on sustainable sanitation and water management.

Basics on water related Journalism

What needs to be in place to tell a ground-breaking water story? Find out, which key challenges you should be aware of, how to find the right subject…
7 Factsheets
View Section

Water Stories for Print Media

It does not take more than a text edit programme on your laptop to produce water stories for print media. This section presents a range of…
7 Factsheets
View Section

Radio Stories on Water

Radio is highly topical, up-to date and continues to be a key channel to reach large audiences, inform them and influence their opinions on water…
4 Factsheets
View Section

Reporting Water Stories on TV

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. We see this proven every day when we look at how television is influencing human behaviour…
4 Factsheets
View Section

Online Journalism on Water

Online media are the most modern media. Today, they are attracting predominantly young people, but there is little doubt that in future, traditional…
7 Factsheets
View Section

Discovering new Angles with Mind Mapping

The immanent shortage of water in the MENA region has often been covered in the Media. This means that just stating facts on such a topic will likely…

Constructive Water Reporting Approach

Constructive journalism or constructive news is a response to increasing tabloidization, sensationalism and negativity bias of the news media today.…

Water Reporting Challenges in the MENA Region

While each country in the MENA region has its particularities and specific context, in general journalists reporting on water face similar challenges…

The right Subject

In many instances, water-related stories turn out to be too complex, dry or alarmist. Finding the right subject to report on is a critical step…

Looking for Story Ideas

As you are looking for story ideas on water and sanitation issues remember: No challenge or solution is simply wrong or right or ever fully…

Researching Water Stories

Research helps a journalist verify the information he or she has gathered. Research makes it possible to decide whether that information is true and…


Simple stories can illuminate complex patterns and deeper truths (SDC 2006). This is particularly important when it comes to reporting on sanitation…

The Water News Story

A news story on water is a short, accurate report about an event, that is linked to water management, weather conditions, business or political or…

The Water News Feature

News features provide background on current events. By sharing experts views, the opinions of affected people, facts and figures and making a…

The Analysis

An analysis is based on a news story but it is more analytical. It differs from news features or other kinds of feature stories in that, rather than…

The Commentary / Editorial

In a commentary / editorial the author argues a certain opinion or viewpoint. When it comes to sanitation and water related challenges there are…

The Profile

A profile is a text format that is used to describe a person or organization of interest to readers, without making a direct judgement. The water…

The Feature Story

A feature is a longer story about a political, cultural, social, business or other topic. Such topics can either be closely linked to water issues or…

The Interview

The interview is one of the - if not the - most important tools journalists have to obtain information, to expand on information they may have from…

The Radio News Story

Radio is a quick medium that is highly up to date and uses short news stories to inform listeners about events, whether a political, social, sporting…

Access to relevant, balanced and reliable information about competing interests and causes for unsustainable water management is one key condition for fair decision-making on water allocation. It provides the foundation for objective negotiations and builds trust – two key conditions to move towards cooperation instead of conflict. And finally access to information facilitates transparency and accountability in water management.

Journalists and the media have a mandate to inform the public about developments in the water sector that will have an impact on citizens. At the same time, media are sufficiently neutral to scrutinize decisions, highlight governance challenges and raise concerns about conflicts of interests over contested water resources. Hence, media could play a vital role for the improvement of water reporting and ultimately water governance in several respects:

  • Agenda-setting: By focusing attention and public debates on the reasons for water scarcity and water pollution, media can urge policy makers to include related issues on their agenda.

  • Watchdog function: As the ‘Fourth Estate’, journalists have the mandate to scrutinize the powerful and conduct in-depth investigations wherever public goods are affected. Media coverage can help to reveal cases of abuse and hold those responsible to account. In the long term, investigative journalism can help to decrease corruption and foster good governance in general.

  • Awareness-raising: To enable meaningful public contributions towards sustainable water management, it is essential to create awareness and establish a sufficient understanding of water-related challenges and decision-making processes.

  • Empowerment and encouragement: Increased coverage of water issues can embolden residents – encouraging them to question decision makers and demand action. Here the role of socially responsible media must be to provide access for these residents and to amplify the voices of those affected by water scarcity and water pollution.

Journalists can tell stories that resonate with the public and access channels that convey information to a broad audience. However, the complexity of water governance and the multitude of underlying reasons for water-related challenges need to be duly understood to convey the right messages that contribute to more sustainable water management. If engaged effectively, the media can create new pathways to effectively disseminate water news, facts, and community perspectives.

Against this background the Middle East Water Reporting toolbox provides tools to foster water related journalism as a key means to inform water sector stakeholders about challenges and opportunities in sanitation and water management.

The toolbox has been developed under the framework of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDC) ‘Blue Peace Middle East Initiative’. The Blue Peace Initiative builds on the assumption that countries that jointly manage shared water resources do not start wars with one another. Encouraging water-reporting by journalists complements and supports the efforts to build peace in the Middle East through water diplomacy in two ways. First, it makes information on water challenges accessible, increasing awareness for more sustainable water management and providing a level playing field for better water-related negotiation. Second, it raises awareness about solutions to water challenges in the region, facilitating replications of successful initiatives and making a common vision for the future more tangible.

Edited & Reviewed by:

Franka Voss, seecon GmbH

Dirk Spilker, MiCT

Christoph Sodemann, Borda

Janek Hermann-Friede, seecon GmbH


Funding Partners

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

SDC Logo


Created by

seecon international gmbh
seecon Logo
Media in Transition and Cooperation (MiCT)
MiCT Logo