The Earth Journalism Network Information Ecosystem Researcher will be tasked with assessing the information ecosystems of Bangladesh and eastern India and will play a leading role in informing the activities of our recently launched project in the Bay of Bengal region, aimed at boosting the spread of news and information about climate resilience. This is a fixed term contract with a negotiable start date and will require travel within both Bangladesh and eastern India. It is also possible that two separate researchers could be hired to work together – one in Bangladesh and one in eastern India.
The Researcher(s) will be responsible for submitting their preliminary findings, a summary of their initial desk research, and will subsequently produce a detailed final report that synthesizes desk and field research and presents recommendations for the design of effective and impactful media development activities on topics related to climate resilience.
Background: The Information Ecosystem
Information ecosystems are complex adaptive systems that include information infrastructure , media tools, producers, consumers, curators and sharers. They explain not only how consumers in a given area receive information, but what that information is, where it comes from and what they do with it. In addition to charting the flow of information through a community, they also explain complex organizations of its dynamic social relationships.
During the inception phase of our Bay of Bengal project, EJN seeks to better understand how vulnerable coastal communities in eastern India and Bangladesh access media and information. In Bangladesh, for example, 56% of rural women nationally do not access media on a weekly basis; in the coastal division of Barisal, which adjoins the Sundarbans, this number jumps to 75%. Without reliable media access, how do these communities receive information or on what do they base their decision-making?
In particular, the Assessment Research will help us improve our knowledge of the conditions that affect whether and how information is used to inform action on the issues of water access, food security and sovereignty, sustainable livelihoods, and migration and dislocation. Understanding the dynamics that affect or restrict access to the information produced for these regions is crucial to addressing access barriers. This is a key component of the information ecosystem assessment. Note: Research in India may be informed by input from an advisory committee, although that is yet to be determined.
Additional questions we would like to answer, among others, are:
- What is the current state of media activity on communicating climate resilience in Bangladesh and India? (i.e. What is working and what isn’t?)
- What types of information on climate resilience being communicated? Is there sufficient focus on topics such as fresh water, disaster preparedness, migration, food security and livelihoods?
- Where are there gaps in terms of access and the quality and content of information being produced?
- What are other organizations doing to promote climate justice and resilience? Where are key gaps in activity and what needs do they have to support?
- What organizations (media outlets, community groups, universities and NGOs) could be useful partners on this project to disseminate more and better news and information on climate resilience?
Additional reading on Information Ecosystems can be found in these Internews case studies in Pakistan, Japan, Myanmar and Indonesia. By analyzing how information flowed during a flood in Jakarta, for example, Internews observed how government agencies were collecting information in collaboration with NGOs and social media. Interviews also helped to reveal complex social dynamics that motivate decision-making about staying how or leaving in a time of crisis.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned:
- Conduct desk research and virtual interviews to obtain key information from experts, assess key demographics and media access statistics, assists project staff in the selection of locations for field research, and identifies potential partners.
- Produce a two-page document summarizing initial findings prior to travel within the region.
- Design research questions that, among others:
- Contribute to our understanding of the information ecosystems in Bangladesh and eastern India.
- Identify the gaps and needs in coverage on climate resilience.
- Map and assess key sources of information in target communities.
- Assess the drivers of decision-making processes on issues of climate resilience.
- Highlight recommendations on how to best engage with select communities.
- Identify possible locations for project focus and potential media or communication partners.
- Conduct field research in locations following consultation with project staff (virtual interviews can continue during field research).
- Carry out focus group discussions among climate vulnerable communities as part of the field research.
- Provide regular updates on research progress.
- Collect data for EJN Monitoring and Evaluation activities.
- Synthesize desk and field research into a detailed report that includes assessments of potential partners and recommendations to guide project activity.
- Understanding of and demonstrated commitment to upholding Internews’ Core Values .
- Three to five years of experience with environmental reporting or relevant degree (i.e. communications, journalism, public relations, environmental science).
- Minimum five years of relevant professional experience in communication strengthening, public outreach, and organizational development.
- International experience, particularly in South Asia.
- Established ability to lead and facilitate strategic communication planning and programming with multi-stakeholder engagement, including senior government officials, international development partners, women’s organizations, NGOs, and CSOs, preferably in South Asian countries.
- Excellent interpersonal communication, organizational, teamwork, facilitation and presentation skills.
- Proven ability to produce high quality research assessments, reports and work under tight deadlines.
- Strong written and spoken English required and at least one other local South Asian language (eg, Bengali, Tamil, etc).
This position is being offered and hired by Internews Network. Benefits will be consistent with Internews Network’s offerings and will be reviewed during the hiring process. Additional information can be found on our Internews Benefits page.