Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Attention Journalists: How to Write About Tomorrow's Rio +20 Meeting

The Columbia Journalism Review is doing roundups, the NGO's are handing out their demand memos, the hotels are filling up with 50,000 members of this international caravanserai, so what's a journo on a tight budget to do?
Hit the beach and file this flash of genius.

We first linked to it in 2008 and have dutifully reposted for the Bali conference, the Copenhagen conference, the Durban conference and a few conferences I've since forgotten.

From the 2009 repost (the Bangkok and beautiful beaches of Phuket conference):
The Financial Times' Alan Beattie wrote this bit of brilliance last year for the G8 meeting. His friend Gideon Rachman duly posted it on his FT Rachmanblog. I am reposting it in full to bookmark for future reference:
...Alan then forwarded me a generic column on international institutions that he has written. It really says it all - and I think I may simply reproduce it, every year, round about G8 time.
It goes as follows:
By reporters everywhere
An ineffectual international organisation yesterday issued a stark warning about a situation it has absolutely no power to change, the latest in a series of self-serving interventions by toothless intergovernmental bodies.

“We are seriously concerned about this most serious outbreak of seriousness,” said the head of the institution, either a former minister from a developing country or a mid-level European or American bureaucrat.

“This is a wake-up call to the world. They must take on board the vital message that my organisation exists.”

The director of the body, based in one of New York, Washington or an agreeable Western European city, was speaking at its annual conference, at which ministers from around the world gather to wring their hands impotently about the most fashionable issue of the day. The organisation has sought to justify its almost completely fruitless existence by joining its many fellow talking-shops in highlighting whatever crisis has recently gained most coverage in the global media.

“Governments around the world must come together to combat whatever this year’s worrying situation has turned out to be,” the director said. “It is not yet time to panic, but if it goes on much further without my institution gaining some credit for sounding off on the issue, we will be justified in labelling it a crisis.”...MUCH MORE