Journey to the Sinking Lands

A witness to the world's first evacuation of an entire people due to climate change

Q&A

Dear Dan,
We are 6LB, and we are learning about journalism…We have some questions for you!
 
When you went to the islands was it an emotional experinace?  from Megan
 
As a journalist, have you ever been put in a dangerous situation? from Alice
 
 
What have you learnt from going to the Island?from Alex
 
Wheres the furthest you’ve ever been as a journalist? from Natasha
 
why did you become a journalist when your life could be at state?from Sam
As a journalist do you ever get put under preasure? from Hannah
 
Do you write for a certain paper or do you sell your stories? From Jess
 
What was your favourite part of your journy? from phoebe
 
what  are conditions like? from Taylor
 
Do you enjoy traveling to different areas?from Heather
 
did your trip to the island teach you anything?from victoria
 
Is it sometimes hard doing your job ????from ALEX
 
where has been you favourite place to write a newspaper report? from Megan K
 
Where has been the most memrabole visit, and why? from Natasha
 
HI ,do you enjoy meeting new people???FROM SOPHIE
 
What do you most enjoy about being a journalist? from Lily
 
How often do you go on trips to write about a story?????From Megan

Hello 6LB, those are some really good questions. I will do my best to answer them all for you now.
 
When you went to the islands was it an emotional experinace?  from Megan
It was an emotional experience Megan. Sometimes it was a really happy experience, like when the islanders were teaching me to climb a coconut tree (I kept falling down, which they thought was very funny) and sometimes it was a really sad experience like when I saw what damage the sea had done to their food gardens and that they had to go hungry as a result. The most emotional part was saying goodbye, because the whole island came down to the water to wave to me as I left in the boat. As we left I realised that this was not like saying goodbye to anywhere else, where you could go back to it if you wanted, this time I was saying goodbye to a place that might not be there even if I did want to go back.

 
As a journalist, have you ever been put in a dangerous situation? from Alice
 
I have sometimes been in a dangerous situation Alice. I’ve done reporting from riots and from bushfires and I’ve done some undercover work inside organisations where if the people had found out that I was a journalist they might have got very angry with me. But I don’t think I have ever done anything as dangerous as people like the police and firefighters often do almost every day.

 
What have you learnt from going to the Island? from Alex

That’s a good question Alex. The most important lesson for me was just how similar the people on the island are to people at home. Yes there are some differences (like the fact they eat coconuts every day) but the similarities are much more important. For example, the children there all go to school, in school uniforms. They all have to do their homework and they all play football during their lunch break.
Wheres the furthest you’ve ever been as a journalist? from Natasha
 

Natasha, I’ve been to lots of places, like Australia, America, Africa and different parts of Europe like Iceland and Italy. It’s been really good fun, and I hope to go to lots more places too but one of the things you learn from going to all these places is that you can meet interesting people anywhere – even just around the corner.
Why did you become a journalist when your life could be at stake?from Sam

Sam, that is a good question and deserves a good answer. Lots of people do things that mean their life might be at stake, like soldiers and the police, and only very few journalists are ever in any real danger. I think that journalists (and soldiers and the police) do so because they believe what they are doing is important. I believe that journalists do some really important work by finding out the bad things that some people do and writing about it so that everyone can find out what is going on. Without journalists, the people doing these bad things might be able to get away with it for ever.
As a journalist do you ever get put under preasure? from Hannah
You do sometimes Hannah, mostly from your editor who is shouting that you need to hit a deadline very very soon. But the most pressure you are under is the pressure to make sure you get everything you say is true and you don’t make any mistakes. That pressure comes from yourself.

 
Do you write for a certain paper or do you sell your stories? From Jess
Jess, I used to write for The Sunday Times and after that I wrote for a paper in Australia called The Australian. I’ve also worked for some magazines, like the New Statesman and also for the BBC. But now I sell my stories to lots of different people. 

What was your favourite part of your journy? from phoebe
You know Phoebe, I’ve never thought about that before. I think my favourite part was walking on the island at night, with the moonlight casting shadows of the palm trees on the sand, and looking out at the stars and the seas and listening to the singing of the people in the village behind me. That was beautiful

 
What  are conditions like? from Taylor
Conditions for me were quite comfotable Taylor. The islanders made sure I had a little hut made out of palm leaves to sleep in, where I slept on the sand floor under a mosquito net. They also made sure I had food, and showed me where to get water and how to wash in the sea. People gave me coconuts every day to eat.

Unfortunately, conditions for the islanders were not always so good. They had hardly any medical care, so if they got sick they just had to suffer, or if they got really sick they could take a 3-hour boat ride to the mainland to go to hospital. And because the sea had washed away so much of their food gardens, they had to rely on shipments of food and water sent out by the government, which did not always arrive on time.

Apart from that it was hot – really hot – and sweaty, which meant you spent a lot of time in the sea to cool down. 

Do you enjoy traveling to different areas?from Heather
I love it Heather. There are so many exiting things in the world to see and do. I’m always thinking of where to go next.
Did your trip to the island teach you anything?from victoria
It did Victoria. It taught me that there are lots of people in the world who need help and that when you meet them, these people are just like you and me. When you learn that, you really want to help them.
Is it sometimes hard doing your job ????from ALEX
Sometimes it is Alex. You work very long hours and you have to work very hard sometimes. You also never know when you might be called in to work, or when you might be sent off to another country at a moment’s notice (that has happened to me) and you don’t even get to say goodbye to people at home. But that also makes it fun

Where has been your favourite place to write a newspaper report? from Megan K
That’s another question I have never asked myself before Megan, but I think it is a very good question. I’ve written in lots of places – while sitting on the bonnet of a 4×4 in the middle of the Australian outback, on board ships, in a forest that is on fire or in the middle of the road outside a crime scene at midnight for example – but for me some of the best stories have been written in boring places, like the office or in a car but it has been the thing that I am writing about that has been exiting.
Where has been the most memrabole visit, and why? from Natasha
I think that the trip to the Carteret Islands has been the most memorable so far Natasha, because the people there were the kindest people I think I have ever met. They made me feel very welcome and even gave me lots of presents to take home with me (I gave them some presents to when I left). 

HI ,do you enjoy meeting new people???FROM SOPHIE
What do you most enjoy about being a journalist? from Lily
I’m going to answer these two questions together Sophie and Lily, because the thing I enjoy most about being a journalist is meeting new people. People are really interesting and everyone has a really interesting story to tell, as long as you ask the right questions to find out what it is.

 
How often do you go on trips to write about a story?????From Megan
Not as often as I’d like Megan. Sometimes I wish I could always be going on long trips to write more stories. There are nice things about being at home though, and my wife likes me being around. But I am always planning where I can go next.

Right 6LB, I hope that answers everything you want to know. Let me know if there is anything else, and I will keep an eye out if any of you grow up to be journalists.

Dan

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1 Comment»

  heidi fench wrote @

listen last night to your talk in Brewhouse Taunton- fascinating
Just a different world form us lets hope they can stay the same but in a new location.
Did you meet the Australia photographer Johnnie Lewis?


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