Freelance data journalist Carolyn Thompson is coming to the UBC School of Journalism to share her experiences of reporting in East Africa.
The School is hosting Thompson in the second half of February as its 2018 Visiting Journalist in Forestry Issues.
During her time at UBC, Thompson is looking to build on her investigation into how businesses are exploiting South Sudan’s civil war by illegally exporting teak wood.
South Sudan is the youngest country in the world and is in the process of developing policies on forest management. Yet forest cover in the country is shrinking by 1.5 per cent each year.
“These issues aren’t just about the environment. Illegal logging affects community employment, can help to fund conflicts, and damages regional economies,” said Thompson.
“I’m excited to work with forestry experts at UBC to gain more insight into these issues and the policies that surround them. At the same time, I look forward to sharing my experiences with journalism students at the university.”
Complex environmental issues
Thompson’s reporting focuses primarily on refugees, environment, economy and government accountability. Her work has appeared on CBC, France 24 and, News Deeply, among others.
She previously worked as a media trainer and reporter in South Sudan and Ghana. She also taught computer-assisted reporting at the University of Windsor. Thompson has been nominated for awards by the Online News Association, the Ontario Newspaper Association and the Atlantic Journalism Association.
“She is keenly dedicated to researching complex environmental issues in East and Central Africa with a creative, innovative approach to reporting and storytelling,” said Peter Klein, UBC Journalism School associate professor. Klein first met Thompson at an intensive investigative reporting program last fall.
The position is supported by a donation from a private foundation. In 2017, the School hosted Chris Arsenault as its inaugural Visiting Journalist in Forestry Issues.