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How to Tell a Story of Kidnapping and Climate Change in Somalia

Laura Heaton and Nichole Sobecki detail their reporting on Dr. Murray Watson and the impact his once thought-to-be lost work could have on the country decades later.


In this episode of The Backstory, Foreign Policy’s executive editor for print, Rebecca Frankel, sits down with reporter Laura Heaton and photojournalist Nichole Sobecki to go behind the scenes of their feature article, “The Watson Files,” in FP’s recent Climate Change issue. From over 18 months of reporting, Heaton and Sobecki recount their journey and investigation, following the footsteps in Somalia of disappeared conservationist Murray Watson, whose lifelong work was dedicated to surveying the country’s land and preparing plans for land preservation.

What if the key to dissolving a civil war that has ravaged Somalia for years are these climate adaptation reports, which have been sitting in an attic in the English countryside?

Read “The Watson Files” here and check out the rest of the stories in FP’s Climate Change issue here.

Laura Heaton is a Nairobi-based reporter. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraeheaton.

Nichole Sobecki is a Nairobi-based photojournalist. Follow her on Twitter: @nicholesobecki.

Rebecca Frankel is FP’s executive editor for print. Follow her on Twitter: @becksfrankel.

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