independent news and opnion

A New Beginning for Climate Reporting

0 5


It’s been 30 years since Bill McKibben rang the warning bells about the threat of man-made climate change—first in a piece in The New Yorker, and then in his book, The End of Nature. For most of that time, the response from most quarters of the media, especially in the United States, has been either silence or, worse, getting the story wrong. Reporters and their news organizations sidelined climate stories as too technical or too political or too depressing. Spun by the fossil fuel industry and vexed by their own business problems, media outlets often leaned on a false balance between the views of genuine scientists and those of paid corporate mouthpieces. The media’s minimization of the looming disaster is one of our great journalistic failures.

It is heartening, then, to report that the press may at last be waking up to the defining story of our time. At the end of April, Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation launched Covering Climate Now, a project aimed at encouraging news organizations, here and abroad, to raise their game when it comes to climate coverage. We weren’t going to tell people what to write or broadcast; we just wanted them to do more coverage, and to do it better. Close the gap, we urged them, between the size of the story and the ambition of your efforts. Try it for a week, then report back on what you learned.

We had a hunch that there was a critical mass of reporters and news outlets that wanted to do more climate coverage, and hoped that by highlighting that critical mass, we could also help to grow it. That’s exactly what has happened. Our initiative has been embraced by more than 250 news outlets from across the United States and around the world—big outlets and small, print and digital, TV and radio—with a combined audience of well over 1 billion people. Their response has been amazing, and gratifying.

We believe that Covering Climate Now is the biggest effort ever undertaken to organize the world’s press around a single topic. (You’ll find a list of partners here, and you can follow all of us on Twitter at #CoveringClimateNow.)

Our week of focused climate coverage began yesterday and will continue through next Monday, September 23, the day of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York. And there’s more to come after this week is over; the climate story is not going away, so neither are we. We’ll be talking to our newsroom partners about what they learned this week, what they need to continue the momentum, what they can learn from one another, and where we go from here.

We are thrilled that Covering Climate Now has flourished. Yet what has also become clear in the five months since we began this effort is the enormous amount of work that remains to be done in order for the media to get this story right. In talking with dozens of reporters, producers, editors, we’ve learned a lot about the ambitions that newsrooms have for improving their climate coverage, but we’ve also seen where roadblocks remain.

As the scientists have been telling us with increasing urgency, humanity’s window to transform our world is shrinking fast. Transforming the news media is fundamental to achieving that goal.





Source link

You might also like

close
Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !