Monday, November 15, 2010

Coverage of climate summit called short on science: Study Says Media 'Under-reported' Issue of Warming

© Paul Nicklen, iLCP

Less than 10 percent of the news articles written about last year's climate summit in Copenhagen dealt with the science of climate change, a study showed on today.

From the Washington Post:
Based on analysis of 400 articles written about the December 2009 summit, the authors of the report for Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism called for a rethinking of reporting on future such conferences.

Author James Painter concluded that "science was under-reported" as the essential backdrop when about 120 world leaders met in Copenhagen but were unable to agree on a binding treaty to slow climate change...

"We need more discussion between scientists, journalists and policymakers on how to keep highly significant, slow-burn issues like climate change interesting and engaging to different audiences around the world," Painter wrote...

Painter said one way to improve the reporting on climate change is to provide a larger media staff members to help scientists. He said the environmental group Greenpeace had 20 media staffers in Copenhagen, compared with 12 media staff from 250 universities. The U.N. panel of climate scientists has one media officer.

Among other suggestions was more frontline reporting about the effects of climate change, along with more imaginative use of new media.

And we couldn't agree more that we need to encourage more communication in the conservation community. At the 9th World Wilderness Congress at the Wild Speak Symposium on conservation communications, a resolution proposed by iLCP, Wildscreen and the National Geographic Society encouraging "the philanthropic community to increase their funding for visual communication for conservation." The resolution was approved and passed.

Because climate change is difficult for many people to grasp, it is critical for science and conservation communities to step in and support media that tells the story of climate change to the global community — in a way that everyone can understand.

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