The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an unsettling report last year detailing a dystopic future of hunger, population displacements and extreme weather as soon as 2040, brought on by hotter planet.
Among the 50 biggest U.S. newspapers, less than half dedicated space on their homepages to the report. This happened despite 11 of those cities ranking in the top 25 that will be most affected by the effects of climate change, according to The Weather Channel’s Climate Disruption Index.
In a call for change, a coalition of news organizations have joined forces to challenge their peers to more urgently cover the ensuing climate crisis.
On Friday, Covering Climate Now, led by Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation to boost climate change coverage, announced its first group of participants. Outlets involved have committed to a week of climate-targeted coverage from Sept. 16-23, which is the week before the U.N. Climate Action Summit.
Newspapers and magazines, digital-only publications, radio and television from the U.S. and overseas have signed on. Institutions such as Boston University are participating along with independent journalists including Gandhi Peace Award winner Bill McKibben, TED Talks’ science curator David Biello and the U.K.’s Alex Thomson have also signed up, as well as meteorologists Dan Satterfield, Mike Nelson and Paul Gross.
- Pressure to produce ratings and revenue leads news organizations to follow senstational stories while giving short shrift to stories that highlight threats to society, CJR said in a statement announcing the initiative.
- CBS News was the only among three big network U.S. news broadcasters to sign on, with NBC and ABC are currently absent. Almost half of Americans still prefer watching news over reading or listening to it, according to Pew Research Center.
- Coverage of climate change topics on television dropped 45% between 2017 and 2018, according to Media Matters. Nearly one-third of all of 2018’s coverage resulted from a single episode of NBC’s Meet the Press.
- According to the U.N.’s report, global warming could result in economic damages totaling $54 trillion.
- Karma Take: The effort seeks to leverage news outlets’ and journalists’ unique position to spotlight the dangers of climate change and highlight opportunities to roll back threats.