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Climate journalism in a changing media ecosystem: assessing the production of climate change-related news around the world


Schäfer, Mike S; Painter, James (2021). Climate journalism in a changing media ecosystem: assessing the production of climate change-related news around the world. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 12(1):e675.

Abstract

Climate journalism gathers, evaluates, selects, and presents information about climate change, its characteristics, causes, and impacts, as well as ways to mitigate it, and distributes them via technical media to general and specialist audiences. It is an important source of information about climate change for many people. Currently, however, the media ecosystem surrounding climate journalism is changing, with economic conditions becoming more strenuous, more communicators joining the debate, and social media changing the affordances of communication. This advanced review synthesizes scholarship on the status quo and the changes taking place in climate journalism in the Global North and the Global South. While it demonstrates that the scholarship has distinct gaps and biases, it does distill several robust findings. First, it shows that the organizational embedding of climate journalism is changing, with specialist reporters becoming scarce and working under more strenuous conditions and with the emergence of online-born news media and niche sites specializing in climate journalism. It also suggests that few specialist climate journalists exist in the Global South. Second, it demonstrates that the range of roles available to climate journalists has diversified, with a shift from “gatekeeping” to “curating” roles. Third, it indicates that climate journalists’ relationships with their sources have changed. Elite sources have been, and still are, important, but their composition has shifted from scientists to a broader range of stakeholders. Correspondingly, there seems to be a strong and rising influence of stakeholder PR on climate journalism.

Abstract

Climate journalism gathers, evaluates, selects, and presents information about climate change, its characteristics, causes, and impacts, as well as ways to mitigate it, and distributes them via technical media to general and specialist audiences. It is an important source of information about climate change for many people. Currently, however, the media ecosystem surrounding climate journalism is changing, with economic conditions becoming more strenuous, more communicators joining the debate, and social media changing the affordances of communication. This advanced review synthesizes scholarship on the status quo and the changes taking place in climate journalism in the Global North and the Global South. While it demonstrates that the scholarship has distinct gaps and biases, it does distill several robust findings. First, it shows that the organizational embedding of climate journalism is changing, with specialist reporters becoming scarce and working under more strenuous conditions and with the emergence of online-born news media and niche sites specializing in climate journalism. It also suggests that few specialist climate journalists exist in the Global South. Second, it demonstrates that the range of roles available to climate journalists has diversified, with a shift from “gatekeeping” to “curating” roles. Third, it indicates that climate journalists’ relationships with their sources have changed. Elite sources have been, and still are, important, but their composition has shifted from scientists to a broader range of stakeholders. Correspondingly, there seems to be a strong and rising influence of stakeholder PR on climate journalism.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Global and Planetary Change
Social Sciences & Humanities > Geography, Planning and Development
Physical Sciences > Atmospheric Science
Language:English
Date:2021
Deposited On:29 Jan 2021 16:10
Last Modified:30 Jan 2021 21:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1757-7780
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.675

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Language: English
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only until 1 March 2022
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Embargo till: 2022-03-01