You will be dismayed to note that on May 6, 2019 the day the royal baby was born, the United Nations released a summary of a major new report warning that human destruction of the natural world, including through climate change, now threatens up to a million species with extinction. CBS was the only national broadcast network that ran a segment on the biodiversity report that night.
Many feel that mainstream media has not done enough to cover climate change and a recent paper from the Columbia Journalism Review addressed this issue brilliantly and in-depth. Subsequently they and The Nation, in partnership with The Guardian, created the Covering Climate Now project to encourage media to focus on climate change coverage between September 16-23, 2019. More on that here. In the meantime, one stunning non-profit, InsideClimate News, already partnered, in the spring of 2019, with fourteen newsrooms in nine midwestern states, publishing articles on three climate-related themes: agriculture, transportation and the electric grid. The results are fabulous.
Their’s is not the only collaboration. Climate Desk is another journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact — human, environmental, economic, political — of a changing climate. Their partners are The Atlantic, Atlas Obscura, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Citylab, Grist, The Guardian, High Country News, Huffington Post, Medium, Mother Jones, National Observer, Newsweek, Reveal, Slate, The Weather Channel, Undark, Wired, and Yale environment 360.
As national print media has evolved into digital, video, and audible delivery of news, some other remarkable results have emerged such as this multi-media series at The Washington Post, Gone in a Generation.
One of the newspapers on this list is The New York Times which published nearly 800 articles about climate change in 2018. There was, nonetheless, a climate protest in front of their building on June 22, 2019 calling attention to the lack of attention given to global warming by news media. 66 people were arrested. As 2019 came to an end, The Times made available a stunning compilation of their best climate change stories from that year.
And, then there is TIME, a magazine that selected Greta Thunberg as the 2019 Person of the Year and published a “double” issue titled 2050: How Earth Survived on September 23, 2019.
But, here we are in 2020 and Wired Magazine, in the midst of the Coronavirus madness, marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by devoting their entire April issue to climate change…as did National Geographic.
CNN marked it as well, broadcasting what Mark Hertsgaard called, one of the “very best pieces of climate journalism ever run by a mainstream US news organization”: The Road to Change: America’s Climate Crisis, with Bill Weir.