MAINSTREAM MEDIA OUTLETS

MAINSTREAM MEDIA OUTLETS

You might have been dismayed to note that on May 6, 2019, the day the royal baby was born in London, 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 felt that mainstream media had not done enough to cover climate change and a paper from the Columbia Journalism Review in 2019 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. By September 2020, CCN had 400 news outlets as partners with a combined audience approaching 2 billion people. One stunning non-profit, InsideClimate News, also partnered, in the spring of 2019, with fourteen newsrooms in nine mid-western states, publishing articles on three climate-related themes: agriculture, transportation and the electric grid. The results are fabulous.

Climate Desk is another multi-media journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are: The Atlantic, Atlas ObscuraBulletin of the Atomic ScientistsCityLab, GristThe Guardian,  High Country News, HuffPostMediumMother Jones, National Observer, Newsweek, RevealSlateThe Weather ChannelUndarkWired and Yale Envirnoment 360 .

TIME distinguished themselves in 2019 as well, selecting Greta Thunberg as the 2019 Person of the Year, and later published Bill McKibben in a “double” issue titled 2050: How Earth Survived on September 23, 2019.

One of the key newspapers on our list is The New York Times, which published nearly 800 articles about climate change in 2018. At the end of 2019, The Times made available a stunning compilation of their best climate change stories from that year.

As national print media 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 in 2019Gone in a Generation.

What about 2020? 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.

On July 9, 2020, Time ran another cover story exploring how the coronavirus pandemic would affect our ability to focus on climate change in Justin Worland’s stunning piece, One Last Chance, The Defining Year for the Planet.

The New Yorker chose October to publish The Fragile Earth edited by David Remmick, an anthology of their amazing reporting on climate change over the past three decades — from Bill McKibben, writing one year after James Hansen first warned a Senate committee about climate change in 1988, to Pulitizer Prize winners Elizabeth Kolbert, Kathryn Schulz, and essays by Jonathan Franzen, Ian Frazier, and more.

In late December, as 2020 came to a close, The New York Times posted this stunning interactive roundup from their climate desk.

What's new in 2021? Who can deny the power of Bill McKibben in The New Yorker on 1/22/2021 as he wrote “To Counter Climate Change, We Need to Stop Burning Things."

And, would you believe that in June, 2021, The Weather Channel had a new forecast: More viewers want climate change news! They even plan to “retool their morning program, ‘America’s Morning Headquarters’ so that its largest segment, between 7am and 10am eastern, offers ‘more storytelling, more video, more discussion about climate sustainability.” And, that’s not all. Media across the country covered the incredible heat oppressing the Pacific Northwest this June and July and Carbon Brief, one of our best sources of climate news, covered their coverage--simultaneously explaining the connection of climate change with this unprecedented heat.

What’s New in 2022?

  • In the Spring, Frontline launched on PBS an incredible 3-part series on the Power of Big Oil , discussing the industry which has long used its money to buy the appearance of grassroots public support for its policy preferences.
  • In September, after Fiona was more or less done, Hurricane Ian hit and coverage by corporate news was extensive and voluminous. Media Matters took a look in order to discover how much climate change was included in the 57 hours of coverage between September 24-28.  It was mentioned 46 times.   Seven of those mentions, appearing on Fox News, were in the context of climate denial.
  • In October Covering Climate announced the winners of their second annual journalism awards honoring journalists producing "the strongest coverage of the onrushing climate emergency." Justin Worland, senior correspondent for TIME, was named Climate Journalist of the Year. Award winners will be featured in a one-hour special hosted by Al Roker, co-host of NBC News’ TODAY and Savannah Sellers, host of NBC’s Stay Tuned and NBC News NOW anchor. It will air on October 25, 2022 on the WORLD Channel, which is broadcast by 191 public television stations nationwide.

CURRENT NEWS

MORE NEWS

Into the Red: How the Globe will cover climate change

By Steven Wilmsen   01/20/22  
his is how long we have ignored warnings of a coming crisis: It’s been more than half a century since a presidential panel under Lyndon Johnson found that fossil fuel emissions could be warming the…

Climate change news coverage reached all-time high, language to describe it shifting

By Kelsey Simpkins   12/21/21  
United States news coverage of climate change reached an all-time high in October and November, according to recent data from the Media and Climate Change Observatory (MeCCO), an international, multi-university collaboration based at the University…

National TV news keeps ignoring the human costs of extreme weather events

By Evlondo Cooper   10/07/21  
I’m writing this from New Orleans a little more than a month after Hurricane Ida devastated Southeast Louisiana—after most national TV crews have long since packed up and left. A blue tarp lies atop my…

Critics blast Facebook pledge to curb climate change misinformation

By David Knowles   09/22/21  
Facebook's latest pledge to curb climate change disinformation on its platform is getting a skeptical reception from activists and industry watchdogs.

Bill Gates Backs Climate News Outlet ‘Cipher’

By Michael d'Estries   09/22/21  
In his review of Bill Gates’ February 2021 book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” environmental activist Bill McKibben praised the billionaire and Microsoft co-founder for his “affection for his home planet,” but poor interpretation…

Late-Night Shows Are Teaming Up to Tackle Climate Change

By Dave Itzkoff   09/15/21  
Climate change may not be the easiest subject to laugh about, but a group of late-night hosts are teaming up in hopes of raising awareness about the issue and even finding some humor in it.

Why TV Is So Bad at Covering Climate Change

By Molly Taft   07/20/21  
On Saturday, Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, tweeted that she’d be appearing on CNN to talk to Fareed Zakaria about the record-breaking heat wave gripping the West. The next day, she announced her segment had…

Media reaction: Pacific north-west ‘heat dome’ and the role of climate change

By Ayesha Tandon and Giuliana Viglione   06/30/21  
Less than two weeks after record-breaking temperatures forced California into a state of emergency, a severe heatwave has swept over northwestern US and Canada, shattering records across the region...

Weather Channel’s New Forecast: More Viewers Want Climate Change News (EXCLUSIVE)

By Brian Steinberg   06/14/21  
Accelerating climate change and its far-flung effects have  fast become the most important story in the news cycle. But that isn’t always the stuff that gets talked about or tweeted — or the biggest ratings.

How broadcast TV networks covered climate change in 2020

By Allison fisher and evlondo cooper   03/10/21  
As the coronavirus pandemic raged across the U.S. and took up much of the airwaves last year, every nightly news and Sunday morning political program on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as the Sunday…

How broadcast TV networks covered climate change in 2019

By Ted Macdonald   02/27/20  
The volume of climate change coverage on the corporate broadcast nightly and Sunday morning news shows increased 68% from 2018 to 2019. Despite this increase, climate coverage as a whole still made up only 0.7%…

PBS NewsHour significantly outperforms corporate broadcast nightly news shows in covering climate change

By Allison fisher   02/27/20  
In 2019, PBS ran more segments on the climate crisis than ABC, CBS, and NBC combined. PBS NewsHour has traditionally outperformed its broadcast counterparts in both the scope and depth of its climate coverage.

Doom and Gloom: The Role of the Media in Public Disengagement on Climate Change

05/29/18  
In July of 2008, as a national broadcast correspondent, I reported on environmental conditions in Newtok, a remote community of roughly 400 Yup’ik people in Northwest Alaska. Newtok was losing forty to a hundred feet…

The Year In Climate

By Claire O’Neill and Nadja Popovich   12/17/20  
2020 was a crisis year: a pandemic, economic turmoil, social upheaval. And running through it all, climate change. Here’s some of the best reporting from The Times’s Climate Desk.

How to Save a Planet

By How to Save a Planet   08/20/20  
Does climate change freak you out? Want to know what we, collectively, can do about it? Us too. How to Save a Planet is a podcast that asks the big questions: what do we need…