The news media is society’s alarm clock – it needs to wake us up
This past Saturday, I was among hundreds of activists with the group Extinction Rebellion NYC who protested outside the New York Times headquarters in midtown Manhattan to demand better coverage of the climate crisis. Protesters lay down on Eighth Avenue, staging a “die-in” to block traffic. We draped a banner the length of the Times building that declared, “Climate Emergency = Mass Murder”. Sixty-seven of us got arrested.
Somewhat to our surprise, our protest received a good deal of news coverage. CBS, CNN, the Guardian, and the Associated Press ran stories. The Times even published one, a Reuters dispatch that quoted a Times spokesperson defending the newspaper’s coverage. “There is no national news organization that devotes more time, staff or resources to producing deeply reported coverage to help readers understand climate change than the New York Times,” the spokesperson said.
The media as a whole lets us down every day by treating the climate crisis as a non-story
We will never get the action we need to save our planet when most people still don’t know there is a crisis to begin with
Alexandria Villaseñor is the 14-year-old founder of Earth Uprising International and lives in New York City, where she strikes every Friday in front of the United Nations headquarters, demanding world leaders take action on the climate crisis.
This article is being co-published by the Nation, the Columbia Journalism Review and the Guardian as part of Covering Climate Now, a project to catalyze improved media coverage of the climate crisis.