MAG Multimedia Academic Global

Reporting Climate Change

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PART II - Reporting climate change


Prof. Kevin Burden
(Journalism trainer and consultant working with media organisations worldwide. )
Language English
Goals

This module is delivered across five video lessons. The first looks at how climate change pervades all aspects of the news. The second explores the challenges of reporting and proposes some tactics to overcome them. The third lesson explores the opportunities for journalists choosing to focus on reporting climate change. Lesson four seeks to explain the differences between news and science and aims to help journalists communicate more effectively with scientists. The fifth and final lesson leaves journalists with some concrete tips to help them report more effectively on climate change.

Videos are available in english, arabic and french: to switch the language you can click on the headphone in each videolessons.

Contents

As the previous module has shown, it is important for those reporting on climate change to have a solid understanding of climate change impacts, policies and actions. However, it is not in itself sufficient. Those journalists who wish to report on global climate change face many barriers, not least the restistance of their own editors and managers. Often humanities graduates, they may lack the skills to interpret scientific data and engage constructively with scientists. This may lead to climate change being reported in party-political terms, or even as a matter of faith: do you believe in climate change or not?

This module therefore sets out the opportunities for climate change journalism; seeks to identify many of the obstacles, and to provide journalists with ways to overcome them so that they may report more effectively on the most critical global issue of our time.

Program

Video lesson 1 – Climate change in the news

Many journalists still feel that climate change is a remote and academic issue that ill fits in everyday news coverage. That is, of course, changing, so this first lesson explores how climate change is making its way into every corner of news reporting – because it has an impact in all parts of life.

Key contents:

  • The physical environment
  • Business and industry
  • Politics, people and protest

Video lesson 2 – Why aren’t you reporting on climate change?

Asked why they do not report more on climate change, reporters will often give familiar answers: It is unfamiliar. It is complicated. It is difficult to explain. The scientists disagree. My editor thinks our readers are not interested. Some of these are true, and some are myths. In this lesson, we look at each of the most common obstacles and try to address each of them in turn, proposing some tactics to overcome them.

Key contents

  • What’s stopping you reporting on climate change?
  • Reasons that you should report on climate change

Video lesson 3 – Choosing to report on climate change

All reporters are, to some extent, generalists: they must be prepared to turn their hand to any story. But many find there is reward in specialising in a subject area, whether it is crime, politics, health – or the environment. In this lesson we explore the opportunities and benefits for journalists choosing to focus on reporting climate change.

Key contents:

  • Commodification vs. specialisation
  • Why specialise – and why not
  • What skills does a climate change reporter need?
  • How to acquire those skills
  • Getting started

Video lesson 4 – How to understand science and scientists

Scientists and journalists typically come through different education routes and see the world in different ways. It can be hard for them to understand each other, let alone find a meaningful way to communicate. This harms coverage of climate change as it does other areas of science. Therefore this lesson seeks to explore the differences between news and science and aims to help journalists and scientists communicate more effectively.

Key contents:

  • Why scientists and journalists have difficulties communicating with each other
  • What is science?
  • How science works
  • Communicating risk

Video lesson 5 – Reporting better on climate change?

Despite the difficulties, many journalists are reporting well on climate change. In this module we look at what they are doing, and seek to draw out some broader lessons for all those who wish to report more effectively on climate change.

Key contents

  • Explaining
  • Illustrating
  • Contextualising
  • Creating
Appointed teaching professor
Sabahudin Hadzialic
Video Professor
Prof. Kevin Burden - Journalism trainer and consultant working with media organisations worldwide.
List of video lessons
Lesson n. 1: Climate change in the news 
Display lessons issues
Kevin Burden
Kevin Burden
Kevin Burden
Kevin Burden
Kevin Burden